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child care billing

How to Handle Drop-In Care with ProCare

A reader recently asked if ProCare Child Care Management Software would work for a drop-in center. An excellent question, indeed. The short answer is “yes”, but giving you the best advice means asking a few more questions, since drop-in care can operate in a number of different ways. Whether families return and how you handle drop-in billing are two important considerations.   Continue reading

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How to Keep Track of CACFP Forms at Your Child Care Center

When your child care center participates in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) there certainly are benefits. For children, of course, it’s a great way to help ensure they receive regular, nutritious meals that meet specific guidelines. That is a wonderful thing! For center owners and directors, the other nice part is being reimbursed for each meal served. But there is one drawback. There tend to be a lot of CACFP forms to fill out each month. Ah, paperwork and record keeping. Just what you needed, right? Say no more. Procare Software can help.

child care meal tracking

How to Keep Track of CACFP Forms

Procare makes it easy for providers to manage all of their child care forms in one place, including those required for CACFP participation.

Child Meal Counts

One of the most intensive paper trails involves keeping track of what children were served which meals on each day. Luckily, this is an area in which Procare Meal Tracker Software excels. With the Batch Count Meals feature, meals can be counted in a few clicks of the mouse based on each child’s schedule, or on their actual clock in and out times (with Attendance Tracker). It’s important to remember that automated meal counts are intended to be used as a quick starting point. Manual adjustments can easily be made to count only the children who were actually served.

Free Meal Roll Call Sheets

There’s even a handy Meal Roll Call Sheet to record meals as they are served. With Procare, the name and classroom information are filled in automatically, but as a courtesy, we’re making blank forms available to any center that tracks meals served.

Download Free Meal Roll Call Sheets (.pdf format):

CACFP Forms

Since the Food Program is administered on a state-by-state basis, the forms that are required tend to vary. One state may require form XYZ, while another requires form 123. That’s why Procare reports are generic, giving you the information you need to fill in the forms required by your state. Some states allow alternate forms to be used instead of filling out their standard report. You’ll want to check with your local Food Program representative to be sure what they will accept.

Procare also includes an alternate form specifically for Texas, alternate 1535.

Eligibility Status

Having software to track who was served what and when is a real lifesaver, but you’ll also need information on the eligibility status of each family. Typically the status levels include Free, Reduced, and Paid (sometimes called Above Scale).  With Procare, you can print reports showing the number of meals served at each level and keep track of how many families fall into each eligibility category.

Reimbursement Rates

It’s also useful to get an idea of the amount you can expect to be reimbursed. After rates for each eligibility level are entered into Procare, a report can be run to show reimbursement amounts. What could be easier?

Print Menus & Production Records

Oh yes, and I almost forgot about menus. You’ll want to print menu forms to post on your bulletin board or hand out to parents. Perhaps you’ll even want to include menus in your weekly or monthly newsletter. No problem. We’ve got you covered there as well.

Final Thoughts

Keeping track of child care forms, especially those required by government organizations, is a big responsibility that can also consume much of a child care provider’s time. Procare simplifies this task, ensuring your center is always in compliance with state requirements and that your center runs efficiently.

If there’s anything else we can do to help make it easier to handle your CACFP forms and paperwork, just let us know.

Learn how Procare streamlines the process of tracking CACFP forms and other child care forms.

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Tracking Who Hasn’t Turned in Their Form

One thing is true about programs for children. There certainly is a lot of paperwork to keep track of – registration forms, physician reports, agency approvals, field trip permission slips – you name it. How do you keep track of who still needs to turn in which forms? Although you can sift through the pile of papers on your desk to see who did turn in their forms, it’s the opposite thing you really need to know – who did not. How can you easily generate a follow up list to see which families need a reminder?   Continue reading

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Child Care Registration Fees

A hot topic leading up to the start of the school year is how to handle registration, payments and enrollment fees for your child care, daycare, preschool or similar place of early childhood learning.

Luckily, Procare makes it easy to create and circulate custom registration forms, and collect and record registration fees in a variety of ways depending on how registration works at your child care business.  

Child care costs

Getting Started

Before addressing how to structure registration fees, your child care center should have a simplified process that allows parents to register their children for your program. Given how ubiquitous computers and mobile devices are, the most convenient way to do this is online. The MyProcare Parent Portal, powered by the Procare Cloud, offers simplified student registration. A custom form linked to your website allows parents to easily submit registration forms, and daycare providers to enroll children or put them on the waitlist. From there, you must determine the best payment structure for your program.

Types of Child Care Registration Fees

There are several common ways in which child care registration fees are structured. You’ll notice I tend to use the term “enrollment” to mean something that happens once, while “registration” is more apt to be a recurring event, but some centers may consider them to be more or less the same thing.

One-Time Enrollment Fee

A one-time enrollment fee may be incurred when a family first signs up their child. As long as the child remains enrolled there are no additional fees of this type, although siblings who enroll later may be charged a separate fee.

Annual Registration Fees

There are also several flavors of recurring annual registration fees where a family is charged a re-enrollment fee once each year. In some cases, the fee applies to all families at the same time, for example, an annual fee might be charged every year on September 1st. In other cases, the fee applies based on the month of enrollment. If a child enrolled in say, March, then each year in March their annual registration fee would come due. For families with additional children, a single fee might cover the whole family (a family plan, or family rate) or each child may have a distinct enrollment month with a separate fee.

 Prorated Registration

This is appropriate for children who enroll mid-way through a month or year. In this case you may want to charge a reduced registration fee, in other words to “prorate it” for the period the child will be enrolled. If your fee were $75 and the child enrolled one-third of the way through your year you might prorate it to 67% of the original rate or $50.

Recording Registration Fees

Visit Procare Support to get details on how to charge registration fees of varying rates to one family, or a group of families, in the Family Accounting module. You can also learn how to charge an annual registration fee based upon the month in which student originally enrolled.

Collecting Registration Payments

Procare also makes it easy to collect payment of fees for registration, tuition or any child care related charges with the Tuition Express payment processing service. Payments can be automatically deducted from parent checking or savings accounts or charged to a credit card.

Final Thoughts

It’s especially important to have an organized and consistent process for collecting student enrollment / registration fees, to ensure consistent cash flow. Regardless of which registration fee method you use, there are a lot of details to keep track of, including:

  • When each family is to be charged based upon when they enrolled
  • How many children are enrolled
  • How much they are charged if they are getting a prorated rate
  • if they are paying the fee in monthly installments or all at once

Keeping track of all of this information is only the first step, you then have to implement it in your billing process. Using a child care billing software allows you to track and automatically charge registration fees at the proper rate and time, ensuring accuracy and consistency.

This consistency will not only increase operations efficiency at your child care center, but will be appreciated by parents as they plan their child care budget.  

Interested in learning more about automating you child care billing process? Learn how Procare can help.

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