Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Required Evacuation Drills Clarification

Here’s the initial response: ANY type of emergency disaster drill counts…some options that could be practiced: shelter in place, lost child, simulated relocation (staff, NOT KIDS TRANSPORTED unsafely in cars), severe weather, unknown person/suspicious situation, coming inside due to an emergency, etc.

Here’s the clarification: The language of the Licensing Rule specifies a requirement for 2 evacuation drills in rule SECTION 14. ENVIRONMENT AND SAFETY /Q. Emergency preparedness plan / 2. The Provider must conduct an evacuation drill at least twice a year and the dates must be recorded and be available for review. (Same section for Facility Rule. Q/2 language: The Child Care Facility must conduct an evacuation drill at least twice a year and the dates must be recorded and be available for review. A simulated drill is acceptable.)

The key word is “evacuation“.

Shelter-in-place drills of any kind that do not include evacuation, do not meet the emergency drill needed for rule compliance.

Let’s look at this more:

  • You already do monthly fire drills with the smoke alarm.
  • You already have a running log for fire drills.
  • You need to add 2 noted Evacuation drills to that log.
  • Reminder: FCC Rule Section 5/A-5: A record of fire drills for the preceding three years must be available for inspection by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Public Safety, State Fire Marshal’s Office, and local fire inspectors.
  • For fire drills, you use different exits.

Practice any of the other types of safety drills you think would support the children, such as shelter-in-place, reverse evacuation, medical emergency and lost child. Log any Safety Drill you practice.

For evacuation drill:

  • Simulate it: practice the steps to gather and leave. Use the language specific to evacuation vs fire.
  • As part of your Emergency Preparedness Plan you should have multiple alternate sites you could evacuate to. It is recommended to have one you can walk to. For a walking site you could actually gather and leave your premises.
  • You are not required to transport children off the premises. If you do transport children as part of your program, you can practice transporting as part of your drill. If you do not transport, you can practice what loading everyone into a vehicle would be like in an emergency. Simulating this does not put any child in harms way as your vehicle is not running at any point. You just practice loading in, sitting still, and unloading. You could then pretend you are at the safe site and what would you do there?
Posted in Business Practice

That Staff Handbook……

There continues to be questions about the “Staff Handbook” required in the current Family Child Care Licensing Rule. The Professional Learning Committee has a variety of resources around staff available on this site. They can be found through the “Menu” under “Business Toolkit ” and “Licensing Rule (FCC)”.

Let’s start with the “Staff” part of the 3 checklists found in the “Licensing Rule (FCC)”. This list is the minimum required in the FCC Licensing Rule. For sole providers this can all be covered in your general Parent Handbook. You do not need a separate staff handbook that way. The purpose of the Staff Handbook is to be sure responsibilities are clearly stated for staff. The Staff Handbook does not need to be shared with your parents. For these with Staff you may also find you have this covered in your Parent Handbook. If so, copy it for your separate Staff Handbook.

Policies and implementation required:
i. Mandated reporting,
ii. Child guidance,
iii. Child illness,
iv. Fire drill procedures,
v. Emergency and disaster procedures,
vi. Staff Member qualifications and training,
vii. Supervision of Staff Members/interns
viii. Reporting licensing violations,
ix. Inclusionary practices for Children with disabilities,
x. Safe sleep policy,
xi. Serious injury and Child death reporting,
xii. Expulsion and suspension prevention,
xiii. Interpretation for English Language Learners,
xiv. Release of Children, and
xv. Transportation of Children (if applicable).
A personnel record must be kept for all Staff Members.
a. Name, current street and mailing address, birth date and current telephone number;
c. Dates of employment and termination of Staff Members. Reasons for termination must be kept in the personnel record for a minimum of one year;
d. A statement signed and dated by each Staff Member certifying that the most current licensing rule has been read and understood;
e. A statement signed and dated by each Staff Member, certifying that the Provider ‘s personnel policies, admission policies, and Parent handbook have been read and understood;
f. Documentation of any disciplinary action;
g.Documentation of completed background checks in the form of a Provider Letter of Eligibility, issued by the Department, that specifies the Staff Member is Eligible for employment.
The Provider must document all orientation and training of all Staff Members by proof of completion from a qualified on-line or in-person source.
Staff Members must be properly immunized and provide documentation of immunizations to the Provider.
Staff members must receive written instructions regarding Child Abuse or Neglect reporting that contains a summary of the State of Maine Child abuse reporting statute and a statement that they will not be discharged or disciplined solely because they have made a Child Abuse or Neglect report.
Immunization records must be maintained to ensure proper medical treatment is determined and given in the event of a disease outbreak or public health emergency.

