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Frequently Asked Questions

iCare License

Can I change from monthly to yearly or yearly to monthly subscription?

Yes, you may do so anytime starting from the next subscription period.

Is there a fee for changing my subscription?

No.

Can I cancel my subscription at any time?

Yes, you can cancel at any time effective from the next subscription period.

Can I change my subscribed capacity at any time?

Yes.

When children leave or graduate and are deactivated, are they counted towards my subscribed capacity?

No, the subscribed capacity is based on the count of only the active children.

Account Setup and Data Entry

How do I set up iCare for our center or school?

The iCare setup is very simple, which can be completed in a few minutes. If you are a center then most importantly you have to add your rooms and programs that control your capacities, legislated ratios, scheduling and rate chart. For enrichment classes based programs and afterschool care you can skip the rooms setup.

What is a regular, operational site?

An operational site is where children are enrolled as opposed to a corporate site where children can’t be enrolled.

What is a corporate site?

The corporate site is for administrators and staff only; no children can be enrolled in it. Staff enrolled in the corporate site can see children and data of all operational sites; whereas, staff and administrators of operational sites can only see children and data of their site.

What are the admin and center email IDs for?

The admin email ID is used for email exchange with the iCare Support Team for any type of help. The center email ID is used for all email exchanges with the parents and staff.

What does the flag ‘Open for Weekends’ do?

If you are not open on weekends then turning this flag off will remove Saturdays and Sundays from the scheduling calendars.

What are rooms?

Age-based rooms are used for creating groups and managing child-teacher ratios in centers and preschools. For example, Infants, Toddler 1, Pre-K 1, KG, and Grade 2.

What are programs and classes?

A Program or class has a preset schedule and bill. When you enroll children in it, they inherit that schedule and bill. However, you can customize a child’s schedule and bill by editing it. Example of programs/classes are: Toddler 2-Day AM, Preschool FT, Infant 5-Day, Chess TTh, and Intermediate Music.

How can I load my family data into iCare?

There are 4 options:
  • From iCare send an email invite to parents to self-register.
  • Copy and paste your data into the available Excel template and import the data.
  • Add ‘Self-Registration’ button on your website for the parents. (The code for the self-registration button is given in iCare.)
  • Manually type the data in.

What is registration?

Registration in iCare means entering of family data and managing the active or inactive status of children.

What is enrollment?

Enrollment in iCare means putting children and staff in programs/classes.

How can I accept electronic funds – credit cards and ACH?

Upon your iCare sign-up, you will be contacted by the iCare payment gateway, TSYS, to establish a new merchant account for you. Normally, within 2 days you will get your approval and TSYS will contact you to run a test transaction.

How is the recurring billing automated?

Children’s bills are set in the Billing Grid, where they are inserted automatically when children are enrolled in programs/classes. Bills can also be inserted directly in the Billing Grid if a child has a custom bill. All bills have a Start Date, End Date and the Next Billing Date. Bills are posted automatically when the Next Billing Date is reached and if that is less than the End Date.

What is iCare Lobby and how do I set it up?

The iCare Lobby is the check-in solution that works as follows:
  • It works on any device – desktop, tablet or phone.
  • You can run it on any number of devices at the same time; for example, you can run it on a tablet in each room.
  • If you run buses, then it lets drivers check in and out children right on the bus.
  • It is supplemented with the Attendance Grid in iCare where you can make corrections and batch edits.
  It has the following features:
  • Deliver messages.
  • Get answers for Lobby Questions; such as, what lunch option would your child like today, or would you like to send your child to the Children’s Museum field trip next Friday.
  • Send signal to unlock the entrance door.
  • Capture signatures at the time of check-in.
  • Check account balance.

Rooms

My rooms are not age-based, can I still use the rooms in iCare?

Yes, age range is not a requirement for the rooms. Rooms need to be age-based only for centers where age-based teacher-child ratios have to be maintained.

Can I have multiple rooms in one age group; for example, Toddler 1 and Toddler 2?

