Outreach Committee ~~
Providers have asked about the value of being a member of FCCAM, so we thought it might be good to share the Family Child Care Association of Maine’s story……….
On November 2, 2016, ten family child care providers interested in the possibility of a statewide professional association that focused on family child care met by conference call to discuss the possibility. The big question was what was the vision for this association? There was some strong discussion about the dream association, the reality of providers supporting an association like that, discussing cost to organize, cost of membership and reality of effort needed by a small group to organize within a year. This group of providers were ready to volunteer time and talent in this effort to support their profession and their peers.
This early working group had to:
- Select a name that reflected the organization and was also available
- Organize the governing body for the association
- Write mission/vision, goals, bylaws, policies
- Proceed with state filing – Articles of Incorporation
- Begin process for federal filing non-profit status
- Work towards state affiliation with the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)
FCCAM has been able to meet a number of the dream points discussed on that first meeting. That dream option for health insurance is still being worked on.
On Nov. 28, 2016, FCCAM’s first Board was elected:
- Chair /Tammy Dwyer
- Vice-Chair /Chrissie Davis
- Treasurer /Becki Yahm
- Secretary /Debbie Arcaro
- Director-At-Large /Sasha Shunk
- Director-At-Large /Jessica Irving
- Director-At-Large /Sara Peavey
- Director-At-Large /Brandy Townsend
- County Rep /Jennifer Doanne – Cumberland
- County Rep /Claire Beaulieu – Androscoggin
With this elected Board in place, we could proceed with the state filing of Articles of Incorporation. The next step was to begin recruiting members. We all knew how hard it was going to be to convince fcc providers to join. The first step was to show providers who we were. That meant developing a social media footprint, and setting up a website.
December found FCCAM with a logo and beginning the work for federal non-profit 501c3 status.
The Outreach Committee sent out the first blast email to 1000+ fcc providers to introduce this new statewide association whose focus was support of family child care providers.
Jan. 2017 found FCCAM’s Professional Learning Committee beginning collaboration work with MaineAEYC on their Spring conference to be held that year at Thomas College, in Waterville. This meant a discounted training opportunity for members.
During this work, MaineAEYC’s Board voted to support FCCAM with monies to cover our 501c3 filing, and D&O ins. Our collaboration with MaineAEYC supports members of both associations and continues to be strong.
March 2017 finds FCCAM being contacted on collaboration opportunities by a number of groups:
- Connecting Kids Coverage – FCCAM was asked to support this statewide work by sending materials to providers and posting on our social media and website.
- iLookOut for Child Abuse connected with FCCAM to help get word out informing providers throughout the process of beginning this program in Maine.
- NAFCC survey to gather information nationally on ece issues.
- MaineAEYC 4/8 conference FCCAM members will receive reduced registration.
- College and CTE campus presentations by the Outreach Committee to students in the field to introduce what family child care is and opportunities to be found there.
- Erikson research initiative on home-based child care support.
- Child Development Services on sharing materials to providers as part of CDS effort on community outreach to build understanding of CDS.
The Professional Learning Committee is building resources on the website that will be openly available for all providers. Following through on an early goal of FCCAM to establish a positive connection with Licensing, the PLC had their first conference call with Licensing Supervisors in July 2017.
The Public Policy Committee was also providing testimonies on multiple bills that would impact FCC, especially the proposed Family Child Care Licensing Rule. Further collaboration with MaineAEYC on Fall 2017 public policy forum brought a representative from NAFCC to Maine.
The founding members of FCCAM understood that if we could find a way to provide health insurance through our association that would be a huge support to fcc providers. We met in Sept. 2017 with Community Health Options from Maine and other entities to explore that possibility. We have continued to explore options for Health Care Insurance for providers understanding first hand the financial burden this is for many of us.
Our collaboration opportunities continue to grow:
- Maine Shared Services
- Signed as an Endorsing Member of Right from the Start
- Group Discussion with elected officials on importance of Policy in the professional field of Early Care and Education, CMCC
We are now a year in and time to reflect on what we have accomplished and direction moving forward.
- How is FCCAM supporting our profession within the state?
- Why are we doing what we are in collaboration and as a separate association?
- Where do we focus our energies?
- Mentoring program, policy resources, educate legislature on early ed issues
- Collect data on town codes for opening fcc
- Quarterly newsletter email to all fcc providers information
Working with other organizations has proven of value as we have been able to educate/inform them about what family child care looks like and it’s value to the total child care system in Maine. We have been able to share what fcc providers need as early childhood educators. There will be a long road ahead in this, but it’s beginning.