On this website, the “Business Toolkit” is where you will find most of the resources you want for both parent and staff agreements. For parents go to the landing page to start. For staff go directly to the drop down menu.

The “Staff Contract/Handbook” contains just about everything a small family child care owner needs to support hiring, staff meetings, contractual language and complying with the FCC Licensing Rule for a Staff Handbook around program policies. Language samples runs from a simple 1 page policy awareness and signature to sections that cover everything in more detail. As each program is unique, you will have to do some clicking and scanning of the shared resources the PLC has gathered from a variety of providers to find what works best for you. Adjust to meet your specific needs.

Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information, MRTQ-PDN

What’s Important About “SHORTcuts”?

All child care providers, whether they are licensed-exempt, FCC providers, center directors or any child care staff are required under the active Licensing Rules for FCC and Facilities to join the state’s Registry that MRTQ PDN handles. Part of being on the registry means you will receive “SHORTScuts” a weekly e-newsletter. It usually hits inboxes on Wednesdays.

Why should you care if it’s in your spam box or not?

Most of us get too many emails to deal with as busy providers. With our limited time to do required and recommended record keeping, when checking emails it’s just so easy to trash ones we see as unimportant to our daily work. And the ones already in the spam box are really easy to ignore. You want to check out SHORTScuts before you trash it. Yes, it’s a longer email, but you can quickly scroll through it only stopping at items of interest.

The weekly SHORTScuts is the best place to see what is happening in the wider ece field for trainings. MRTQ PDN has the ability to gather resources on training opportunities that no other organization or agency in Maine does. With SHORTScuts they have pulled together news about local, state and national training opportunities. If you see a training opportunity of interest you can easily access more information from the link buttons included in the descriptions. They also share informational updates, usually at the beginning of the e-newsletter.

Still don’t think you’ll have time to deal with checking your email for this weekly e-newsletter? That’s ok. MRTQ PDN has the publications from March 2020 to the latest SHORTScut e-newsletter on their website. You can always just go there.

The weekly SHORTScuts e-newsletter comes from: Be sure to adjust your email’s recognition of this, so the email doesn’t sit in your spam box.

Posted in DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information

Maine’s Child Care Plan

material from September 2021 Updates for the Child Care Plan for Maine ~~~

FCCAM PLC has pulled sections that we feel providers need to be aware of as they may impact your small business. You can read the complete seven page plan: Child Care Plan for Maine.

“Maine recognizes the importance of quality, accessible, affordable child care to support working families. The benefit of quality child care is multifold – it supports working parents to provide for their families while children benefit educationally, socially, and emotionally from a caring, nurturing environment. From an economic perspective, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston states, “Research demonstrates child care problems lower worker productivity and cost U.S. employers and working parents billions of dollars annually. Furthermore, job stability and family income directly affect a child’s social, physical, and emotional health.” This Child Care Plan for Maine summarizes the system landscape pre-pandemic and the supports implemented to providers and families during the pandemic. Our focus then turns to recovery and the strategies that will be implemented to support Maine families, children, and child care providers toward a sustainable recovery and brighter future. This plan contains updates based on Federal guidance and the State’s disbursement of funds since May.”

Initiatives implemented beginning in state fiscal year 2021:

  • Providers participating in the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP):
    • Receive a weekly stipend of $100 per infant on CCSP.
    • Receive a 10% quality bump payment for infants and toddlers served through CCSP.
  • OCFS, in an attempt to boost the recruitment and retention of early child care educators, began:
    • Covering the cost of licensing fees for both family child care providers and facilities.
    • Offering several quality awards in partnership with Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN) with new Registry member awards, newly licensed mini-grants, moving up a quality level award, reimbursement for the cost of accreditation, and maintaining accreditation mini-grants.
    • Partnering with Maine Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) to create TEACH scholarship program.
  • OCFS also began efforts to enhance the Child Care Choices website to improve the availability and accessibility of information about providers for families who may be seeking child care.
1 Total includes camps, CCSP licensed exempt resources, child care facilities and family child care providers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immense impact on the national child care system, however the numbers in Maine’s are more positive. “As of September 2021, Maine has 96% of the pre-COVID licensed programs open and operating. In addition, the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) has seen a steady increase in total families and children receiving CCSP over the last four months. Currently 3,013 families representing 4,596 children are served by the program.”