Yes, you can set up multiple rooms with the same age range and teacher-child ratio.

Can I get attendance and scheduling reports by the rooms?

Yes, room name is a column in these reports. So, you can sort, filter and group these reports by rooms.

Can I know how much we made (revenue) in each room?

Yes, through the income report.

We don’t use individual rooms in our program; can we still use iCare?

Yes, you can leave the room as not-specified in the setup for your programs/classes.

Can we have a different set of rooms at each site?

Yes, you can use the same or different names for the rooms at the various sites.

Can I set room capacities?

Yes. The room capacity is then used in management of enrollment in programs.

If a room is full can children be put in a waiting list?

Yes. (An extensive implementation of the waiting list will be added soon.)

Programs / Classes

What are programs/classes used for?

Amongst other factors, a program/class most importantly has a schedule and bill. When children are enrolled in a program/class they inherit that schedule and bill. If a child has a custom schedule or bill, simply edit the inherited schedule and bill. When staff are enrolled in a program/class they inherit the schedule, as well. A staff’s schedule can also be customized.

What is the difference between a program and a class?

A program has a room. For example, Toddler 3 Days program, running in the Toddler room, with a teacher-child ratio of 1:5. A class doesn’t have a specified room. All other factor are same for programs and classes.

Can we have enrollment capacity for each program?

Yes, the capacity of a program comes from the capacity of its room.

If a program/class is full can children be put in a waiting list?

Yes. (An extensive implementation of the waiting list will be added soon.)

Can we know how much we made (revenue) in each program?

Yes, through the income report.

Enrollment

Can a child be enrolled in multiple programs and classes?

Yes. If the program/class times are overlapping a warning message is given but you can still accept the entry. For example, a child could be enrolled in an AM program, a day program and an afternoon class.

Can we offer different programs/classes at our sites?

Yes. In the program/class setup you can select the sites at which the program/class will run.

Can a child be enrolled in programs at multiple sites?

Yes. And, the child can be check-in and out too at different sites.

What happens to billing if a child enrolls or un-enrolls in the middle of a billing cycle?

If the child is enrolled in partial first and last billing cycle then a prorated bill is calculated. Prorated billing is an option though; you turn it off if not desired. If prorated billing is turned off then a full bill will be posted of the partial periods.

Can a child be enrolled with a future or past start date?

Yes. If enrolled with a future start date, then the child’s billing will start at that time. If enrolling for a past date, then you will be asked whether you want the past periods to be billed or not.

If a child is enrolled on an ongoing basis, do you simply enroll her with no end date?

Yes, the end date determines when a child’s schedule and billing stops for that program/class.

Can an enrollment be cancelled or ended?

Yes, at anytime to end an enrollment, you simply enter an end date.

iCare Lobby (Attendance and Door Security)

How do I set up the Lobby?

Login into iCare and go to Step 7 of Settings. There the following information is provided: URL (web address) for the Lobby, credentials for opening the Lobby and check-in options. iCare Lobby can be used through any browser on any device – laptop, tablet or phone.

Who can log in and check-in through the Lobby?

The Lobby has 2 steps – Open Lobby and Login. A supervisor has to open the Lobby. Then the parents and staff can log in to check-in and out using their Lobby Password.

What is a Lobby Question?

These are questions presented to the parents when they check-in their children through the Lobby. These are multiple choice questions, which the parent can respond fast. Here are a few examples: What will your child like for lunch today?
  • Slice of pizza $1.50
  • PBJ $1.00
Would you like to send your child for these upcoming field trips?
  • Children’s Museum (April 10) $15.00
  • Baseball Game (May 5) $20.00

What is a Lobby Message?

The Lobby Message is a one-way message delivered to the parents or staff when they login into the Lobby. Examples of Lobby Message are ‘Please see me regarding your child’s enrollment for next year.’ or ‘Please see me regarding your payment for this month.’

If a teacher checks the children in, can the parent check them out or vice versa?

