This Business ToolKit has been developed to provide family child care providers with resource links, tips and templates to support the business end of strong, professional, sustainable family child care programs. The included language samples and forms meet (or exceed) 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. All templates/samples are view only, ignore the “Request Access” button and just 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.
What we refer to as a “Care Agreement” is composed of 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.
When you develop your policies remember to be clear, flexible and do not worry over the length of your handbook. While you can change your handbook at any time, it is better to cover all possible events or issues up front. Your handbook is a strong reflection of your professionalism.
You do not need to provide a hardcopy to potential clients. You can provide a hardcopy once they are registered. If you maintain your Care Agreement online you are in a position to provide the appropriate url/links to both potential and current client families for your handbook.
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)
It is good practice to include additional information at the beginning of the Care Agreement. This opening covers such topics as: Confidentiality, Invalid Provisions and Modifications.
Before you put the work into development consider how or where you will be composing and hosting your Care Agreement. You are allowed to handle all this online/icloud, website or in hard copy. You might decide to use a mix of these avenues.
Providers have been asking for checklists that break out required policies and records that need to be maintained. We have built the following Required Policy and Records Checklists: (note 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
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 covers all those with the legal responsibility of a child.
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.
Your financial agreement is the only item that legally enforceable in court.
Financial Agreement / Current FCC Licensing Rule requires 2 copies with complete signatures on both. 1 for parent/legal guardian to have and 1 for provider’s records. Licensing requires a formal financial agreement for every client family.
While the following items are not about money for your services they require signatures and should be part of each child’s record file. 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 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
10) Field trips permission – this includes whenever children leave the premises, even walking
11) 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.
Maine DHHS OCFS Sample Child Care Contract (PDF)
Any record pertinent to a child must be maintained for 3 years after their discharge from care. (This includes if you close your program.)
Program’s Handbook …
The FCC Licensing Rule requires that the provider has shared specific information about the operation of the program and state requirements for a licensed child care program with the child’s parent/legal guardian at the time of admission. The easiest way to do this is through your policy handbook.
While the Licensing Rule policy requirements cover health and safety you might wish to cover additional practices, such as conflict resolution, bug repellent, clothing needs, in your handbook. Our everything you can think of folder has sample language for other areas providers have recommended to consider including in your handbook
The clearer your policies and procedures are the less room for conflict.
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 following list might seem long, but many of these items can be grouped together or handled with only a few clear sentences.
- 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
Maine DHHS OCFS Sample Parent Handbook Outline (PDF)
Emergency Preparedness Plan…
Emergency Preparedness Plan and Response Handbook for natural disasters and human-caused events, including but not limited to, fire drills.
The Licensing Rule requires your plan to include:
- Evacuation, including a designated relocation site and evacuation route
- Lockdown of the residence and/or shelter-in-place
- Procedures for notifying Parents/Legal Guardians
- 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
For Providers with Staff you will find Staff specific resources in its own section: Staff Contract/Handbook.
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.
If sharing be sure to credit FCCAM and link to the website page directly when possible.
You can modify and print for your own use.
Please do not distribute any resources found here for profit.
If there are additional areas you would appreciate having templates/sample language for please contact us at: email@example.com.