Posted in DHHS / OCFS

Additional ARPA Grant Application Help

OCFS provided a video review of what is needed by providers to complete this ARPA grant application. They also provided the powerpoint that formed the video, so providers could review it further. Members of FCCAM have watched the OCFS video and gone over the powerpoint slides. We have had discussions around questions asked previous to the application release. The following information is meant to further support providers as they work through this ARPA Grant application.


With the arrival of Sept 1, 2021, Maine’s ARPA Stabilization Grant Application is open for eligible providers to complete. There is not a rush to complete, because this grant application is available for all eligible providers. It is not limited to first come first served. Providers should have all the information they need at hand before they begin the application process.

Providers wishing to update their status after their initial application will be able to do so through self-reporting options. 


OCFS sent an earlier letter by regular mail to all providers with the information they would need for completing the first part of the application.

  • License Number/Resource ID: 
  • License Capacity: 
  • QRIS Level: 
  • CCSP Provider: 
  • Your program’s vendor code: 
  • Name listed on your license or CCSP licensed exempt non-relative provider name:
  • Program Payment Address: 

There are other eligibility requirements you want to be up to date on before applying.

  • All program staff must be active members in the Maine Roads to Quality Registry 
  • Licensed programs must be active in the Quality for ME Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) 
  • All owners, directors, and staff must have completed the State approved health and safety training within 90 days of hire

It is a federal requirement for states to require the within 90 days of hire. Questions have been asked about how this impacts those working longer than the 90 days. While we have not gotten clarification from OCFS beyond this, we have been recommending everyone complete the free on-demand class found on MRTQ PDN. While it is listed as a 6 hour training, many providers have found it takes less real time. It is also a training that is broken into sections that you proceed through as your time allows.

Any question with a red star is required. If you miss one when you go to “continue and review” your application it will flag what was missed.

License Capacity is not the children you currently have in care or even enrolled for care. It is the number listed on your license which applies a maximum number to the number of children you can directly be providing care for at any point in time.

With the current Licensing Rule, all family child care providers are now required to participate in Quality for ME (Maine’s QRIS program) and many have been moving up the Steps to take advantage of the current incentives, your Step level might be different from that provided in the letter from OCFS. List the Step level you have the most recent certificate for. For those that have still not completed this Licensing Rule requirement there is to be an option present that covers that. Here’s information to support QRIS sign up.

CCSP = subsidy

Any provider that received previous grant funds last year, participates in the subsidy program (CCSP), or has ever received payment from DHHS/OCFS you have a vendor code. It was on your letter, or you can get it from a payment receipt.

Questions or to apply for a Vender Code with OCFS, contact Vickie Bussey at (207) 624-7909 or Vickie.Bussey@maine.gov

The type of program is accessed through the dropdown tab at the right hand side for the question. Click the correct label for your program and it will auto fill the question.


FCCAM PLC asked OCFS: Are family child care providers classified as owner/director or are they considered more in line with staff when figuring staff bonus? OCFS response: Family child care are considered all of the above and are eligible for the staff bonuses. ~ From this answer family child care providers are to answer this section as owners. Then in the future staff section are to consider themselves as staff. Staff are those individuals who are paid and provide direct care to children.


To be eligible for this ARPA grant you need to be open and providing direct care by Sept. 1, 2021. If you meet this then you are eligible for the first installment of this grant in Oct. if you complete and submit the grant application by 5:00PM Thursday, September 30, 2021.

You will only need to complete the application once to participate in this grant.

Average enrollment is not necessarily your stated license capacity. You can have a higher enrollment than your stated capacity. This happens when providers take part-time care clients, B/A school clients, etc. It’s how many of us increase our income by juggling clients to have each of our capacity slots fully occupied. Example: licensed capacity of 10 vs enrollment of 14 children. 

Providers can estimate their current monthly expenses in different ways depending on your manner of record keeping. You might access last year’s tax records, your annual budget, or your last few months expense records.  Note* do not include the $, only numbers.


If you are looking for more clarity on what is allowed for these different areas FCCAM PLC has this resource explaining multiple of these areas. Major renovations are not allowed. Our research indications that you do not need new expenses to cover this money. You can cover your current general business expenses. You do need receipts however that indicate how you used the grant funds and they will need to be maintained for 5 years. They can be audited by the state as part of this grant program. The usage of the grant funds can replace your parent fees that generally are what you use to cover operating expenses and you can then use those parent fees however you wish. Here are some ways providers have told us they are looking at using grant money:

  • retirement,
  • replace equipment,
  • cover utilities,
  • facility maintenance,
  • facility improvement to improve program’s inclusive and accessible ability,
  • technology,
  • debt incurred,
  • cover mortgage,
  • health care insurance,
  • staff salary increase, and 
  • reduce family fees

OCFS has stated that providers can consider covering the following with grant funds:

  • Additional administrative expenses due to COVID-19  
  • COVID-19 testing and contact tracing –
  • Additional food cost due to COVID-19 
  • To prevent hardship due to closings in response to positive cases of COVID within programs or decreased enrollment 
  • Hazard pay or bonuses to staff 
  • Increased costs of staff recruitment, hiring, and retention including, but not limited to, staff sign-on bonuses, current staff bonuses, increased wages, hazard pay or back pay from March 11, 2021 
  • Grant funds may be used to support staff not eligible for the individual grant staff bonuses 

Reminder to family child care providers – you are to consider yourself “staff” as you provide direct care to children.

Staff also need to have joined the MRTQ PDN Registry.

The provider must follow all legal requirements for withholding/paying federal/state taxes for staff. They cannot be considered “staff” for this grant if paid under the table or if they work as an independent contractor.


If you missed a required answer it will be flagged when you click “continue to review”. 

Applicants will receive an email confirmation of receipt of application. Please retain for your records! OCFS will send award notices for all approved applications once processed. 

Grant funds are considered taxable income. Programs and/or individuals should contact their financial professional/accountant for questions regarding state and federal tax. 

For more information or questions, please contact ARPAChildCareGrants.DHHS@Maine.gov

Author:

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.