Nov. 2017, the PLC was having discussions on the possibility of having a statewide family child care providers CoP using conference calling technology. MRTQ PDN was able to bring this idea to reality in 2018. The statewide FCC CoP has been an active CoP since then and FCCAM has been present on it since the first meeting.
Public Policy began its work with MaineAEYC to bring senators /representatives into family child care programs around the state. Education of elected officials is very important for the development and passage of bills that provide support to child care providers in Maine.
Membership was growing, but providers were proving to be a hard group to convince that it’s important to join our voices so we are truly heard.
As we entered our second year (2018), we hoped to work more with CTE and higher education programs so that their instructional courses would include information about family child care.
Our Facebook page was growing to serve as that informational page so providers were aware of what was happening in the field on the local, state and national level.
The Professional Learning Committee continued to expand the website resources, developing the Business Toolkit. Work began on a new conference to be held in Oct., at York Community College Campus, while still engaged in others around the state. There is also a new CoP on First Steps to Family Child Care CoP being developed by MRTQ and FCCAM had been asked for a Board member to be present.
The Public Policy Committee reached out to Licensing to see if it would be possible to work on community forums to raise interest in becoming a fcc provider as well as for providers for open discussions.
FCCAM Board members are part of Maine’s Team for Strengthening FCC Quality Peer Learning national pilot.
Outreach sent out a Membership Relationship survey asking about how we can better support providers through making information more accessible, online training, advocacy, etc.
Nov. 2018 finds FCCAM adding PayPal invoices for membership payments and getting a Zoom account. Small changes, but provides more options for supporting providers. With Zoom available the PLC begins exploring how they can provide webinar training. A big part of this is the idea of forming Book Discussion Clubs around children’s picture books and professional books.
2019, finds FCCAM continuing to receive requests from other organizations to collaborate and to sign-on to letters. One of these was in support of Maine’s application to the Pritzker Children’s Initiative Prenatal-to-Age-Three State Grant.
Public Policy continues their independent and collaborative work reviewing and providing testimony on bills that impact ece directly, as well as child and families. FCCAM Vice Chair attended the DC Public Policy Forum as part of a Maine Team.
The PLC Book Discussion Clubs begin. FCCAM and MaineAEYC members receive free training certificates as part of our ongoing collaboration. We received our first grant from MRTQ PDN to support our work around building training for providers.
Outreach continues their work with CTE (Tech high schools) and higher ed.
NPR reached out for a conference call as part of their “Deep Dive” into child care in Maine in May, 2019. This call was to be on the decline in fcc providers. A second reporter reached out about licensing changes.
Maine’s B-5 Summit research group met in Brewer in April. This large stakeholders group, provided FCCAM the opportunity to speak up on the impact for family child care – raising awareness of the reality of how fcc can and will fit into this work.
The Board held its first annual membership meeting using zoom.
The new Early Advisory Council of the Children’s Cabinet is required to have 2 seats for family child care providers. It is also directed that nominations come from a state association that represents fcc providers. FCCAM nominated a provider from Skowhegan and a provider from Portland for these seats. These providers are members of FCCAM, but do not represent FCCAM holding these seats. They do however bring the voice of fcc to this advisory council. These seats are available because FCCAM pushed for this representation.
As we entered 2020, as a growing association, we reflected on our structure, changing needs, and the tools available to support our work. Communication within a statewide organization remains an ongoing concern to be as efficient as possible.
COVID-19 impacted the face to face work of FCCAM committees, but like so many others we adapted. The Professional Learning Committee offered trainings around books sent out as part of membership through zoom during afternoon traditional rest time to make it easier for providers to attend. Additional trainings were added to our 24/7 archived trainings.
The PLC began work on an early goal of developmenting a peer to peer coaching/mentoring program.
Members of FCCAM were interviewed for multiple media pieces on the impact of COVID-19 on family child care providers. It’s good to see family child care being recognized as an important part of Maine’s child care system.
Sadly, 2021 finds COVID-19 still having a strong impact on child care providers across Maine.
The Professional Learning Committee continues developing training. This year all training was opened for free viewing for all providers. Training certificates are still free for FCCAM and MaineAEYC members. The cost is still minimal for non-members.
The majority of the PLC work has been divided between the conferences coming to Maine this summer and fall and developing support materials around the new FCC Licensing Rule which went into effect May 27, 2021.
This 130th legislature has been busy, making up for the stoppage of 2020. The Public Policy Committee continues to provide testimony so legislators understand the impact of fcc providers. Our RFTS coalition work paid off when on July 12th Governor Mills signing LD 1712 into law. The work continues on other bills which are being held over.
It’s up to the family child care providers of Maine to see how this story continues…..
FCCAM’s Board is thankful for both our new members and those who show their continued support of this active association that focuses on family child care by renewing their memberships.