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Posted on Sun, May 6, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Track your child: Ann Arbor couple develop software to digitize day care centers

By Lizzy Alfs


Annie's Children's Center employee Kaila Rephold, pictured with Addison Jorgensen, uses Child Care Daily App on an iPad.

Melanie Maxwell |

When Melissa Jorgensen’s 5-month-old daughter, Addison, recently fell ill with a bronchial infection, Melissa needed to ensure her daughter was being properly cared for at day care.

Was Addison getting her medicine on time? Was she coughing much during the day? Did she go down for her nap?

Thanks to a software system developed by two Ann Arbor day care owners, Melissa was able to receive text messages and emails throughout the day to stay updated on Addison’s condition. She could also check, in real-time, Addison’s online activity log.

Child Care Daily App, a company launched last year by Robert and Anne Kennedy, the owners of three Annie’s Children’s Centers in Washtenaw County, is now being used in roughly 40 day care centers around the country.

The program digitizes centers’ required record keeping, such as the activities kids participate in, diaper changes, the foods they eat and when they go to sleep.


Annie's Children's Center employee Kaila Rephold holds an iPad showcasing Child Care Daily.

Melanie Maxwell |

These reports were previously hand-written and given to parents at the end of the day.

“It was a very antiquated, very archaic way of how records were being kept,” explained Bill Collins, Child Care Daily App’s Chief Operating Officer. “It’s time consuming, and the communication that takes place with parents is limited to pretty much when the kids get dropped off in the morning and picked up in the evening.”

With Child Care Daily App, teachers in centers record activities as they happen on a Web-enabled device and the system creates a daily report. Parents can log into their child’s account to see what’s happening throughout the day and can also automatically receive specific alerts via email or text message.

“I get messages all day long,” Jorgensen said. “Just that constant reassurance that (Addison’s) having a good day, hasn’t been coughing much and is feeling better — that’s one of my favorite parts of it.”

The program also allows teachers to attach photos to the reports and alerts; something Collins said “makes a parent’s day.”

Collins said Child Care Daily recently hired a marketing consultant and there are now six employees working for the company, with plans to double that by the end of the year. The office is located next to an Annie's Children's Center on Beakes Street in Ann Arbor.

In February, the company received $10,000 in funding from Ann Arbor SPARK’s Business Accelerator service.

The program costs day care centers $2.50 per child per month to use, and it’s flexible, so the center can decide how many children to put on the program and can add or remove kids at any time.

Collins, who calls Child Care Daily “the next best thing to being there,” said feedback on the program thus far has been very positive.

“Parents are choosing to use our centers because of this program,” he said. “I can’t imagine having a 6-week-old baby and having to go back to work and drop that baby at child care. That separation anxiety is huge.”

Jorgensen, a first-time parent, agreed: “(Addison) is starting solids now, so to be able to track those kinds of things and how she’s doing with them is great. Should we be upping things? Should we be giving her different options? Those things are harder to track when you’re not with your child all day.”

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Mon, May 7, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

I'm appalled by all the snarky comments on this article. I'd be willing to bet that every single one of them was made by a. someone who doesn't have children or b. someone who had the fortunate circulmstances enabling them to stay home in a largely two-income economy. Get over yourselves. I work outside of the home because my kids need health insurance, food on the table, a home, and some money stashed away for college. If you can do all that without both parents working, well, yipee for you. My situation did not work out that way - and don't tell me it's because I didn't make sacrifices. Some people simply CANNOT afford to stay home with their children. You don't know my life or my situation, so stop judging me and others who made different choices than you. My kids are well-adjusted, among the best students in their classes, active, healthy, and most of all, happy and loved. And GASP! they went to daycare from the time they were both 12 weeks old. Until you've walked in my shoes, you have no right to tell me what you think of my choices and how I raise my children.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 10:27 a.m.

