With the sharing of the resources found in the “Business Toolkit”, FCCAM is not rendering legal or tax advice. If you require more specific assistance, consult a legal or tax preparation professional to represent you.
*** Ignore the “Request Access” button when you go to copy or download any template/samples from FCCAM’s Google Drive. Download from the “File” section of the menu. You will be able to adapt as you need from your personal copy.
Your Contract / Policy Handbook / and Emergency Preparedness Plan make up your “Care Agreement”.
- The Licensing Rule has requirements around what is to be included in your Contract, Policy Handbook and Emergency Preparedness Plan.
- You may include additional items that support your individual small business.
- It is good practice to include additional information at the beginning of your Care Agreement, that covers such topics as: Confidentiality, Invalid Provisions, Modifications, and Waivers.
- Consider how or where you will be composing and hosting your Care Agreement before you put the work into its development. You are allowed to have your Care Agreement online/icloud, website, hard copy, or a mix of these avenues.
Please note that the current FCC Licensing Rule uses “Child’s Parent/Legal Guardian” to replace parent/mother/father/family. Today’s families take many shapes and this language change covers the individual(s) with the legal responsibility for a child.
In operating a small business, you have the right to run your business as you wish, as long as complying with the current Licensing Rule for your program, and local community regulations.
A “Contract” is understood to cover what services money is being paid to cover and is legally enforceable in court. While you can make changes at any time to your contract, any change must be in writing and signed by both parties.
Your financial agreement is the only item that is legally enforceable in court.
A formal Financial Agreement is required for every client. The FCC Licensing Rule requires 2 copies with complete signatures on both. 1 for parent(s)/legal guardian(s) to have and 1 for provider’s records.
1) Registration Form which is the required Child’s record.
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. Remember to include a Child’s Parent/Legal Guardian’s right to deny usage.
3) Release Authorization for Non-Guardian Pick-up – this can include the required emergency evacuation reunification
4) Authorization to Dispense Medication (prescription and non-prescription)
5) Emergency Medical Care release – include names and telephone numbers for child’s family physician and dentist. Many provider’s include this on the Registration form.
6) Health Record/ Immunizations – The State of Maine requires a copy of a child’s official immunization record be kept on site. Or a note from a doctor stating that medical contradictions exist. Include any allergies and other health conditions with health plan on the health record.
7) Injury reports, including serious injury or death reports. As of 12/15/2021: Any injury or illness which requires medical attention from a physician or other medical personnel, including, but not limited to, an emergency room visit and/or hospitalization, including those that are the result of an accident involving transportation to or from a facility sponsored event; or any illness which is a notifiable condition, as identified by the Department is to be reported to your Child Care Licensing Specialist, and no longer needs to be reported to the Child Protective Services Intake line.
8) Use of High-Risk Activity and Equipment Usage
9) Sunscreen application permission
10) Field trips permission – this includes whenever children leave the premises, even walking
11) Child’s Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) 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.
Combine the items that require signatures, cover areas of potential liability, and need to be maintained in a child’s file with the Financial Agreement into a: “Contractual Packet“. Any record pertinent to a child must be maintained for 3 years after their discharge from care. (This includes if you close your program.)
Maine DHHS OCFS Sample Child Care Contract (PDF). This state example combines some items providers often have as part of a Policy Handbook.
Program’s Policy Handbook:
As with your contract, you can make changes at any time. Changes in your policies do not need to be through written notice or require signatures. However, for any major change it’s best practice to get a signature indicating a Child’s Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s)’ awareness of the change.
Information about the operation of your program is required to be shared with the child’s parent(s)/legal guardian(s) at the time of admission. The easiest way to do this is through your Policy Handbook. The clearer your policies and procedures are the less room for conflict and the more professional image your small business presents.
The following list covers what is required by the May 2022 FCC Licensing Rule. Items can be grouped together.
- Unlimited Access (while child in attendance)
- Communication practices
- Child guidance practices
- Child rights
- Expulsion and suspension practices
- Release of children to non-custodial caregivers
- Mandated reporting
- Management childhood illnesses
- Serious injury and child death reporting
- Safe sleep
- Field trips and Transportation
- High Risk activities
- Ages program serves and licensed capacity
- Hours of operation and daily schedule
- Program focus/philosophy
- Services program offers
- Vacation/closure dates and policy
- resources for developmental screenings
- Interpretation for English Language Learners
- Staff qualifications and trainings (if applicable)
- Supervision of Staff/Interns (if applicable)
- Swimming activities (if applicable)
- Outside activity policy
While the required policies cover health and safety you might wish to cover additional practices, such as conflict resolution, bug repellent, clothing needs, in your handbook.
Maine DHHS OCFS Sample Parent Handbook Outline (PDF) provides an example of a possible flow.
Emergency Preparedness Plan (Emergency/Disaster Response Plan)
- Evacuation, including a designated relocation site and evacuation route
- Lockdown of the residence and/or shelter-in-place
- Procedures for notifying Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s)
- Procedures to address the needs of individual Children including Children with special needs
- Coordination with local emergency management officials
- Guidelines for the continuation of child care in the period following the emergency or disaster
Emergency Preparedness Plan and Response Handbook for natural disasters and human-caused events sample. This sample includes handbook, parent letters, and reunification form.
Programs are required to hold monthly fire safety drills using a real alarm and alternate exit routes and 2 yearly emergency evacuation drills. 3 years of Safety Drill Records (state record sample) are to be kept on site. Licensing has confirmed: Shelter-in-place drills of any kind that do not include evacuation, do not meet the emergency drill needed for rule compliance. (Informational post)
For Providers with Staff you will find Staff specific resources in its own section: Staff Contract/Handbook.
Required Policy and Records Checklists: (*we cannot guarantee that it is all inclusive.) We continue to encourage providers to read the current Licensing Rule.
- General Policies and Records
- Child Abuse/Neglect Policy
- Child’s Record
- Personnel Records
- EPPlan – Emergency Preparedness Plan
For providers who are FCCAM Class A members there is also the “Everything Notebook” to help you management records, licensing compliance, etc. You have access to both a digital and hard copy version through the Class A Members’ Only section.
If you are thinking about sharing your Care Agreement on a dedicated business website here are 2 examples: Bouncing Bubbles Child Care (private FCC provider) and Growing Together Child Care (FCCAM generated sample FCC business).
You can modify any of these resources for your own use. If sharing with others, please be sure to credit FCCAM and link to the website page directly when possible. Please do not distribute any resources found here for profit.