Child Care Management Software Comparison: Alliance CORE vs. SMARTcare

Child Care Management Software Comparison: Alliance CORE vs. Smartcare

Trying to find the best child care management software? Two common choices are Alliance CORE and SMARTcare. We know how tough it can be to decide which child care management software is the best fit for you. Early Learning Ventures has provided this child care management software comparison with SMARTcare to help. 

Alliance CORE Child Care Management System helps caretakers keep records and organize enrollment. It also helps keep users' child care state licensing up to date. This software helps center-based programs and those in a family child care home.  

SMARTcare is a platform used by non-medical and private duty providers that helps with both cost management and outcomes. This software can help with billing, business, and workflow. SMARTcare strives to be both flexible and functional while helping to improve management.

Features of Alliance CORE

When comparing Alliance CORE vs. SMARTcare, it's important to consider the features available on each childcare management software. Mobile applications and features make care, communication, and management easier.

Alliance CORE is a cloud-based system that helps providers by streamlining many of the administrative processes they work through on a daily basis, including 

  • Online Enrollment: Our online enrollment allows for electronic registration. The easy-to-follow process means that providers are able to have their applications out to parents in minutes.
  • Child/Staff Attendance: A staple of all child care management systems, the system manages your check-in/out process.
  • Child/Parent/Staff Records and Documentation: Up-to-date records are important at all times. Our system alerts providers as records are coming due or are overdue.
  • Caregiver Communications (multiple formats): Communicate with parents and caregivers through kiosk, email, or text messages.
  • Billing/Tuition invoicing: Automate your billing process for each family.
  • Multiple Reporting Capabilities (both pre-built and customizable): Whether you need a list of all payments received that week or a list of all immunizations required this month, scheduled reporting gives you the information you need in seconds.
  • Wait List Management
  • Schedule/Room Management
  • Daily Health Checks
  • Medical Information Tracking
  • Provider/Parent Alerts
  • Parent Engagement
  • Parent Portal
  • Provider Dashboards
  • Provider Alerts
  • Real-Time Data Tracking
  • Mobile Applications/Features
  • Mobile Daily Reporting
  • Mobile Instant Messaging
  • Touchless Check-in/out
  • QuickBooks Online Integration
  • State Child Care Subsidy Integration (select States)

Alliance CORE is API compatible and select states can access state child care subsidy integration. Users can receive tuition invoicing and Quickbooks online integration. CACFP data collection and tracking is also available to those using Alliance CORE.  

Features of SMARTcare

Smartcare’s Center Management app is available on the web at my.smarcare.com/center for use on desktops, laptops, and tablets as well as on iOS for use on iPads. The Smartcare Center Management app allows directors to manage the critical operations of the center, including but not limited to:

  • Managing time and attendance for both children and employees: signing children or employees in or out of the center as well as editing attendance/timesheet records.  
  • Configure billing statement periods to automate the billing process – parents and agencies are billed on a  predictable schedule that providers define so billing becomes automated and consistent.  
  • Manage all aspects of accounting, including splitting charges between payers, sending invoices on-demand to parents as well as full-fledged credit allocation for agency remittances.  
  • Schedule both children and employees with the capability to set up recurring schedules as well as classroom scheduling templates.  
  • Send email and text messages directly to parents or staff within Smartcare, including the ability to target messages to specific subsets of your center’s employees or parents.  
  • Reporting on the key data that matters most to the providers, including child attendance, employee time cards, parent demographics, payments, account transactions (both charges and credits), Account  Receivable (A/R), and more.  
  • Manage child immunizations and allergies along with the ability to upload documents to keep your records up to date.  

Smartcare’s Classroom Management app sends visually appealing activity reports, pictures, announcements, and emergency text alerts to parents’ smart devices, web portals, and email. Directors use the dashboard to get a real-time attendance snapshot of their center, to manage lesson planning, and to keep parents informed. Additionally,  with the Smartcare Classroom Manager, you can:  

  • Increase parent engagement, staff efficiency, and center enrollment.
  • Improve attendance tracking with daily activity reporting, including pictures, videos, and text alerts.
  • Customize dashboards including director approvals, hot-car alerts, and name-to-face tracking to strengthen security and compliance.  
  • Facilitate the sharing of lesson planning from the corporate level to individual providers seamlessly which saves teachers hundreds of hours per week.  
  • Stay in compliance with state licensing through a built-in electronic assessment and student portfolio with integration to nationally approved assessment products from Kaplan LAP.  