Just imagine if we could put trackers under our kid's skin, that would be very useful.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

I too work in an infant/toddler program and we keep track of things like diapers, sleeping, and feedings. While I can see the point of record keeping this way can be time consuming, I would like to point out that the person in a classroom at the end of the day may not have been with your child most of the day and doesn't know what your child did. Having the ability for something like this would help parents who arrive at the end of the day when dealing with a caregiver who doesn't have all the cute little anecdotes. I would also like to address the comment about recording a child's first steps. Instead of telling a parent that we saw their child's first steps that day, we may make a comment about how ready to walk their child is and to really watch out for it. We don't want our parents to feel guilty about having to work and leave their children with caregivers who not only care for the children, but about the parents who have to leave their children. I think something like this might be great for medically fragile/special needs children and adults. Those parents/families still have to work, but finding reliable quality care is even higher for that population.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:59 a.m.

and9801, very much agree. Regarding my earlier comment on recording the "first steps": you have provided a very tactful method for relieiving any potential guilt. Frankly, I had not considered it as a "guilt" moment. I suppose if one parent was away, like deployed in the military, it could be useful - but on the other hand, the remaining parent could probably record at home later.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:27 a.m.

To Laura who replied to one of the comments. I don't agree that if you work outside the home you are doing two jobs. If your kids are in day care all day, then the day care is doing the job of raising your kids while you are at work. And you are paying them to do so. You are not doing two jobs.

Proud Parent

Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Doing the job of raising my kids? Pretty strong statement. I wish the childcare center was able to clean my house, do my dishes, my laundry, my yard work, and provide a nice caring and loving home environment. Not all of us have the option to stay at home and work there, financially. It would be nice. I do raise my own child and have the most influence in doing so. I have chosen a wonderful place to take my child to help him develop and grow to his fullest potential. He has other children in his life that he would not otherwise have and is learning how to socially interact with his peers and other adults. I truly believe my love and educational influences, teamed with the benefits of his childcare center will give him the best tools he needs to succeed. Children that go to a great childcare center are exposed to many things that children who do not attend childcare are not. You can always pick out a child that has not been to daycare or preschool. There are many benefits to childcare! Being a working mom, in a way, is two jobs. I do not have the option to be at home and do the work that is required of me there all day long. I get paid financially for one and I get paid in many other ways by the other...and it is a "paycheck" I would not ever exchange. survive in this economy, provide health care for my son, a healthy home, and a good life I am required to work outside of the home, as a second job.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

My daughter attends the Beakes Street Annie's location. This app is pretty great for when you're at work wondering what your child is up to or what she'll need when you get home. The employees do a fantastic job of promptly logging sleep times, meals, and diaper changes. They also add personal messages like when my daughter who is new to crawling was doing so with another baby. Cute! I had no idea this app was created by an Ann Arbor couple. Brilliant idea that I hope makes them lots of cash. Maybe Facebook will buy them out for a billion dollars!


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

@casmom, If the daycare was already filling out paperwork, and the software works as advertised, the time saved can be used for reading, playing etc. If one parent is traveling, say in another time zone or on a flight, being able to check in on status is a nice touch. Also could have benefits for emergency notification. Also, when little Jimmy takes his first steps, and he happens to be at daycare, a photo or streaming video would be a nice touch. Welcome to the 21st century.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:16 a.m.

Smoke, sure would be nice if we got there. Beats trying to decipher doctor scrawl and waiting for hardcopy medical files to be transferred. Since the daycare app mentioned in this article is viewable online, it should mean it accessible where the Internet is: home, work, iPhone, or ER.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

I didn't realize all our medical records were available to all hospitals now that we are in the 21st century! I guess UM hasn't figured that out yet....


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 8:58 p.m.

You will notice an iPad is used with what looks like standard fields and quick selects, again welcome to the 21st century. You also failed to address the benefits for a traveling parent or guardian. In addition, records accessibility on medications and schedules would be available anywhere. Obvious benefit if little Jimmy needs to go to the emergency room in the evening and the day's "written" report is left in the diaper bag at home.


