It's not as common for a family child care provider to want to do the same.
Are there any rules you must follow if you want to terminate your contract with a parent?
Yes, you can't illegally discriminate and you can't violate your own contract.
You cannot terminate because of the parent or child's race, sex, religion, ethnic background, national origin or disability. Some states also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or other classes.
You must also follow any limitations your contract puts on you to end it with a parent. If your contract requires you to give the parent a two week notice, you should follow your own rules.
I recommend that providers do not put any such limitations on your ability to end the contract. Use this language instead, "Provider may terminate at will."
Some providers put reasons in their contract under which the provider can terminate it. This is a bad idea. Let's say your contract says you can terminate it if the parent threatens you, or doesn't pay you on time, etc. The problem with listing reasons is that you can never think of everything ahead of time.
And, there are situations where you will want to end your contract immediately:
* The parent is violent or threatens you
* The parent owes you money and is not cooperating with you
* The parent is bad mouthing you to the other parents in your program
In a recent discussion at daycare.com, a provider was asking for advice about how to handle her situation. She is caring for a child with a mild case of autism. The parents have bounced a check, aren't communicative, and the husband has lost his job and now is at home.
The provider would like to replace this family in the fall because she will have two new babies starting then and she is concerned that the child with autism will not behave well in this new environment.
What can she do?
If we don't consider the child's autism, the provider can do whatever she wants (as long as she follows what her contract says). She can terminate the family for any reason (bouncing a check or uncommunicative). Or, she can terminate for no reason.
Other than the issue of illegal discrimination and your own contract, you can pick a family's name out of a hat to decide whom to terminate. I'm not suggesting you do this! I'm pointing out that it's your business. This means you can end your contract just because of a feeling you have that you don't want a family anymore in your program. You don't need to have a rational explanation for your decision.
However, what about the autism?
In this situation, the provider can't terminate this family simply because she doesn't feel that the child with autism wouldn't fit in well with her new babies. It's illegal to discriminate against this child. But, the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't mean she has to care for all children with disabilities.
This provider needs to find out what it would take for her to accommodate this child in the new makeup of her program in the fall. She should talk to the parents and ask for help from the school district (if the child is in school) or the child's doctor. If, after listening to their advice she believes that providing appropriate care for this child and the other children in her program would create a "significant difficulty" or "significant expense" she can terminate the family.
However, if the provider can get some additional training, or a volunteer can help out occasionally, or the professionals tell her how she can provide appropriate care without a significant difficulty or expense, she can't terminate the family because of the child's autism. If the only way to provide appropriate care is to hire someone that would cost hundreds of dollars per week, the provider can terminate care.
What if the provider wants to terminate the family because of the autism and because the parents are not communicative? There is no easy answer. Providers can terminate families whose children have disabilities for reasons that are not related to the disability. In other words, a provider can terminate a family who is not paying on time (even though the child has a disability) as long as she is also terminating other families who aren't paying on time.
See also my article, "How to End a Parent Contract" and "The Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Child Care."
Tom Copeland - www.tomcopelandblog.com
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/maxkaiser/
For more information about contracts, see my book Family Child Care Contracts & Policies.