From Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) ~
The transition to Rising Stars for ME will occur automatically on the evening of March 26, 2023. The Child Care Choices website will be updated accordingly. Programs will automatically be categorized into the Star Rating system as follows:
Current Quality for ME Step 1 programs will become a 2 Star program in Rising Stars for ME
Current Quality for ME Step 2 programs will become a 3 Star program in Rising Stars for ME
Current Quality for ME Step 3 programs will become a 4 Star program in Rising Stars for ME
Current Quality for ME Step 4 programs will become a 5 Star program in Rising Stars for ME
All programs will have a minimum of six months to meet all Standards to maintain their Star rating.
The new Rising Stars for ME certificates will reflect updated certificate expiration dates as follows:
If the current Quality for ME certificate expires between 3/27/23 and 9/29/2023, the new Rising Stars expiration date will be 9/29/2023.
If the current Quality for ME certificate expires after 9/29/2023, the new Rising Stars expiration date will align with the program’s license expiration date
At the time of the initial Rising Stars Certificate expiration date, programs that do not meet the standards to maintain the Star rating will be moved to the Star rating that reflects the standards that the program has met.
UPDATE/CORRECTION 3/8/23 ~ This is why it’s good to have partnerships with other organizations that support children and families. FCCAM received clarification around the wage program becoming Law under LD 1995, not LD 1652. Also credentials and articulation agreements language not included in the budget language. We have corrected information in this post.
With the ending of the ARPA Grant payments (includes transition payments) providers have raised questions about the $200 payment continuing and the need to be registered. Through this post FCCAM is hoping to provide some information that will provide some answers. FCCAM is not rendering legal or tax advice, just general information. If you require more specific assistance, please consult a legal or tax preparation professional.
Let’s start with the letter some providers received telling them they have to sign up for the program. Just as providers had the option with the ARPA Grant funds, we do not know if you “have to take” the money. We do know that to receive the wage supplement you do need to register. Information on that follows later in the post.
This is a state program and not tied to federal funds. It is now part of the annual budgeting, so this wage supplement should be ongoing. The $200 amount may change when the tiers are established. The tiers are required to consider experience, and education.
Providers have again expressed concerns about the tax impact if they take the wage supplement. Tom Copeland advocated to take funding like this using an example something like: If someone offered you $100 if you would give $30 to someone else would you take it pocketing $70? The supplement is money coming to you that you would not normally have. At 30% for taxes you pocket around $140. $140 per month for a year is $1680. That’s money you can put away for your children in something like the Maine’s NextGen 529 accounts, or for your retirement (Simple IRA plans), spend on special projects for your business, pay off personal credit cards/loans or just have fun with. Unlike the ARPA the wage supplement has no strings attached about how the money is used and accounted for.
While you might not want to think about retirement that is a great business practice for self-employed small business owners. It’s important to also understand how your retirement is impacted by the Social Security taxes you pay figured off your net earnings from self-employment. Many providers are expecting it to be figured off their total income before business deductions. FCCAM posted previously on how Social Security works: Your Social Security Benefit: How It’s Figured.
A basic review of how federal tax brackets work. Tax brackets divide your income into levels that are taxed at different rates. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) updates federal tax rates, allowances, and thresholds every year. There are seven federal tax brackets for tax year 2022: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%. The rates stayed the same, but the income thresholds for all tax brackets increased in 2022 to reflect the rise in inflation. These rates apply to taxable income, which is your gross income after you’ve subtracted the standard deduction or allowable itemized deductions.
Being in one tax bracket doesn’t mean all of your income is taxed at that rate, every bracket is taxed at its own rate. Your standard deduction is determined by your filing status and stays the same regardless of your income. Example: Married, filing jointly with a gross income of $80,000 in 2022. Subtracting the standard deduction of $25,900. Taxable income for 2022 would be $54,100. That puts you in the 12% tax bracket. To calculate your tax bill you’ll pay 10% on the first $20,500 of your income and 12% on the remaining.
Wage Supplement Program
In April 2022, Governor Mills signed the supplemental budget (LD 1995) which included more than $12 million in ongoing state General Fund dollars to increase pay for early childhood educators who are providing direct care. Now Maine has “The Maine Early Childhood Workforce Salary Supplement Program“. The program is open to all child care providers and early childhood educators who provide direct services to children in licensed child care facilities or licensed family child care.
