FCCAM has received many emails and messages about the topic of payments while being closed. We hope this statement from the Attorney General helps provide you guidance with making decisions for your business moving forward.
The Maine Attorney General has released a new statement on Child Care Providers Closing and Family Payments – 3/19/2020
“The Office of the Attorney General is receiving questions about whether a daycare provider may legally shut down and continue to charge while it is closed during this emergency. The answer to this question will depend on the agreements reached between the daycare provider and the consumer. If there is a written contract that covers emergency closure, the contract will likely govern. If there is no written contract, or the written contract does not cover emergency closures, there may be an implied contract arising from the pre-existing course of dealing. For example, if in the absence of a specific agreement a consumer pays a daycare provider that is closed for a snow day, that pre-existing course of dealing may mean payment would be required during this emergency.
There are emergency relief provisions being put in place by the state and federal governments. You should look to those measures for relief for unemployment and business losses. Hopefully these measures will alleviate the burden on both day care providers and those that need their services…
….Finally, it is being incorrectly reported that the Office of the Attorney General is investigating the actions of the child care industry in response to the COVID-19 emergency. This is simply not true. While the office has received calls from consumers with questions specific to their daycare provider, we are dealing with these in the same way the office deals with any consumer complaint about a specific service they receive.”
FCCAM Board members Chrissie Davis and Sasha Shunk attended a Statewide call this afternoon 3/19/2020 with 14 other key stakeholders in early childhood. They learned, licensing has granted 3 temporary child care licenses for the Department of Corrections. 3 hospitals are in discussion about receiving an emergency license. One currently licensed family child care provider in Maine has received a ratio/capacity waiver. Understanding these guidelines should help put our members at ease with. It is important to note, nobody is caring for 20 kids in their homes under these emergency guidelines
Is Your Program Closed?
Licensing has reported 19% of programs in Maine have closed. If you have closed, please contact your licensor so they can update their files.
On March 17, Governor Mills and the Legislature enacted bipartisan legislation to increase flexibility in Maine’s unemployment benefits program. It expands eligibility for benefits to people who are affected by COVID-19 but have not lost their job. The full text of the legislation can be found at: Here
For any Provider with Staff: For more on the Emergency Bill for more flexibility on Unemployment due to COVID-19 Here
FCCAM is aware of the challenges that providers face as self-employed business owners, most of you are not eligible for unemployment. We are advocating options for you. You are seen, you are heard, you are understood.
Trainings around COVID impact on child care businesses:
Early Childhood Investigations Webinars has Early Childhood Investigations Webinars is offering a recording of their Urgent: Bracing for COVID-19 webinar (3/20) which is also full. Register here to receive a link to that.
FCCAM will also share information they receive from any Board and committee members that have been able to register for these webinars.
You can find additional resources on this website using the top menu under “COVID-19”.