Stabilization and support of providers has occurred (and continues) through multiple funding sources:

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, May of 2020, Maine received $10.9 million in CCDBG funding

  • grants provided directly to providers to cover COVID-19 related costs and build capacity,
  • providing child care subsidy for essential workers (regardless of income eligibility)
  • waiving parent fees for low income families receiving traditional CCSP

Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), August of 2020 the Governor allocated $8.4 million

  • grants provided reimbursement to providers for COVID-19 related business expenses (through December of 2020 totaled $2,176,464)

Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRRSA) Act, March of 2021, Maine received $30.5 million in CCDBG funding through CRRSA Act.

OCFS allocated 75% of the funding directly to child care providers through quarterly grants payments. The last payment will be December 2021. Remaining funds were used to expand professional development for providers through the Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ) Professional Development Network (PDN) system, provide mental health and social emotional learning support to children and providers through the Early Childhood Consultation Program (ECCP), waiving copayments for CCSP families through 9/30/22, and reimbursing CCSP providers based on enrollment.

CRRSA funds will also be utilized to establish a Statewide Apprenticeship Program for Child Care Providers, provide Mini-grants and awards for achieving or maintaining accreditation, and/or for completing one of the Maine Credentials (Director, Infant Toddler, Inclusion, Youth Development).

American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), Maine has received an additional $121.9 million through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). The ARP child care funds will be broken up into three sections.

  • Discretionary – $45,752,460
  • Stabilization Subgrants – $73,176,466
  • Match- $2,984,281

Maine has chosen to use funds to support the entire child care delivery system through short-term stabilization and recovery as well as long-term growth and system improvement (subject to change with guidance from ACF). FCCAM PLC has pulled out some parts of the plan we know will directly impact providers:

  • ARPA Child Care Stabilization Grants (for all programs offering care as of Sept. 2021, and on an ongoing rolling basis) monthly payments from October 2021 to September 2022.
  • Waive child care licensing fees for 2 years to support new and existing child care providers
  • Supply a one-time $2,000 stipend (available from 7/1/21-9/30/23) to newly licensed family child care providers focused on increasing access to child care for families in rural and gap areas.
  • Waive Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) parent fees for families at or below 60% of State Median Income to support low income families until 9/30/23
  • Provide a 35% weekly increase of reimbursement to child care providers who take subsidy and are serving children with special needs
  • Reimburse CCSP based on enrollment for 2½ years
  • Translate CCSP materials into identified languages for both families and providers
  • Increase child care quality payments to 3%, 10%, 15% (per QRIS levels) for 2-years to support an increase in high quality programs
  • Build child care information system onto Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System CCWIS
  • Invest in Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) online screening tool for child care providers to screen and refer children to early intervention when delays in development are detected
  • Provide Second Step curriculum for child care to support social emotional learning
  • Expand Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) to measure outcomes in child care and incentive program participation with $500 per program

“In addition to the ARPA funds, OCFS will continue to support child care through ongoing efforts, including the infant/toddler stipend, workforce development through the TEACH scholarship, technical assistance through Maine Roads to Quality, and other efforts.”

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Interpretation for English Language Learners

The Professional Learning Committee continues to review the FCC and Facility Licensing Rules as part of gathering resources to support providers. As part of this review we hit upon the requirement in the staff handbook that requires interpretation for English Language Learners.

This is not an area we have seen providers raising many questions about, but are also not seeing it addressed in policies we are seeing. We are wondering if providers have not picked up on it, as we had not in our previous readings of the Licensing Rule?