The budget also included $200,000 to support CTE early childhood education program.
Background ~ LD 1652 was important in building support for strengthening the child care workforce in Maine and providing quality programs for families to access. While LD 1652 received strong support through the legislative process, with the Governor writing the wage stipend program into the budget LD 1652 just went away. Language from LD 1652 around credentials and articulation agreements were not included in the budget language.
§3737-A. Early childhood educator workforce salary supplements
“The department shall develop and implement a system to provide salary supplements to child care providers and early childhood educators who provide direct services to children in a child care facility licensed under section 8301‑A, subsection 2 or who are family child care providers licensed under section 8301‑A, subsection 3. Any salary supplement funding provided by the department under this section to a child care facility or family child care provider must be paid by that child care facility or family child care provider in order to increase wages for any child care provider or early childhood educator who provides direct services to children. [PL 2021, c. 635, Pt. RR, §1 (NEW).]”
To be clear family child care providers qualify for this wage supplement and need to count themselves when registering.
The monthly supplement will eventually be based on each individual provider’s level of education and experience. The agreed to language asked for the structure to be tiered. Currently anyone registered with the program who is providing direct care to children is receiving $200 per month.
“Until June 30, 2023, a child care facility or family child care provider shall distribute salary supplements received under this section in the same amount to any child care provider or early childhood educator who provides direct services to children employed by the facility or provider. Beginning July 1, 2023, the department shall establish by rule and shall implement a tiered system for salary supplements under this section. The rules must provide, at a minimum, 3 tiers based on the education and experience levels of child care providers and early childhood educators. The 2nd tier must provide a salary supplement that is at least 50% greater than the first tier and the 3rd tier must provide a salary supplement that is at least 50% greater than the 2nd tier. Rules adopted under this section are routine technical rules pursuant to Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2‑A. [PL 2021, c. 635, Pt. RR, §1 (NEW).]”
Providers who have previously received ARPA Child Care Stabilization grant payments received an email with a link and an access code to their personal registration form.
Providers who did NOT receive ARPA Child Care Stabilization grant payments need to register for the wage supplement program.
Providers must have a valid Vendor Code with OCFS to register.
For information on Vendor Codes contact Vickie Bussey at (207) 624-7909 or Vickie.Bussey@maine.gov
Providers will need to fill out the information for their program using this registration link: https://apps.web.maine.gov/online/childcare_grants/provider/login. Upon submitting the program information, providers will receive an access code via email that will allow them to gain entrance to the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program.
Once providers are registered with the program, following their first payment, the monthly payments become automatic.
This post is in response to questions providers have asked about raising rates, how to figure what rate is required to cover costs, raising expenses, and considering closing.
What is shared in this post is a gathering of reliable information combined with personal experiences. FCCAM is not rendering legal or tax advice. If you require more specific assistance, please consult a legal or tax preparation professional to represent you.
Best business practice start with developing an understanding of what a “Business Budget” is.
Definition: A budget is a projection or a plan for the amount of money that will be made by the child care business and the amount of money that will be spent to operate the child care business during a fiscal year.
A budget is not what is actually made and spent. That info is referred to as “Actuals”.
So why do you need a budget if it really is just a estimate?
You need to have an idea of income and expenses, so you can figure out what your rates need to be. Can you adjust your expenses? Are you paying yourself the wage you need to support your family? Etc…..
How do you go about figuring this out?
Track actual income and expenses (for a least 3 months).
Have a goal in mind for the income you want to have to meet your family needs.
For those already in business you can look at past years’ taxes to track real income and expenses. If a new business you can track 3 months of actual income and expenses. Over 3 months you will probably be able to cover most normal costs and income, so you can then apply that knowledge to a complete fiscal year. Always remember the a child care business can have unexpected changes around number of children in care. If you have known peaks or valleys, such as vacation weeks, no summer care offered, etc, figure those in.
For your goal you need to think about your wage needs. Your child care business is “your job”. When you started your business did you plan be to working for free or volunteering your time providing care for other’s children? Probably not, so what do you need for a wage to support your family? Are there big purchases you want to be able to make? Or upcoming expenses you will need to cover?
