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Parents Not Paying Their Children's Fees


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With Christmas and the credit crunch appreciate that a lot of parents must be finding it difficult to pay for their children's childcare sessions. I know there have been discussions on this before but would like your opinions and advice on what to do. We have several parents who despite having 3 reminder letters about money they owe us, still haven't paid hardly anything of their debts. Next term the children will be funded so the parents wll only have to pay top-up fees.. So the dilemma is what do we do? Do we tell them their child cannot come back to Pre-School after Christmas or do we let them stay and hope they can pay off their debt once the child is funded? It's a catch 22 situation. Would like to hear how other groups get parents to pay up and what you would do. Thanks for any help and advice.

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This is the side of childcare I really hate.


I think you really need to have some discussions with these parents before next term. I would write to them saying that you need to come to some agreement with them or their child will not be guaranteed a place next term.


If they come along and ask for a payment plan which allows them to pay it off once their child is funded then I would agree dates and amounts in writing.


I know it's really hard but you are not doing them any favours by letting their debts mount up.


Good luck

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I agree with Upsy Daisy you need to discuss it with parents before christmas, I have been a manager of a daycare setting with this very problem. Unfortunatly it got to the stage where I had to send letters out saying that we would be passing details on to our solicitor for most parents that was enough to get them to agree to a payment plan but I have had to stop one family from attending due to their debt, I later found out they moved on to another setting and did the same again. serial debtors are apparently quite common and there is nothing that can be done about it. It was the part of the job that I hated but was told by my area manager "you wouldn't go to a supermarket and say you will pay later and expect to walk out with your shopping"

good luck with sorting it out




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I run my own small nursery, I allowed parents to continue to catch up after their child was funded, just kept on giving them fee letters until there was a zero balance!

Whoops that got sent before I was ready.


I have been very lucky over the years not to pick up bad debts. I talk to parents and offer all kinds of ways to pay in the first place. They all pay in advance. One family did struggle after they became a single parent family. However, we talked over the options and the debt was eventually paid the term her last child left pre-school. Each term I would give her the fees for that term plus the outstanding amount brought forward, she would pay a bit of the lump sum and once each child progressed onto the funding the debt really began to reduce.


However, if I had a number of families in this situation I would struggle and I would have to do what i could to recover the debt or reduce the likelihood of more debt. It is extremely sad to consider turning away a child, but for the good of all at your nursery it must be done. If you feel you have exhausted every avenue then you must protect the business.


I can't account for why parents feel they can access our service and not pay for it - perhaps it's because it's for children and they feel we would not be hard nosed business people - they don't understand that they could bring down the whole nursery if there was a few bad debts. It may be because we are unable to charge enough - some may feel that because it's only a few pounds per morning that we can't possibly miss a few pounds here and there. Maybe they think we charge too much and that we are making huge profits and can take the odd beating!! Maybe some treat all their creditors the same way and only pay when they are being pressed for the money, I should think on the list - a nursery's fees are one of the lowest

Edited by Panders
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After running a nursery for a number of years and being a soft touch on many occasions, my advise would be to tell them they cannot return until they have paid their debts and if they are not paid by end of January, unfortunately you will have to take legal action through the small claims court which will result in a CCJ and a attachment of earnings made against them.


Alternatively, tell them that their children can attend for the free funded hours, but that until payment is received they will not be able to attend the additional hours. And then either off them a payment plan or give them a pay up by date.


In my experience (and I have had a few), the likelihood of them catching up and paying you is pretty low. You, probably like me, feel that you will be loosing children, therefore loosing money. In reality you are paying for staff, resources etc., for those parents out of your own pocket. You can bet they are finding money for other things.


I will be interested to see how you get on.

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