Smartcare’s Kiosk app is the initial touchpoint for both parents and employees to interact with the center by powering attendance /timesheet functionality including the ability for 

  • Parents can check their children in and out of the provider center using any of the following uniquely assigned identifiers; Mobile QR code via Parent app, Pin code, Keytag QR code or electronic signature.
  • Employees can clock in or out of the center using either their uniquely assigned PIN code or Keytag QR code.
  • Provider administrators can assign key tags to employees and parents directly from the Smartcare Kiosk. 
All of these features aid in the communication and management process. SMARTcare is a highly regarded software for daycares due to the features offered.

Alliance CORE Development and Support

Alliance CORE deploys through the cloud, SaaS, and web-based forums and various mobile applications as well. It is accessible on mobile devices, such as Androids, iPhones, and iPads.

Support when using Alliance CORE is available through email, the help desk, and FAQs they've posted. We have also made our forum and Knowledge Base available to users. Alliance CORE provides 12+ hours of phone support if you wish to ask an employee any questions. 

The support team meets providers where they are in terms of their technology experience and “holds their hand” as much as needed to ensure they feel supported while learning this new technology. 

Alliance CORE follows a mantra of “if it’s going to take you more than 2 minutes to figure something out on your own, to just call us instead.” 

Users can attend live online training through Alliance CORE. Alliance CORE holds webinars, provides documentation, and uploads videos to help equip those using the software.

SMARTcare Development and Support

SMARTcare deploys through the cloud, SaaS, and web-based forums. The software can be deployed on Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops. SMARTcare software is accessible on mobile devices such as Androids, iPhones, and iPads. 

SMARTcare is available through email, the help desk, FAQs they have posted. Their forums and knowledge base are available for users with questions. To speak with an employee, you can also call SMARTcare or use their online chat. 

SMARTcare offers both in-person and live online training. The software offers webinars, videos, and documentation to users. 


Licensing Violations Revealed

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Thanks to our partnerships with state agencies we’ve compiled a list of the most common licensing violations.


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Alliance CORE vs. SMARTcare Pricing

We understand that pricing can play a large part in one's decision. Both Alliance CORE and SMARTcare offer free trials to help decide what is the better fit for you. 

Alliance CORE provides a foundation on which providers can save time and money, smoothly run their business, and allow them to focus on why they got into the child care business in the first place – caring for and educating children.

Alliance CORE

Cost of standard CCMS (Child Care Management Software) package

Licensed Enrollment Capacity

Cost

0-30

$25/mo

31-60

$50/mo

61+

$100/mo

 Enrollment Support

Billing Support

Sign In and out Support Parent

Communication

Daily Reports Form  Uploads/Storage

Payroll Support

✅

✅

✅

✅

✅

✅

Resources/Costs NOT Included in Basic CCMS Package

Description

Cost

Training Costs (if applicable)

One-time onboarding fee

N/A

Technology Access/Resources

Alliance CORE is a cloud-based system,  compatible and accessible on all devices.  Google Chrome is the recommended web  browser for accessing Alliance CORE.

N/A

Supplemental/Optional  Materials

A Merchant Account can be established with a third-party Payment Processing Company that we’ve integrated our Alliance CORE  system with in order to process electronic payments.

Service fees tied to Merchant Account and number of electronic transactions, dependent on the payment method used

Cost for Bilingual Editions

N/A (we currently use Google Translate in order to translate our system to a language other than English)

N/A

Smartcare

Cost of standard CCMS (Child Care Management Software) package

Package

Cost

Smartcare Center Management software

$82/mo 

Smartcare Classroom Management software

$82/mo 

Smartcare Center and Classroom bundle

$150/mo

Startup fee

$250 – includes 1 kiosk, remote implementation through Learning Management System and ongoing support resources. Standard processing fee for payments with Smartcare 2.85% cards; $0.40 ACH

Family Child Care Pricing:  

$59 one-time Set-up fee per site (you will get online training video access for 30 days, as well as a Customer Success Manager for 30 days to aid in setting up your system)  

$59 per site/per month after that for access to the software. (this is for an unlimited number of users and up to 20 children)

 Enrollment Support

Billing Support

Sign In and out Support Parent

Communication

Daily Reports Form  Uploads/Storage

Payroll Support

✅

✅

✅

✅

✅

✅


Resources/Costs NOT Included in Basic CCMS Package

Description

Cost

Shipping Charges and Tax (if applicable)

N/A - Shipping fees are included in the implementation fees. Kiosks are sent to the client at no additional charge.