Do not forget to budget for RETIREMENT! Get a qualified retirement plan and add a line item to your budget for it. Whether you contribute monthly or once a year, by adding it as a line item to the budget you are prioritizing your retirement. Want to know about Simple IRA plans the IRS has an information page. Your retirement is also impacted by Social Security which is figured from your net income. Need to learn about how Social Security works, especially for self employed here’s a past post: Your Social Security Benefit: How It’s Figured. Also consider opening a free my Social Security account where you can track everything having to do with your personal social security status.
Once you have an good/realistic estimate of your monthly expenses and income, total all expenses for the year and subtract that number from the total income for the year. Is that number you end up with bigger than zero?
If yes, great, you have a budget that projects a profit! Does the profit reflect your financial goal? If yes, great! If not, then you need to look at your budget for ways to adjust expenses and/or increase income.
If no, then you are operating your business in a way that actually costs you money to be in business!
The budgeting process allows you the opportunity to work to change things in the plan before the plan becomes a reality. Your budget also isn’t a once and done. Review it, reflect on your goals and any changing needs. You can make adjustments to your practices and your budget at any time, so your budget reflects what is happening.
Why you need both a business budget and actuals:
Tracking your actuals helps you keep tabs on your current fiscal status.
Tracking your actuals helps you predict your budget for the future.
Your budget helps you plan long-term.
Your budget helps you make better spending decisions in the moment.
Providers have found that once they took the time to do a first budget the following years seemed to work off their “actuals”. They were able to review actuals, think about financial goals for the coming year and see where the budget might need to be adjusted. They did not have to do as much work as the first time. They also had how they tracked/ recorded/ maintained records for their actuals in place. Providers today have options to purchase systems, use hard-copy record keepers, or building their own spreadsheets.
MRTQ has recently offered “Strengthening Business Practices, a solid training around business practices that support sustainability. This training was developed by the National Center in Early Childhood Quality Assurance with grant funds from the US Department of Health and Human Service, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, Office of Child Care, and Health Resources and Services Administration in cooperation with the Education Development Center.
The response from providers who have taken whether new to the profession or having years behind them as small businesses has been really positive. Check MRTQ weekly newsletter “Shortcuts” for the next time it’s offered.
February 09, 2023 ~ Memo from Office of Child and Family Services
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) announces the adoption of the Quality Rating and Improvement Rules: Rising Stars for ME.
Maine has operated a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for child care providers and other early care and education programs since 2008. Two studies conducted by independent consultant groups (in 2014 and another in 2016) recommended many of the changes in the revised QRIS. In the summer of 2020, a pilot project was launched with 41 participants across program types that included licensed child care facilities, family child care and licensed facilities serving only school-aged children. During the Rising Stars for ME Pilot, programs received the revised standards. The program owner, director, or designated staff person provided feedback to guide additional revisions to the system. OCFS appreciates the pilot participants for their work and input in support of this effort. OCFS also thanks the public for providing comments during the public comment period and public hearing to further guide changes to the rule.
OCFS would like to notify Maine’s Early Care and Education and School Age programs of the transition plan OCFS and our partners at Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN) have in place with the promulgation of the rules.
The transition from Quality for ME into Rising Stars for ME will occur automatically on the evening of March 26, 2023. The Child Care Choices website will be updated accordingly. Rising Stars for ME certificates will be sent to each program via regular mail on March 27, 2023.
Programs will automatically be categorized into the Star Rating equivalent to current Step Level:
Step 1 programs will become a 2 Star program
Step 2 programs will become a 3 Star program
Step 3 programs will become a 4 Star program
Step 4 programs will become a 5 Star program
All programs will have six months to meet all new standards to maintain their new Star Rating. The new Rising Stars for ME certificates will reflect necessary updated certificate expiration dates. Programs that do not meet the new standards after the six-month timeline will be moved to the Star Rating that reflects the standards that the program has met.
OCFS and MRTQ PDN will be providing outreach, support, and technical assistance to all programs prior to the transition into the new Rising Stars for ME system. Programs may also contact OCFS or MRTQ PDN for individual support as needed.
If you have any questions, please contact Amber Taurasi, Early Childcare and Education Quality Specialist, at (207) 626-8684 or Amber.Taurasi@maine.gov
Rising Stars is still considered a voluntary program outside the Licensing requirement that all programs have to be at minimum apply to the program. If you are in compliance with Licensing at this time you should already have applied for Quality for ME. That application will automatically switch over to Rising Stars.