The diversity of Maine’s communities, whether urban or rural, continues to grow. This diversity is also being seen in the child care workforce, whether it’s staff or new programs being opened. With community changes providers are seeing the diversity of the children in care changing. The question becomes how we as small business owners address this diversity within our programs. Providing the service of child care we know that working with the child’s family is a major part of that we do. We want our client families to understand we are open to working together. Add in that best business practice tells us we should address our working practices within our policies. The PLC reached out to MRTQ PDN DC Marnie Morneault to discuss concerns of English Language Learners and some of the impact on providers and programs. As part of this discussion Licensing was also asked to clarify if the interpretation requirement was just for staff, as that was the only place we found it clearly required. Their response was that interpretation covered more than staff. It covered our work with children and communication with their parents/legal guardians. With this clarity the PLC felt it was important to provide sample language providers could use in their handbook covering interpretation.

The question became: “How do we make it clear that we welcome diversity and meet interpretation needs for English Language Learners (ELLs)?”

You might also see or be familiar with ELLs being referred to as: limited English proficient (LEP), Dual Language Learners (DLLs), home language, or primary language. In the past English as Second Language (ESL) was commonly used. That has changed with the recognition that many who are learning English already speak several other languages, so English would not be a “second” language.

What is language interpreting and translation?

Language interpreting is the conversion of one spoken language into another, where translation covers written language. Interpreting and translation also apply to the context of signed languages and tactile writing systems like Braille.

Looking beyond the child considering a child’s parents and/or your staff, they may have good conversational fluency in English, but may not be able to understand, discuss or read information proficiently in English. They may be reluctant to request or accept professional interpreting and translation services due to fear of costs, inconvenience, or concerns about confidentiality. We felt these barriers needed to be consider in development of policy language. Providers may already be addressing inclusion within a number of policies around children’s rights, parental communications, their program’s curriculum meeting individual child needs. Through continuing discussion specifically around language, the PLC thought it made sense for providers to add in simple, specific language that clearly mentioned working with English Language Learners. Working with Marnie we have 2 language versions that should meet that need.

If you have your handbook all updated for the new Licensing Rule, you can add this language as an addendum. If you print off your handbook you can now print off this language as a separate sheet and hand it out to parents. If you do your handbook online, it’s easier to make changes in the set-up. Make the change and then send an email with the link, verbally tell and/or note on your parent information board.

English Language Learners Policy (Families):

At ___ childcare we accept learners from all ethnic backgrounds.  The primary language we communicate in is ____.  If you communicate more comfortably in another language, please let us know.  We will make every effort to make our materials and communications accessible for you in your home language.  We will also incorporate your child’s language and culture into our visuals and communications as much as possible. 

English Language Learners Policy (Staff):

At ____childcare we employ staff from all ethnic backgrounds.  The primary language we communicate in is ______.  If you communicate more comfortably in another language, please let us know.  We will make every effort to make our materials and communications accessible for you in your home language.  

Additional resources for providers looking for more information on this topic:

Dual Language Learners: Considerations and Strategies (Head Start/ECLKC)

Dual Language Learners Resources | Early Childhood  (The National Center on Early Childhood Development)

Planned Language Approach: Tips for Getting Started (Head Start/ECLKC)

Posted in Uncategorized

Maine Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) ~ Child Mental Health

This past year has brought the topic of mental health, especially for young children, front and center.

What is Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation? 

It’s a collaboration between a professional consultant with early childhood mental health expertise and one or more caregivers, typically an early care and education provider and/or family member. In a family child care setting a mental health consultation aims to improve the ability of the provider and staff to prevent, identify, treat and reduce the impact of mental health problems among all children from birth to age 8 in their program or for a specific child. The child’s family is also supported in this consultation model.

There has been ongoing work in Maine to find ways to support young children in their social and emotional growth. We now have the Maine Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) which is funded and managed by the State of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services. With ECCP Masters level consultants work with child care providers/directors, principals, teachers, and parents to identify strengths and find strategies which will promote positive outcomes for young children. 

Maine Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) is now providing support, education, and consultation services at no cost in the following counties:

  • Androscoggin 
  • Aroostook 
  • Cumberland 
  • Franklin 
  • Hancock 
  • Kennebec 
  • Oxford 
  • Penobscot 
  • Washington 
  • York 

The service level is based on the needs of the individual child or program seeking the service. ECCP is not therapy. Services may last for 14 weeks for classroom/program service. For the child-specific service it lasts about 10 hours over 6 weeks and provides a brief behavioral screening of the child. ECCP then provides ideas/strategies on what might help the adults and the child. If needed, ECCP can help families get any additional resources that may be needed or helpful.

