Last year FCCAM’s Public Policy Committee learned very quickly how important it is to be providing our knowledge about our profession to the legislators writing, hearing and adopting Bills. We found Legislators were very open to hearing our thoughts and respected that we had first-hand knowledge about the issues we were speaking to.
Over the past few months, as part of our efforts to strengthen an understanding of what child care programs around the state provide children and families, upon our invite elected officials have been visiting both family child care programs and centers. More visits are being scheduled for the new year.
As a statewide association whose mission is to support family child care providers, FCCAM believes it’s important for all providers to lend their voice to any discussion on Bills that impact our small businesses and the care we provide children. This is easily done by sending written testimony by email to the Committee hearing the Bill. FCCAM will continue to try to provide links to Bills to make the research as easy for members as possible, as well as the Committee taking testimony. If you email your testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org, at least a few days before any public hearing we will be sure to get it to the Committee hearing the Bills.
The Public Policy Committee was expecting committee hearings on Bills from last year to start once the 2018 legislative session started early in January. Then we heard that the Health and Human Services Committee would hear testimony on all the child care bills in front of them, on one day – Thursday, January 4th. There are 8 bills now scheduled for hearing on this day.
If you want to see all eight bills here’s a link to the legislative site: https://legislature.maine.gov/bills/phwkSched.html
FCCAM has submitted testimony as representative of members on 3 of these Bills. While we acknowledge that not all members will agree with the stance taken it is a reflection of majority opinion. The remaining 5 Bills: LD 1474, LD 1177, LD 1423, LD 1661, and LD 1748 are a composite of many bits and pieces from raising reimbursement rates, forming an appeals board, and raising staff/child ratios. There was not the time as a committee to fully research, discuss and come to a consensus, so no testimony is being submitted in support or opposition at this time. FCCAM’s PPC will continue to research and discuss these BIlls with the purpose of providing information on impact to family child care providers and the children they serve to Legislators, just not public testimony.
LD 765 – Five Children, No License, (oppose as feel presents potential threat to health and safety of children, there is no limit to number of children and no general safety inspections, background check or CPR safety training of provider)
LD 1148 – Expulsion Language, (oppose as the Licensing Rule that went into effect 9/20/2017 now requires a written policy of how provider decides will handle expulsion/suspension. Requires signature of families indicating have seen the policy)
LD 1374 – Assess Child Care Services, (support a report by 3rd party of the child care landscape in Maine and market rate. There is a lack of care slots around the state and the market rate needs to reflect a true cost of providing care, not just the fees charged.)
Please reach out at any time with any questions.