Star 1 is set for licensed exempt provider programs
Star 2 is set for all programs in compliance with current Licensing Rule
Star 5 is set for all nationally accredited programs
Star 3 & 4 are voluntary levels.
Programs can chose to show they meet additional quality improvement requirements to be recognized at any Stars after Star 2. Programs may be eligible for monetary incentives when moving up to these Stars.
If programs placed on Stars above 2 do not complete the requirements before the 6 months period is up they will go back to the lowest Star they have completed all requirements for which is Star 2 if in licensing compliance. Programs are able to update or reapply anytime they have completed the requirements for any Star level.
DHHS, not licensing, will make decision around Star level upon reviewing submitted documentation. Licensing only confirms licensing status. MRTQ is involved through providing trainings and TA support.
FCCAM Professional Learning Committee has been prepping resources to support family child care providers when the new Rising Stars for ME was adopted. MRTQ PDN also has resources in place. The Continuous Quality Improvement CoP for family child care providers will meet the 3rd Thurs. of each month from 6-7:30pm (starting Jan. ’23) by zoom. We will begin sharing resources on Rising Stars at the Feb 16th Continuous Quality Improvement CoP for FCC. This CoP is co-facilitated by MRTQ PDN and FCCAM PLC.
Come learn more about the Rising Star for ME requirements for family child care programs. There will be opportunities to reflect on what you are doing well and where your program policies and practices can improve. We will review resources already in place to help/support programs with assessment and planning goals to meet QRIS requirements.
A reminder email will be sent to all who have registered with information about the topic and meeting agenda. Another reminder will be sent on the day of the CoP with the meeting link. Remember professional growth hours are awarded for your participation in this CoP and can be used to meet your yearly licensing requirements for training. Please email email@example.com with any questions.
FCCAM will also be making a special Rising Stars google folder available as a benefit for Class A members. Members will be able to download or print off the resource checklist docs provided in the folder. These checklists are built to complement the Everything Notebook set-up.
As family child care providers, we are all small business owners who provide education and care for young children. In creating and operating our unique small businesses, we each strive to provide the best program we can. A part of that effort is continuously reflecting and assessing our own program and practices. Over time that reflection and assessment process becomes a ritual and a continuous learning process.
Continuous Quality Improvement is just that, continually doing our best to grow in our knowledge, so we can offer the best program for the children in our care.
In Maine, providers are lucky to have a variety of agencies and organizations that are present to support our CQI efforts. Some of these are Let’s Go 5-2-1-0, ECCP, MRTQ PDN (technical assistance, training, community of practices, cohorts) and FCCAM (resources, informational posts, training).
There is also DHHS Licensing, their job is to be sure a program’s environment is safe and policies are in place to be sure minimum appropriate practices around health and safety are being upheld or followed. They do not tell programs what best practice is, they are focused on the foundational health and safety pieces.
Maine also has a 4 Step Quality Rating Improvement System – Quality for ME. Referred to often as just QRIS. Quality for ME was a voluntary program from its inception, until the current Licensing Rules (Family Child Care and Facilities) took effect in 2021. Now all licensed programs in Maine are required to complete the Quality for ME application.
For many providers this has become an area of confusion, concern, stress or frustration.
First, MRTQ PDN Registry and Quality for ME (QRIS) are different. Quality for ME is about the program, while MRTQ registry is about the individual, the provider.
Then you add in the confusion about “Rising Stars”. What are the changes from Quality for ME? When is it going to be required? What happens to a program’s current Quality for ME Step level? Why Stars?
In addition to the Rising Stars Pilot report we know that Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Office of Child and Family Services, (OCFS) held a public hearing via zoom on 10/5/22 to gather feedback and comments from the field on the proposed QRIS change to Rising Stars. Department responses have not yet been released regarding the comments made on 10/5. Their responses to the comments should be the next step in the proposed change whether it moves forward or not. In addition, there is an even broader national discussion about why the “R”? Why not just “QIS”- Quality Improvement System. Continual support for program quality……
Concerns heard from providers and the national discussion added to the discussion of FCCAM’s Professional Learning Committee (PLC) while they built the “Everything Notebook”. In addition, there was also discussion at MRTQ PDN with the outcome of 2 statewide communities of practices that will support practitioners in learning more about the QRIS system in Maine and offer support(s) that will aid programs in their improvement efforts.