Yes, a child’s teacher or any family contact authorized to pickup can check-in or out the child. Along with the date and time, the attendance report also shows who checked the child in or out.

Can we use iCare Lobby on multiple tablets or other computer devices?

Yes, there is no limit to the number of devices on which you can run the Lobby.

Can a child or staff check-in at any site?

Yes, check-in is not limited to the home site of a child or staff. For example, you may have to send a teacher to another site for a day to cover for a teacher on leave. Or, a child may be attending a special class or program offered at another site.

Can we make parents and teachers enter their signature when checking-in through iCare Lobby?

Yes. You can turn the signature option on on off.

What happens if someone forgets to check-out at the end of the day?

Around midnight the system runs a set of Day Ending procedures. One of the procedures is to check-out anyone left checked-in so that the time clock is ready for the next day. For the checkout time this procedure uses the Center Closing Time. At anytime you can edit the checkout time and enter the actual one.

What happens is someone stays longer than their schedule?

If you have set an ‘additional hours’ fee then the system will automatically bill the parent for the extra time. The additional hours fee can be set in different ways.

Do you offer a door security system?

Yes, we sell a wireless door switch, which is compatible with most Android tablets.

Can we fix missing or wrong attendance data?

Yes, it is easy to do so. Like many report-based functions in iCare, attendance can be edited through the Attendance Report. The iCare report-based editing works like an Excel sheet.

For our after-school program, can the bus drivers check the children in when picking them up from school?

Yes, the Lobby works on a phone also. Bus drivers can check the children in on their phones right when picking them up.

Can a teacher or admin check-in or check-out children in a batch?

Yes, through the Attendance Report. For example, for children coming for after-school program. Anytime after the children have arrived, the teacher can enter the actual time of arrival, say 3 pm, and check them all in with one click.

Journaling

What is the main purpose of Journaling?

The main purpose is to record the activities, behavior, and development milestones of children and to engage with parents in the development of the children.

What are main features of Journaling?

It is fast and flexible. The key features are:
  • Categorization by topics
  • Smart search
  • Batch inserts (for example, enter all the diaper changes of the day with one click)
  • Curriculum-based activities
  • Grading system

How do you make a Journal entry?

Simply select one or more children in your program, select a topic and start typing. If you have written a similar note earlier you will find it in the autofill list. Select and click on Post. Making Journal entries takes just a few seconds.

What is Curriculum and how is it connected to Journaling?

A curriculum is a timed list of activities for the day. For example,
  • 8:00 am Breakfast
  • 8:30 am Circle time
  • 9:15 am Gym
A curriculum can be posted for any day for one or more children. It is a quick way of filling the day’s activities.

What is the Grades feature for?

Grades are best fit for classes. You can enter letter grades (A+, B-) or numbers/marks (85/100) on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Grades and Activities are the two parts of Journaling.

How do parents read their children’s Journal?

Parents can see their children’s journal by logging in into the iCare App. Or, by seeing the daily report that they will receive by email at the end of the day.

Can parents share the Journal with others in their contact list?

Yes, by turning on a privacy flag. (This feature will be released shortly.)

Photos

What is the Photos feature?

Teachers can take and share photos of children or their artwork by just a few clicks. This is most easily done through any tablet or phone.

How are photos taken and shared?

A teacher will simply go to the Photos feature on a tablet or phone, tap on the Camera icon, point, shoot, and share with one or more children’s parents.

How do the parents see their children’s pictures?

Parents can see their children’s photos by logging in into the iCare App. Or, by seeing the daily report that they will receive by email at the end of the day.

How does the Like feature work?

When a parent opens a photo for viewing, they can simply tap on the Like icon.

What if a parent doesn’t want pictures of their child to be shared with other parents?

If a parent doesn’t want their child to appear in group photos that are shared with other parents, they can unflag the share option under privacy settings. This warns the teachers that the child’s photo cannot be shared.

Can parents download their pictures into their computers?

Yes.

Chat

Who can one chat with?