If you have a child who may be experiencing anxiety, behavioral challenges, poor social skills, or is at risk of suspension or expulsion from your childcare setting you may want to reach out and complete a referral to ECCP.  It’s important to know that this service isn’t just for behavioral concerns. A child may also be experiencing a stressful event such as the birth of a sibling, parental separation, loss of a family member, or a community stressor such as a storm, flood, etc. Consultation topics may also cover such areas as: creating a positive classroom/program culture, or building effective partnerships with families.

Who Can Make a Referral? 

Referral for the Core Classroom services is made by the provider.  Referral for the child-specific service can be made by parents, and/or provider. ECCP is completely voluntary, which can begin and end if you wish. The child’s parents must provide consent for any child-specific service to happen.

For more information or to make a referral contact:

Amy Beaulieu, LCSWMaine / ECCP® Program Manager / Office of Child & Family Services / 2 Anthony Avenue / 11 State House Station / Augusta, ME 04333 / / Ph: (207) 624-7900 / Toll free: 1-877-680-5866

A 1-1/2 hr informational webinar recorded on February 1, 2021 for childcare providers, early childhood educators, and other interested community members describing the Maine ECCP® program and services to be offered can be viewed on YouTube

Posted in FCCAM

FCCAM’s Story

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.

FCCAM starts an Instagram acct and Pinterest Boards.

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.

Interested in joining FCCAM and adding to the story? Click HERE!

Posted in Business Practice, Opening a FCC

What’s It Mean to be a Family Child Care Provider?

The answer to that question is as varied as family child care providers are, but we do have a common foundation.

We know that family child care providers are in this business because of the children, but it’s more than just taking children into our homes. Family child care providers are first and foremost small business owners. We have chosen this career path to financially provide for ourselves and our families. If you question if we qualify as a small business, look at the process we all go through to open and to remain open. The regulations are covered in our 62 page FCC Licensing Rule that we must meet. These minimum health and safety regulations cover everything from how to store breast milk, to the annual professional development we need, to the temperature we need to maintain within our program.

As successful small business owners it is essential to build a business plan, look at branding and marketing, and cover benefits like health insurance and retirement. Without considering how we will run our small business we cannot do what we opened our doors to: support children and their development.

The purpose of our small business qualifies us as early childhood education and care professionals. When most hear “educator” they immediately think of public school teachers, but educator has a broader meaning: a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue. Family child care providers, in fact all in the child care workforce, are educators.

Family child care providers are more than just educators.

We are…..

Food service managers:

  • Order food and beverages, equipment, and supplies
  • Oversee food preparation, portion sizes, and the overall presentation of food
  • Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas
  • Ensure that employees comply with health and food safety standards

Property managers:

  • Keep the property in safe and habitable condition.
  • Responsible for the physical management of the property, including regular maintenance and emergency repairs.
  • Quality improvement efforts

First aid responders:

  • Specialized training
  • First to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency, such as an accident, or natural disaster


  • Perform payroll functions in an accurate and timely manner, and submit payroll taxes
  • Conduct reconciliation of all accounts on an as needed basis
  • Maintain and balance the general ledger in an accurate, complete, and up-to-date manner
  • Perform all activities related to the accounts payable function
  • Perform account receivable functions including invoicing, deposits, collections, and revenue recognition
  • Prepare financial reports through collection, analysis, and summarization of data

Housekeepers and house cleaners:

  • Dusting, vacuuming, sweeping and mopping the floors in all rooms.
  • Cleaning the bathrooms, including mirrors, toilets, showers and baths.
  • Cleaning the kitchen, including wiping down appliances, counters, sinks and cabinet doors.
  • Washing and drying dishes and putting them away.
  • Changing bed linens and making the beds.
  • Washing, folding clothes.
  • Cleaning interior windows.
  • Removing garbage and recycling.
  • Restocking personal items such as toilet paper, tissues, etc.
  • General tidying of the rooms. This includes putting away toys, decluttering and light organizing.
  • Running errands.
  • Caring for pets.