MRTQ PDN and FCCAM PLC are co-facilitating the Community of Practice just for family child care providers. Together we are examining what Maine’s current QRIS expects of providers, sharing experiences, styles of documentation, and resources. This work will not only help us meet the current system requirements but it will help us prepare should Rising Stars be released. The community of practice is titled: Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) because that is the underlying goal, to build understanding and confidence in approaching self-assessment and reflection of your practices and the continual learning that addresses program quality and individual professionalism.
Following the spreadsheet and table ideas the Professional Learning Committee used to build the “Everything Notebook” and looking at the checklists around Licensing Rule requirements on the FCCAM website, work was done to build such tools for the current Quality for ME Steps and what the pilot report informed us about the direction for Rising Stars.
The tables comparing Steps to Stars were shared by FCCAM PLC on the first CQI CoP. These tables list all requirements for each Step. They are broken out by Standards. If there is a corresponding Standard and requirements suggested in the Pilot Report for Stars that is included. Any new Standards for Stars recommended in the report are also included. Anything highlighted in Blue is currently a requirement in the Licensing Rule.
*Again what is shared about Rising Stars is our best guess from what information has been shared following the pilot.If changes are made to the Rising Stars information or requirements, if and when it is released, the CQI CoP will shift their information and resources to meet any new requirements.
So providers can see what they have already in place and what more is expected for each Step Level we divided QRIS up into its Standards. We looked at a Standard and listed requirements for each Step. If providers and thus their programs are in compliance with the current Licensing Rule then they are eligible to be placed on Step 1, but may find they have many requirements for other Step Levels also done.
To move up Steps: you need to assess and compare what you are currently doing within your program and practice to what the systems require, identify the gaps and address them. The CQI CoP is committed to helping providers look at requirements and figure out what they need to adjust and fill the gaps to meet requirements. Again we want to be clear with providers that Quality for ME is still a voluntary program in regards to moving up Steps. Programs are just required to complete the application, and stay enrolled by reapplying every three years, nothing more.
There are currently MRTQ PDN Quality Improvement Award incentives around moving up steps, subsidy reimbursement increases and even tax incentives for families to claim at different Step Levels.
In addition to CQI CoP, MRTQ PDN also offers free technical assistance/ consultation to programs looking to move up the steps of QRIS. You can learn more about that opportunity through MRTQ PDN Consultation.
Also be aware that for any provider who wants to reach Step 4 you will need to be NAFCC Accredited. MRTQ PDN is there to help you with that process. They offer a variety of support for that.
MRTQ PDN will soon be offering an informational meeting on 3/9/23 from 6-7:30pm via zoom on NAFCC Accreditation and the support(s) offered through MRTQ PDN. If interested in learning more about NAFCC Accreditation you can register HERE
Parents and potential clients can see a program’s Step rating on childcarechoices.me. Not having a clear understanding that QRIS is a voluntary program they may not understand what the rating represents. An individual provider is free to share their MRTQ PDN Professional Development Profile to show and highlight all their training and professional development they have done. This sharing can help inform both current and future clients of the work you put in professionally to provide a quality program.
Increase parents’ understanding of higher quality early care and education
Increase professional development opportunities
Create a cross-sector framework
Through the current self-assessment, Quality for ME can help programs identify their needs for additional resources and supports to increase their level of quality.
In Maine, DHHS administers both Child Care Licensing and Quality for ME, but each is managed within a different division. Licenses are issued and monitored by the Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, Child Care Licensing Unit. Quality for ME is administered by the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS), Early Intervention and Prevention Division. The divisions share information regarding a program’s current licensing status and compliance history, but Child Care Licensing staff do not make decisions about the Step at which a program is rated. OCFS makes the final determination on a program’s Step rating and issues the appropriate certificate based on the provider’s answers to the questions on the application.
Step ratings are valid for a three-year period, unless a program no longer meets the standards for their assigned Step. A program can and should reapply anytime there is relevant information that needs updating.
A provider/owner/director applies for Quality for ME at https://qualityforme.org, by entering the program’s license number. The application system will access administrative data about the program, including:
Licensing status and if relevant, any current violation information.
Staff members on the MRTQ Registry, including Level(s) on the Career Lattice and whether or not staff have completed specific training
Program accreditation status
Completing the application means you are answering questions/self-assessing your program. Be sure to click through to the final screen and click “Submit” to ensure that your application is submitted. Remember, a program can and should reapply anytime there is relevant information that needs updating.
