Day Care Owners Have Issues Collecting Money with Social Services Machine

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

STAUNTON -- Several day care owners in the Valley say the state isn't doing enough to help them pay the bills. The issue is a social services machine used to check children in and out of day care. Day care owners say it's difficult to use and inefficient.

Pamela Houck, a day care owner, said the state's social service program owes her thousands of dollars because of that machine.

“The frustration is that we're not getting our money on time so we can operate,” said Houck.

Houck and other owners said some parents don't use the machine to check their children in and out of day care.

Frank Smith is the assistant director of Creative Wonders Learning in Stuarts Draft and he said that means day cares owners don't get paid.

“I basically have to police them every day. I'm there early in the morning until late afternoon making sure they're swiping their cards the way they're supposed to be. Sometimes they'll get a denial on their receipt and they won't even pay attention to it.”

Senator Emmett Hanger said the machine hold parents accountable.

“It's something that's additional, but it's also, I believe, good accountability. If we need to tweak it a little bit if there's a widespread problem, then we'll try to address that,” said Senator Hanger.

Houck said some parents forget and don't use a swipe card to check in. She calls day care a service to the public and said both parents and owners need more training.

“It's who we are. They tell us to just kick the families out that aren't swiping the card, well, that's just not an option. There has to be accountability, but I shouldn't have to be the police,” said Houck.

Several other day care centers have had the same issue Houck wants to see resolved.

“Children are our future. We need to take care of the centers that are here in the Valley.”

Day care owners must submit handwritten files on each case if parents miss a swipe. Houck said her efforts to turn in those files have also been rejected.

Senator Hanger said changes to the program could come if more day care owners have the same problem.

Concerned day care owners have been in touch with delegates Steve Landes and Dickie Bell.

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