We might also be employers and be responsible for all the tasks involved with hiring, training, evaluating, and firing.

Most importantly we are educators!


  • Maintain a safe and comfortable environment
  • Provide age-appropriate active supervision and behavior guidance
  • Develop schedules and enforce routines
  • Plan and implement lessons
  • Observe, gather and document child’s growth and behavior
  • Gather and communicate observations with child’s parent/legal guardian, providing supporting resources as appropriate
  • Address cultural and/or special needs. This includes emotional, physical or educational. Let’s just look at food for a couple of examples: If a child has a food allergy, the provider must be aware of the content of the food the child is offered or is eating. / If a child’s culture or religion doesn’t allow certain foods we offer acceptable substitutes.

As family child care providers we have chosen an incredible career. It is both challenging and rewarding. When someone asks “What do you do for work?” Proudly answer: “I’m a small business owner. ~ I’m an early childhood educator and care professional. ~ I operate a licensed family child care business.”

Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information

Are You Using Go NAPSACC? Maine’s Free ECE Online Health and Nutrition Tool

Go NAPSACC makes it easier than ever to give the children in your program a start in developing healthy habits.

Programs use Go NAPSACC to improve their practices, policies and environments in these seven areas:

  • Child Nutrition:
    • Foods & Beverages Provided
    • Feeding Environment & Practices
    • Menus & Variety
  • Breastfeeding & Infant Feeding:
    • Breastfeeding Environment & Support Practices
    • Infant Foods Provided & Feeding Practices
  • Farm to ECE:
    • Local Foods Provided
    • Gardening
  • Oral Health:
    • Toothbrushing
    • Foods & Beverages Provided
    • Teacher Practices
  • Infant & Child Physical Activity:
    • Time Provided
  • Indoor Play Environment:
    • Daily Practices
  • Outdoor Play & Learning:
    • Outdoor Playtime & Play Environment
  • Screen Time:
    • Availability
    • Daily Practices

Go NAPSACC walks providers through the following 5 step process as they look at how to improve their program to support the development of healthy habits for the children in their care. You can work on one or multiple areas at a time. This 5 step process works as a loop that allows for continual review and growth of policy and best practices.

Maine is a partner state with Go NAPSACC, so for providers in Maine to get started you go to:

  • Once there you will click on the green JOIN TODAY button on the upper right-hand corner of your screen.
  • Click “continue” under the blue Directors and Owners option.
  • Use registration code: 089vb5tt0le2x2z

Once you have joined Go NAPSACC you can log back in at any time. Remember this resource works because it allows you to continually access and grow your practices around healthy habits.

For more information contact Marissa White, Program Assistant at MCD Public Health / / 207-622-7566 ext230

Posted in ECE Information

Spotting the Early Signs of Autism?

This post is sharing some resources that the PLC came across as we gathered material to respond to a provider’s request for materials that could be shared with parents around Autism. Providers are encouraged to check out the links shared here to increase their own awareness of early signs of autism, as well as, for sharing with the appropriate families of children in their care.

These resources are from the National Autism Association (NAA).

For providers we recommend you head right to the “About Autism” section and begin your exploration at: SPOT ASD by 3

“Anyone can help S.P.O.T. autism early by remembering these four signs:

  • S. Social Differences
    Avoiding eye contact; not showing interest in other children; unusual play patterns; no pretend play
  • P. Persistent Sensory Differences
    Persistently getting upset over everyday sounds; over or under reacting to lights, smells, tastes, textures
  • O. Obsessive/Repetitive Behaviors
    Flapping hands; rocking back & forth; having obsessive interests in a particular object or activity
  • T. Talking/Communication Delays
    Little to no babbling by 12 months; not saying a single word by 16 months; may appear deaf; loss of previous verbal skills or language

download the S.P.O.T. resource sheet (shown above) for a full list of early signs

The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised, with Follow-Up™ (M-CHAT-R/F) FREE DOWNLOAD!!!

Be REDy Booklet is a free, downloadable toolkit containing resources to help caregivers prevent and respond to wandering incidents.

 First Signs, Next Steps Toolkit – toolkit for parents who are concerned about their child’s development, navigating evaluations, diagnosis and establishing services.

The Autism Society of Maine provides education and resources to support the valued lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and their families in Maine.