Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Squeaky Wheel

From: Average Working Mom
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012
To: Day Care Administrator
Subject: Re: RE: Wait List Check-in for My Daughters

Dear Day Care Administrator,
Thank you for speaking with my husband last week regarding my daughters’ position on the wait list for your day care centre. 
Needless to say, we were quite disappointed and frustrated with the situation.  I certainly don’t envy your responsibility in managing the day care places and wait list.  It must also be highly frustrating for you to deal with the multitude of families searching for quality care when the spots are so limited.
I understand that due to capacity limitations, there is no chance that there will be a spot for my oldest daughter.   My husband explained that even children currently enrolled in the day care in the Preschool program are being turned away from the School Age program. 
Based on your conversation with my husband, it seemed as though there might be a limited possibility of spots becoming available for my middle and youngest daughter in the Preschool programs.   This is a little reassuring, but still leaves us in limbo.  If spots for one or both of them become available, we will then be in a difficult position of finding, justifying and combining some sort of before- and after-school care for our oldest and/or all-day care for one child, with child care at the day care centre for another.
I was also quite upset at our apparent miscommunication about the requested start date for our children.  Knowing how difficult it is to secure a day care spot, I certainly never intended to reduce our chances even further by requesting the same start date for all three children.  I realise that the likelihood of this occurring is very, very low.  I believe I had asked to move our requested start date to any time after June 2012, and that your system selected September 2012 as this is when the greatest changeover in day care places occurs.  However, in the past, I have been offered spots for my children up to a month or two before my requested start date, and I presumed that this flexibility was built into the system.  I also mistakenly presumed that the start date could vary between children.
My frustration also stems from the fact that our oldest and middle daughter were in the day care centre in the past.  Because we couldn’t justify the financial cost of keeping two children in day care while I was at home on an unpaid maternity leave, we sacrificed our spots.  But not before putting their names back on the wait list.  That was in the summer of 2009.   My children have been on the wait list for almost 3 years.
I’m sure that the recent gentrification of our neighbourhood, and the increasing number of babies and young families has impacted the demand for spots at the day care centre.  And I imagine that the upcoming changeover to All-Day Kindergarten at this school is having an effect on the management of day care spots.  I have no idea how the wait list is managed, and I can only imagine the complexity of figuring out wait list priority versus requested start dates.   It seems like a nightmare.  Or, a game of chance.
Perhaps this is part of my frustration.  I believe it would be helpful for parents if the day care centre could issue some sort of policy and procedure on how the wait list system works.  It might make me feel less like I was playing a game, and more like I was part of a process.  Is this something that your institution has considered?
I hope that I haven’t come across as overly negative, and I certainly don’t intend to be attacking you or the management of your day care program in any personal way.  But as you can imagine, and probably encounter on a daily basis, finding quality child care and dealing with the waiting game of day care program wait lists, is incredibly exasperating.   If there is any way that I can work to help change the system, by sharing my concerns with other administrators, participating in strategic planning, or contributing to letter writing campaigns, for example, please let me know.  I would appreciate the opportunity to take this cause to a higher level and strive to improve the system for all families.
Thank you for your help.
Kind regards,
Average Working Mom

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