N/A

Training Costs (if applicable)

We do not charge for training. We are happy to offer that service at no cost for the duration of your agreement with us. We do have a $250 start-up fee that we assess to cover the costs of hardware (kiosk) and the migration of basic data into our systems.

$0.00/$250
Training/Start Up Fee

Technology Access/Resources

Our clients utilize our Smartcare Help & Resource Center as their one-stop shop for all support documentation. We also offer an extensive video library to help support your staff and your parents going forward.

$0.00

Supplemental/Optional Materials

Smartcare Blog: Our blog offers a variety of articles and resources in support of your daycare, early learning, childcare, and preschool needs.

$0.00

Cost for Bilingual Editions

At this time, we do not fully support bilingual versions of our solutions. Some users have had success with Google Translate, but we do not currently offer any service level agreements/or custom services that address Google Translate.

N/A

Pros and Cons of Alliance CORE

Alliance CORE is ELV’s proprietary Child Care Management System (CCMS) that we created from scratch. Alliance CORE is a cloud-based system that is compatible with any device. Customer support allows for flexible software use for each specific situation. Users are able to customize Alliance CORE to best suit their needs. 

Pros

  • Cloud-based System
  • Compatible with any device
  • ELV is a not-for-profit organization
  • ELV offers Partner, not Product, approach
  • Customized support, not a one-size-fits-all approach
  • Live Customer Support available weekdays, 6:00am-6:00pm (MST)
  • Budget-conscious and efficient
  • System customization available
  • Licensing Compliant

Cons

Alliance CORE does not have a provider/staff calendar component to track and manage daily meetings, but it does offer provider events feature that allows providers to set up events and track attendance to those events.

Pros and Cons of SMARTcare

Pros

Parents, daycares, schools, and other organizations have chosen SMARTcare. SMARTcare helps with many different forms of management, including but not limited to billing, insurance, calendar, and employee management. 

A SMARTcare review shows that those using the software have access to excellent customer service and provides great value for the cost of the software. Users note that SMARTcare is easy to use in various situations. 

Cons

Those reviewing SMARTcare mentioned that there were occasional billing issues when using the software. Users also mentioned they missed the emergency report. The emergency report is used to keep track of students during fire drills. 

Making the Best Decision

There are pros and cons to any child care management software. There are features that are unique to each software. Now that we've looked at the childcare software management comparison of Alliance CORE vs. SMARTcare, you can begin to decide which is the best option for you. 

The Alliance CORE child care management system by Early Learning Ventures, a not-for-profit organization, makes running your business easier. We partner with our providers every step of the way through one-on-one client support. Our experienced team works with providers of all technical skill levels, building comfort with the system one step at a time – all with the personal connection that comes from a small team.  

We encourage you to schedule a demo with us today to talk about your decision. You'll speak with an Early Learning Ventures representative about the specific needs your program is looking for regarding administrative support and any benefits that we can provide you with that you may not have access to currently.  We are happy to help you make your decision!

Early Learning Ventures is here to help and has provided resources to help you understand all elements of a child care management system. It is also helpful to take a look at when common licensing violations are revealed on our page to gain a greater understanding of why what we do at Early learning Ventures is important. We are here to help you make the best 

decision for your business when it comes to selecting a childcare management system. 

Are you looking for more child care management information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Child Care Management.

Our child care management system makes running your child care program simple and efficient. Get back to what's most important. You shouldn't have to spend more time on the administrative tasks than you do with children and staff. 

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Or schedule a demo with us to learn more about how our child care management system, Alliance Core, can streamline your administrative processes.


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