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

The paperwork that I/we fill out on a daily basis takes very little time. You are assuming that because this is done on a computer it takes less time? I really doubt it. Also, any good caregiver will not share about little Jimmy taking his first steps. That should be something parents feel they got to experience first. I am a parent. I have used daycare. I was ok and my child was ok without my hovering.


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

I hear a helicopter for sure! I happen to work in an infant toddler program. I want nothing to do with this! Caregivers should spend their time reading, playing, going outside ect. Not uploading images to satisfy guilty, over protective parents. How exactly does this benefit the children? Do you think the infants care at all about this?


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

if addison's daycare is so good and the parents always know she is in good hands then why the need for new software? sounds like either the daycare isnt so great or her parents needed a storyline to market their product. i would bet on the latter. i wonder if the daycare gets a cut?

5c0++ H4d13y

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

Maybe the idea is that they are so good and can prove it.


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

Bravo Rob and Ann! This is great news. I'm just jealous it didn't exist when our daughter was at Annie's.

Jane Heineken

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

All licensed, reputable infant/toddler child care programs keep and provide to parents daily records of a child's health, nutrition, emotional and behavioral information. It is standard, "best practice" to do so. This is a much faster way for caregivers to chart the necessary items, thereby allowing them to spend more time with the children. I would have loved having such a system during the years I worked as a caregiver and teacher, and would have also loved the easy access to updates during the years my daughter was in childcare. Best of luck refining and expanding this service!

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

I remember when "Day Care" was my mother! but that was because we lived with in our means. My mom didn't have work, we didn't need the McMansion & all the stuff that when with it. I even went outside to play!


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

Wow, what a snarky comment. My mom worked two jobs because our dad left us. I agree that people live above their means much of the time, but working moms essentially work TWO full time jobs, raising kids and raising funds. It's wonderful to have one parent in the home, but it's not always possible.


Mon, May 7, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

Thanks for this post! Most of those mothers staying home make great sacrifices both personal and economic to do the hard work of raising a child full time. And it is work!

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

I knew the PC police would be out in force!!! Your sooooo busy being PC that you miss the point. Stay out of the rain you'll drown with your nose so high in the air.

5c0++ H4d13y

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 6:36 p.m.

Almost no one lives in a Starter Mansion.


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

you have to be a man! women don't work outside of the home, nor have they ever worked, just to buy baubles and junk. most families need two incomes to pay rent and put food on the table and they have since, oh, the industrial revolution put an end to most cottage industry. thank goodness for daycare to keep kids safe while their mothers/parents earn a living.

Melissa Jorgensen

Sun, May 6, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

What a great article. Thank you! We have been so lucky to have such quality childcare for Addison! She has some of the most loving and caring teachers I have ever met and I always know that she is in great hands while I am at work!


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

Way Too much emphases put on record keeping and not enough on interacting with the child !


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

All that record keeping is necessary 1. for parents that may NEED to know their childs intake/output for medical reasons 2. for child care centers to avoid lawsuits


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Frankly, I want a daycare that spends time taking great care of my child, not taking time to log each poop. This is kinda sad.


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 11:38 p.m.

Anon, glad you have the opportunity to use a home daycare provider. Some do not have that option. The article does not state this is in lieu of anything verbal. It also provides an accessible record. If one parent picks up the child and receives the "verbal", the other now also has access in the event the "verbal" is not passed on within the household say like instances of travel or different work schedules.


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

They do not have to log each poop! How much time do you really want your provider spending on paperwork anyway. A good quality daycare gives an accurate, verbal report at the end of the day. Unless of course you go to one of those cookie cutter big box daycares. I prefer a home daycare with an experienced provider any day!


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

I'm not sure if the diaper logs are actually a legal requirement. I've dealt with a number of licensed child care centers and none of them did this. I never felt that, because I wasn't receiving a daily log of activities including meals and diaper changes, that my child was not being cared for properly.


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 2 p.m.

They have to "log each poop" anyway., it even states so in the article. This way yht parent gets an electronic instant report instead of a piece of paper at the end of the day.


Sun, May 6, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

wupwupwupwupwupwup.....I think hear a helicopter.