We, as parents, know that our children are the most important things in the world to us. It takes great courage and for most working mothers heart wrenching effort to put your precious child in a day care for strangers to take care of them. However, in today’s economy it’s become an unfortunate necessity. This article is about “A”, my two year old son and his experiences at Childtime Learning Center (CTLC), Bakersfield location. I will include no accusations, only facts and questions of his experience at this center. My son was enrolled at Childtime Learning Center from mid March 2008 to August 18th 2008
“A” is a biracial (half black half white) boy with a slight speech delay. His vocabulary is growing everyday. He can count up to 13, recognizes more than half of the alphabet, has more than a few sentences in his vocabulary, loves giving kisses and hugs and has an infectious smile. He’s generally a happy, loving and well behaved child. Going to daycare after being in the care of his retired teacher grandmother was an adjustment, but eventually he got used to it and seemed to enjoy his time there but is always more than ready to go home when mommy or daddy picks him up.
This day care requires weekly payment for services. However, I, a black woman, observed CTLC staff telling a white female that it would be fine for her to pay monthly. My husband had repeatedly stated it would be more convenient for us to pay the $680 fee monthly. We were given no other option other than to write a check each week and if we missed two days we were charged a late fee.
Soon after my son was enrolled there, my husband spoke to the director of the Bakersfield branch of CTLC Miss “G”. He expressed some concern over our sons speech delay but hoped exposure to other children would help quicken the learning process. Miss “G” herself suggested a program through the Kern Early Start Program in which our son could receive services to further his development. We thought this was a good idea and immediately got on the ball with the Kern Early Start program. The unfortunate thing was this program was very busy and could not initiate services with my son till mid June.
We finally obtained services at Kern Early Start. The assigned teacher explained that it is preferred a child received services in their natural environment and suggested weekly visits to daycare, with another option of a Monday-Thursday 830-1130 program at the Richardson Center were he would be picked up from CTLC and dropped back off. We opted for the day care visits since the teacher thought it would be more beneficial to our son. Out of courtesy, I inform Miss “G” of the impending visit from the Kern Early Start program teacher. She promptly states that this teacher would not be able to go into the classroom without TB tests and fingerprints. This teacher works for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and must have those clearances to work. All teachers who work for a non private sector school are required to have such screenings prior to being hired to work. The Kern Early Start teacher reports she has never had this sort of request from any of the daycare’s she has worked with before. Miss “G” makes no attempt to remedy the problem whatsoever. My husband reminds her she was the one who suggested the Kern Early Start program. She stated that she was suggesting the pull out program where my son would be removed from the classroom for four days out of the week for half of a day; however, CTLC would continue to be paid the full $680 for half of the work. Now why would you figure she would suggest that so enthusiastically?
Upon contact with the corporate supervisor my husband explained that all we want is help for our child to grow and learn in a safe and supportive environment. The Supervisor, to her credit, said she would work to resolve the issue.
In the meantime; we get several “incident reports” indicating my son is having behavioral problems. We are told that our son has no consequences for his these behaviors. I would imagine that at a “learning center” tools would be utilized to help a child learn that problem behavior is unacceptable. However, this did not happen.
So last week, we receive a report that our son is having more behavior problems receive a call to pick him up. I happen to be off that day and pick him up, promptly. Two days later, I receive a phone call from the Kern Early Start teacher, who states that she is having more problems with CTLC in getting help for “A. She reports that she was working with the corporate supervisor, had obtained the proper forms through CLTC website and was fingerprinted again. These forms where submitted and on file with the appropriate desired agency, consistent with CLTC policy. However Miss “G” still told her that she will not be allowed to work with our son in the classroom. I wonder why Miss “G” is so resistant to having a highly skilled qualified Kern County Superintendent of School’s teacher in her daycare class room?
So the following Monday, we speak with the Kern Early Start teacher and tell her we are sorry for the resistance and difficulties she is experiencing with CTLC and state we will talk with Miss “G’s” supervisor to help expedite this service for our son. I receive a phone call at work about our son’s alleged behavioral problems and am informed they requested my husband to pick him up. I’m informed CTLC has not heard from my husband. I let them know that I cannot leave immediately at this time due to working in an emergency room, but will make sure my husband is aware of this and gets there promptly. So I call my husband and he leaves to pick up our son. This is about 5 hours after they initially called him. When he arrives, he is scolded like a child by Miss “G” by not getting there sooner or responding to her call. My husband explains that he had work related obligations that were unavoidable, but he was still there earlier than normal to pick up our son. She then proceeds to inform him that if our son continues to misbehave he will be disenrolled. Could this be because she is angry at us for requesting in-daycare help for our son and going above her head to get this accomplished? Or could her general treatment of us be for multiple reasons? I venture to guess, but cannot state it at this time as this is an article of facts, a few questions, but not assumptions.
My husband decides that we at this time we need to disenroll in the best interest of our son. We quickly put together a temporary plan “B” until we find another day care.
Now here are the questions. Why were road blocks put up before us? Why we feel like we were being treated different from their normal clientele? Why was customer service not a priority? I won’t answer that question here, but I suspect I know the answer.