This Business ToolKit has been developed to provide family child care providers with a go to place for resource links, tips and templates to support the business end of strong, professional, sustainable family child care programs. We will continue to both add to and update the resources shared here to provide the most timely materials possible. Please do not distribute any resources found here for profit. You can modify and print for your own use. All templates/samples are view only access, which allows you to copy or download the template/samples as is. You will then be able to adapt as you need. Here’s a way to copy directly into the Google Drive connected to a gmail account.
With the sharing of these resources, FCCAM is not rendering legal or tax advice. All material here is being shared to support your business practices and work with children. If you require more specific assistance, please consult a legal or tax preparation professional to represent you.
For those just getting started or thinking about entering this rewarding field start by checking out our posts on Starting a Family Child Care (Part 1: licensing, Part 2: business plan, and Part 3: equipment).
Running a family child care, means you will need to have a Care Agreement. The current FCC Licensing Rule requires some specific materials to be included in both your contract and handbook. It also requires that the Child’s Parents/Legal Guardians sign off that they have been provided with these materials. This can be overwhelming, but you do not have to start from scratch. The Professional Learning Committee of FCCAM has worked to pull together language samples and forms that meet Maine’s current Family Child Care Licensing Rule requirements. These materials are free for all providers to access, copy and adjust to meet their individual program needs.
For our purposes your “Care Agreement” is composed material from the following 3 areas:
Contract – the legal document that spells out the hours and days you will provide care in exchange for money paid by the responsible client. Any change to a written contract must be in writing and signed by both parties.
Policy Handbook – contains all the policies and procedures about how your program will operate (sick policy, meal policy, activities, behavior guidance, etc.). For any change in your policies you also notify clients, but it does not need to be written notice or require signatures.
Emergency Preparedness Planning – for natural disasters and human-caused events, including but not limited to, fire drills. Includes handbook, parent letters, reunification form….. (also called an Emergency/Disaster Response Plan)
Before you put the work into development consider how or where you will be composing and hosting your contract, handbook and Emergency Preparedness Plan. You are allowed to handle all this online/icloud, website or in hard copy. You might decide to use a mix of these avenues.
Please note the usage of “Child’s Parent/Legal Guardian” to replace parent/ mother/ father. Today’s families take many shapes and this language covers all those with the legal responsibility of a child. This usage aligns with the language used in the FCC Licensing Rule.
Let’s start with your Contract…
You have the right to run your business as you wish, as long as complying with the current Licensing Rule for FCC. You can make changes at any time to your contract. Just be sure you inform the Child’s Parent/Legal Guardian of these changes and get their signature stating their awareness.
A contract is understood to cover what services money is being paid to cover and is legally enforceable in court.
Financial Agreement – make 2 copies getting complete signatures on both (1 for guardian to have and 1 for your records). Licensing requires all records being kept on file for 3 years following last date of care.
While the following items are not about money for your services and can be included within your handbook, they do cover areas of potential liability for a family child care provider. For this reason you might decide to maintain them as a part of a “Contractual Packet”.
1)Registration Form** which is required to include:
- Child’s name, birth date, street address and mailing address;
- Name, street address, mailing address and telephone number of the child’s parent/ legal guardians; * it has been suggested to use #1 and #2 for denoting child’s parent/ legal guardian
- Places of employment, telephone number, and street address of the child’s guardians’ employers;
- Method of contacting the guardians while the child is in care;
- Name, street address and telephone number of an emergency contact other than the guardians, for use in the event of an emergency, if the parents cannot be reached;
- Dates of enrollment and termination;
- Names, addresses and telephone numbers of the child’s physician;
- Written authorization to obtain emergency medical care for the child
2) Permission to Use a Child’s Likeness – Most think this is just about social media., but it includes any usage of a child’s likeness anywhere by you. That includes within your space for indicating cubbies, or a program’s friends bulletin board. Also include a Child’s Parent/Legal Guardian’s right to deny usage.
4) Authorization to Dispense Medication (prescription and non-prescription)
5) Health Record/ Immunizations** – The State of Maine requires a copy of a child’s official immunization record be kept on site. Or a signed letter stating your religious or philosophical reasons. (As of Sept 2021 this waiver will no longer exist.) Or a note from a doctor stating that medical contradictions exist. As a private business you can also decide whether you wish to follow this or require immunizations for a child to attend your program.
6) Your Use of High-Risk Equipment includes a signature form for use of play equipment at your program.
7) Child’s Parent/Legal Guardian Signature form – indicates that all legal guardians of the child have been informed of the Licensing Rule requirements and how your program has met them
Moving on to your Program’s Handbook …
This as your policies and procedures. While Maine requires some policies, you are welcome to add as many others as you want to explain what your services will cover and your expectations of families. The clearer your policies and procedures are the less room for conflict with client families. The more professional image your small business presents. As with your contract, you can make changes at any time. For major changes it’s a good idea to get a signature indicating a Child’s Parent/Legal Guardian’s awareness of the change.
The 2017 FCC Licensing Rule requires that the provider has shared the following information with the child’s guardian at the time of admission. The easiest way to do this is through your policy handbook.
- Child guidance practices
- Expulsion and suspension practices
- Management of child illness
- Release of children to non-custodial caregivers
- Mandated reporting
- Serious injury and child death reporting
Check out our everything you can think of folder for sample language for other areas it is recommended you consider including in your handbook
Emergency Preparedness Plan and Response Handbook for natural disasters and human-caused events, including but not limited to, fire drills.
TIP: Include the forms denoted by ** with your emergency notebook/travel bag . They are important to have on hand if you need to leave your program with children in care because of an emergency.
The Licensing Rule also requires that a variety of records be maintain on site. Any record pertinent to a child must be maintained for 3 years after their discharge from care. These records include the following:
- Immunization records
- Serious injuries and reportable incidents sustained by the child while in care, recorded on the same day of the injury and including the date and time of the notification of a parent, signed by the parent within 24 hours of the incident; Developmental Assessments
- Complete record if suspected child abuse or neglect is reported to the Department’s child protective intake
These program records are also to be maintained on site for 3 years:
- Daily attendance list that includes: all children served; including the arrival and departure time for each child; work time for provider and staff
- Record of fire drills, available for inspection by the Maine Department of Public Safety, Office of the State Fire Marshal and local fire inspectors.
For Providers with Staff you will find Staff specific resources in its own section: Staff Contract/Handbook.
For those that want even more information on wider topics that pertain to sustainable business practice, we have gathered additional resources. These can be found in the drop-down menu of the Business Tool Kit.
If there are additional areas you would appreciate having templates/sample language for please contact us at: email@example.com.