Friday, August 27, 2010

Choice for Childcare?

I've run into yet another issue at my workplace that involves a parent's choice for childcare being taken away. We have one child who has speech therapy at our center. A therapist comes to our center to work with him twice a week. These therapists are now hired through the school board. But today, the mother phoned us in a panic. She had a phone call from the school board saying her son was enrolled in a preschool development program at a local elementary school. She did not enroll him there and was very confused. She was told he had to go there to continue his therapy program. She called us to ask if we had enrolled him, which we did not and had no idea what she was talking about because we were not informed either.

We talked with her about her wishes and she wants to keep him at our center because we are also a daycare and are open from 730am to 6pm. The child is usually with us from before 8am til 4pm or later depending on his parents' work shifts. The PDP program is only half a day. Or even if he ends up qualifying for full day (which she has not been told about, and he is supposed to start on Monday), it would only be from 9am to 3pm and PDP kids are not included in the Out Of School Care program. So what is she supposed to do the rest of the time? What is she supposed to do on days the school is closed? She was not impressed and neither were we. There is also the issue that she signed a contract with us where she is supposed to give 30 days notice for leaving the center, so we can fill the spot with someone else. But this is 'no notice' because she was told he starts on Monday. She was totally confused and so were we.

She is going to phone the school board and tell them NO. That her son has been with us for 3.5 years, her older children were with us as well, and she wants things to continue as they did before... with a therapist coming to our center. That's how things have been done for as long as I can remember. But I don't know how successful she will be. It could come down to choosing between taking her son out of therapy (which he still needs) and leaving our center, or putting him in the new place and racing around every day trying to take him to a babysitter and arranging stuff every time the school is closed. She does not want the second option.

So what's up with that?? It seems to me that the more control a certain group is given, the more control they will apply. There aren't really any options around here for private therapy, so you are at the mercy of the system if your child happens to need a little help. They recieve funding based on how many children are in their program. It is promoted that is saves money to have the child in a therapy group, with easier access for the therapists (read: they don't have to be paid mileage/gas/travel expenses) but it really seems to be more about control. If you put your child in this program, then you better damn well abide by our rules so 3 years down the road we might change things suddenly and it's too bad if it doesnt work around the child or the parent. You just have to DO IT, or else.

What sense does this make? I thought we were supposed to be supporting families and helping the children? Someone somewhere decided that my coworkers and I are not capable of helping this child even though we've been perfectly capable of helping others in the past 25 years.

Give them an inch, and they will take a mile. This warning can be applied to almost every area that governments are dipping their talons into. So take heed.

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