The chat feature works for the following cases:
  • Teacher or admin with parents
  • Teacher or admin with other teachers
The chat facility between parents is not provided.

What happens if someone is not logged in when someone else sends a message?

They will receive the message whenever they log in.

Are previous chat messages accessible?

Yes, you can read or search through chat history.

Are the chat messages of teachers and parents accessible by the admin?

Yes. The same applies to the Journal and Photos. This allows the admin to watch for the appropriateness of all types of communication as opposed social media, which may be hard to control.

Accounting

How are the children’s bills posted?

Bills are posted automatically at night through the ‘Day Ending’ process or can be posted anytime manually through the Preview Bill feature. All bills can be viewed in the Billing Grid report.

Can parents pay online?

Yes, they can pay online by credit card or ACH.

Can an admin or parent set up automatic recurring payments (draws) on credit card and ACH accounts?

Yes, they can set up Direct Deposit for automatic draw on their account.

How are expiring credit cards handled?

Using the Expiring Credit Card report you can request parents to update their cards. For Direct Deposits, the payment gateway automatically sends reminders to parents.

Can an admin void or edit a wrong bill?

Yes, through the Transactions report or the parent’s ledger.

We use a separate accounting system (like QuickBooks or Great Plains), how can we take accounting data from iCare to that system?

iCare includes a Chart of Accounts at the back of its receivables ledger. You can get revenue and cash account totals from iCare and make journal entries in your financials system.

What are the standard accounting reports?

We continue to add more reports in the application. Currently, there are about 15 accounting reports: Balances, Aging, Expiring Cards, Declined/Settled Payments, Billing Rates, Transactions, Billing Grid, Direct Deposits, Payment Listing, Yearly Tax Statement, Account Statement, Total Charges/Credits Summary, Fee Projection, and Billing Projection.

Reporting

What are the sort, search, and filtering functions in the reports?

These are: sort by one or more columns, smart search that automatically matches appropriate columns, and advanced filtering with selective options.

Do iCare reports have drill-down functionality?

Yes, you can right-click on any cell in the Grid View of any report to open the reports-action menu. The reports-action menu has drill-down, math and messaging functions.

What are the ways to customize a report?

Reports can be customized in many ways:
  • Smart search and filtering
  • Hide, unhide and add columns
  • Sorting and grouping
  • Advanced filtering
  • Pivot table designer
  • Exporting data

Can we print reports?

Yes, reports can be printed on any printer connected to your computer.

What is the Report Center?

The Report Center is the catalog of all the reports in iCare. Currently, there are about 35 reports. New reports are being added as needs are identified. Soon, it will also get an Ad Hoc Query Builder, which will allow you to add custom reports or let the iCare Support Team add them for you.

In what ways can you export data?

The data from any report can be exported in any of these formats: XLS, XLSX, PDF, CSV, HTML, RTF, and DOCX.

What is the Analytics/Trends feature?

This is a Pivot Grid feature like the Excel Pivot Table. It allows you to create a pivot table for multi-dimensional data analysis. Using the Pivot Grid, large amounts of data can be summarized and represented in a cross-tabular format that can be sorted, grouped and filtered. You can customize the layout of the report based on your analysis requirements using simple drag-and-drop operations. The Pivot Grid also supports drill-down (to view the underlying data for calculated cells), printing and exporting to various file formats (such as PDF, XLS and XLSX).

Can we add custom reports or run ad hoc queries?

Yes, we will soon add an Ad Hoc Query Builder, which will allow you to add custom reports or let the iCare Support Team add them for you.

Record-keeping and License Requirements

What types of standard tracking fields are there?

Following are sets of fields that are standard in iCare: personal, enrollment, contact, immunization, medical, permissions and electronic documents.

Can I add custom (user-defined) fields?

Yes, you can add any number of and any type of field (text, date, time, number, currency, memo, and Yes/No) organized into sections.

Can the data from the custom fields be printed or exported?

Yes, they can be added in reports through hide/show columns feature in Printing Toolbar and exported in various formats.
iCare Software

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