Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Just Who Is a License-exempt Provider?

Discussions continue around legally providing care within your home in Maine. Within these discussions the resources provided to add to the discussion have not all been timely. Part of the mission of the Family Child Care Association of Maine is to provide timely and accurate information when questions are raised around family child care. In our effort to support all legally operating family child care providers in Maine we reached out to licensing to get an answer that is up to date. We also want to clearly state that FCCAM feels that all legal in-home care options are an important part of the child care system in Maine.

Here is the information we received:

A family child care provider can care for up to 2 children not living in the home and remain unlicensed.  Maine Statute says a person can care for their own children living in their home and up to 2 children not living in their home for compensation and not be required to be licensed.  Once an individual cares for 3 or more children not living in their home they require licensure. 

FCCAM’s understanding is that an individual can have more than 2 children under contract for care, but only 2 can be receiving care within the home at the same time. For those looking at families wanting part-time care this can be important. This works the same way for licensed providers who provide care for clients needing part-time. It about juggling multiple children within the same careslot, so you are always within legal child/adult ratio.

Individuals providing care for up to 2 children are legal, but are not really labeled within the system by licensing unless they accept subsidy payments.

An individual providing care to up to 2 children not living in their home and accepting subsidy payments for one or both of those children, is referred to as a license-exempt (LE) provider by the state.

While the state does not label individual providers not accepting subsidy payments, FCCAM encourages any individual that is operating legally without needing to be licensed to refer to themselves as license-exempted. You are operating legally under state statutes. You are not licensed because you do not need to be. You are not operating illegally as an unlicensed provider caring for 3 or more children (not your own) at the same time.

FCCAM asked specifically about when the need for background checks and monitoring came into play for license-exempt providers.

Under the most recent Reauthorization of the Block Grant, a license-exempt (LE) provider that receives subsidy funds does have to complete Health and Safety training, needs to have background checks done and now needs to have a monitoring inspection annually to make sure they are meeting the basic health and safety requirements.  There are more requirements now then there used to be, these are just a few of them. 

An individual can reach out to the Child Care Subsidy Program to get a copy of the checklist that they send out to LE providers providing details of what is now required. 

The Health and Safety training is a 6 hr training you can access through Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ). You will need to be on the registry for that. You can find out how to access from this post.

Monitoring inspections are now posted for the public to see as part of the Child Care Choices site.

One more piece of information ~ a licensed-exempt provider who is accepting subsidy payment can also participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).


FCCAM works to unify, promote and strengthen quality professional family child care in Maine. We understand the critical role of child care providers in the lives of children and families. Through collaboration with other organizations we work to increase awareness of our profession and the value of a strong child care system to Maine's diverse communities.