Our Outside Play Yards

clip-art-climbing-762037There has been a great deal of concern about the impact on the outside play yards of family child care programs with the Licensing Rule that went into effect 9/20/17. Concerns from providers and FCCAM were expressed to Licensing and the Health and Human Services Committee. Testimony was provided on LD 1661. The State at that time offered an amendment specifically trying to address the concerns raised.

LD1661 was sent out off committee with amendments to the Legislature for a vote. It is FCCAM’s understanding that the bill passed with amendments. We have not been able to get confirmation of when it will be publicly posted.

Here is the language that was sent for the vote ~

COMMITTEE AMENDMENT “ ” to H.P. 1146, L.D. 1661, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 33: Rule Relating to the Licensing of Family Child Care Providers, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention”

Amend the resolve in section 1 in the last line (page 1, line 19 in L.D.) by striking out the following: “authorized.” and inserting the following: ‘authorized only if:’

Amend the resolve in section 1 by adding at the end the following:

‘1. The requirement that providers must share information with parents regarding policies of parental visitation at the child care site in Section 5.C.11.b is removed from that section and a requirement that providers must allow parents to be able to visit and observe any time during the hours of operation is added to the rule;

2. In Section 8.A of the rule, the language stating that provider-child ratios are not based on the developmental stages in the definition section is removed;

3. In Section 8.A.1 of the rule, the ratios for mixed ages for one provider include the ratio of 8 children aged 2 to 5 years and 2 children aged more than 5 years;

4. In Section 8.A.3.a of the rule, the age of the children of the licensee that are counted in the provider-child ratio and included in the licensed capacity is changed from under the age of 3 to under the age of 4;

5. In Section 14.E.2.b of the rule, the language requiring climbers, swings and slides to be 6 feet from any hard surfaces is removed and replaced with a requirement that the climbers, swings and slides be located at a sufficient distance to prevent injury;

6. In Section 14.E.3 of the rule, the requirement for equipment that exceeds 36 inches in height is amended to specify that the equipment exceeds 36 inches at the climbable or standing surface;

7. In Section 14.E.3 of the rule, the requirement that the rubber tiles and mats used must be approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials is removed;

8. In Section 14.E.3.b of the rule, language is added to include swings with climbers and slides;

9. In Section 14.E.3.b of the rule, the requirement for a minimum amount of 6 inches or more of energy-absorbing materials is removed and replaced with a requirement for a sufficient amount of energy-absorbing materials to prevent injury;

10. In Section 14.E.3.c of the rule, the requirement for energy-absorbing materials to extend at least 6 feet from the equipment to protect children is removed and replaced with a requirement that energy-absorbing materials extend beyond the equipment in all directions to prevent injury in the event of a fall; and

11. In Section 17.A of the rule, language is added to require that a person assigned by a provider to drive children enrolled in care must complete training for transportation of children every 2 years.’

SUMMARY

This amendment provides that the Department of Health and Human Services may finally adopt portions of Chapter 33: Rule Relating to the Licensing of Family Child Care Providers, a provisionally adopted major substantive rule of the Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only if the rule is modified to:

1. Clarify that parents are allowed to visit and observe at the child care site at any time the provider is open rather than specifying documentation of the policy for parental visitation at the child care site;

2. Clarify that provider-child ratios are based on ages and not on developmental stages;

3. Clarify that a single provider may care for 8 children aged 2 to 5 years and 2 children over 5 years old;

4. Change the age of the children of the licensee being included in provider-child ratios from under the age of 3 to under the age of 4;

5. Change the requirement that climbing equipment must be 6 feet from hard surfaces to requiring that it be located at a sufficient distance to prevent injury;

6. Clarify that the 36-inch-high threshold for requiring energy-absorbing materials refers to the height of the climbable or standing surface and remove the requirement that the rubber tiles and mats used beneath the equipment must be approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials;

7. Remove the requirement that the depth of energy-absorbing materials around climbers and slides be 6 inches or greater and instead require a sufficient amount of material to prevent injury, and clarify that the equipment includes swings in addition to climbers and slides;

8. Remove requirements that energy-absorbing materials around playground equipment extend at least 6 feet in all directions and instead require the materials to extend beyond the equipment in all directions to prevent injury in the event of a fall; and

9. Clarify that a person assigned by a provider to drive children enrolled in care must complete training for transportation of children every 2 years to match the training requirements in other sections of the rule.

FCCAM is aware that questions are still arising between providers and licensing specialists. There is room for interpretation of the Rule with the amendment language. Bring questions to a Licensing Supervisor for clarification before you make major investments in time or money with changes to your space and equipment. Some providers have developed a High Risk Equipment Usage Permission Form for their play yard equipment. Similar to the high risk activity form required as part of this and past Rules for special activities like horseback riding, trampoline, swimming.

Here is a shared example:

Permission to Use High-Risk Equipment

Child’s name:                                                                         DOB:
◻ I understand my permission is given for 1 year from the date signed and that I will need to provide permission on an annual basis while my child is in care.

◻ I give permission for my child to use each of the initialed pieces of equipment listed below while under supervision at Country Fun Child Care.

Please initial before each piece of equipment to approve its use.                                      

___  Balance/stepping logs surrounding dirt and chipped play area in backyard

___  Climbing structures on the playground (plastic and wooden with tube slide)

___  Dirt box under climbing structure in backyard

___  Half Bosu ball in the classroom

___  little tykes triangular climbing structure in the classroom

___  all riding equipment including but not limited to scooters and tricycles

___  Balancing Slackline between trees in backyard

___  Balance beams both inside in classroom and outdoors in yard area

◻ I understand I may revoke this permission in writing at any time for any reason.

——————————

◻ I do not give give permission for my child to use the high risk equipment at (business name).

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Parent/Guardian Signature:

Date:

TIP* list all play equipment that a child might fall from used both inside and/or outside

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Also of note:

Change in the age at which a provide can stop counting their child in ratios.

Rule allowing parents to visit /observe at any time during operational hours.