Upon completion of the online application, the program will be given a Step rating, along with information about what standards need to be met in order to reach the next Step. A staff member at OCFS will review the application and the program will be formally notified by mail with a certificate indicating the Step rating with Quality for ME.
While the application is a self-assessment, programs need to have supporting documentation for their answers that standards at each level have been met. The documentation can be gathered into a digital portfolio on your computer or a physical notebook kept on your premises. If you are chosen for an on-site portfolio review it has to be available.
An on-site portfolio review? …….
The purpose of this announced and mutually agreed upon visit by OCFS is to review supporting documentation to validate the program’s self assessment in the online application process. Programs are selected from a random list of programs with Step 2, 3, or 4 ratings based on geographic regions. Remember if you are in compliance with the current Licensing Rule you meet Step 1 requirements, that documentation is already reviewed by Licensing Specialists.
Why is FCCAM posting on this topic? Many providers take the maximum amount of deductions they can each year. That means your net income is significantly less than gross, so ultimately your Social Security benefits will also probably be less than you were expecting.
It’s important to understand how social security benefits are figured.
Benefits are figured off your lifetime earning – the net income you pay yearly taxes on, NOT your gross income.
Adjust or “index” your actual earnings to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received.
Calculate your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most.
Apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit, or “primary insurance amount.”
How do you find out about your status for Social Security benefits?
Set up a personal “my Social Security” account. This site gives you access to: an estimate of your personal retirement benefits; see the effects of different retirement age scenarios; an online Social Security Statement (Statement).
Review your earnings history to make sure everything is accurate. This is important, because your benefit amount is based on how much you’ve earned over your lifetime. If that information is wrong, you may not get the full amount you’re entitled to.
Important Things to Know about Your Social Security Benefits
Social Security benefits are not intended to be your only source of retirement income. You may need other savings, investments, pensions, or retirement accounts to make sure you have enough money when you retire.
You need 40 credits of work (at least 10 years) to qualify for retirement benefits. The amount of your benefit is based on your highest 35 years of earnings. If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, years without work count as 0 and may reduce your benefit amount.
To keep up with inflation, benefits are adjusted through “cost of living adjustments.”
If you get retirement or disability benefits, your spouse and children also may qualify for benefits.
If you and your spouse both work, use the my Social Security Retirement Calculator to estimate spousal benefits.
If you are divorced and were married for 10 years, you may be able to claim benefits on your ex-spouse’s record. If your ex-spouse receives benefits on your record, that does not affect your or your current spouse’s benefit amounts.
Information received from the Office of Child and Family Services Date: January 19, 2023
As previously announced, the Provider Transition Grants will continue for the months of January, February, march and April 2023 and programs will be eligible to receive $25 per licensed capacity slot. Transition Grants will end after the April payment is issued in May. Please remember payments received are for the previous month.
The Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplements are ongoing using State General Fund dollars and will not end when the Provider Transition Grants end. To be eligible:
Maine Roads to Quality has a NEW credential that is specific for Family Child Care Providers. The credential has been designed to support fcc practitioners to deliver high-quality programming to children and families throughout Maine. Multiple pathways for earning this credential are available to support you whether this is your first credential or you have earned others. Decisions on awarding the Maine Family Child Care Credential will be made by the MRTQ PDN Credential Review Team, with initial credentials being awarded for three years.
Here’s the full FCC Credential Informational Packet. It’s a large packet, but you can take your time reading through it. In this post we’ll share some of the informational points from the packet you should be aware of early on.
The Maine Family Child Care Credential promotes early childhood workforce competence and focuses on the additional training and education practitioners need when caring for children of mixed ages.
To earn the Maine Family Child Care Credential, Applicants must: a. Meet the formal education, experience, and training requirements. b. Be a member of the Maine Roads to Quality Registry. c. Submit a completed application and payment of $25 to MRTQ PDN. d. Submit a Portfolio that demonstrates the required competencies specific to working with ages and development of children enrolled within your program. e. Participate in a Maine Family Child Care Credential On-Site Observation. f. Distribute, collect, and submit Maine Family Child Care Family Surveys.
Evaluation and credential decisions are based upon: a. The applicant meeting all education, experience, and training requirements. b. Successful completion of the Portfolio. c. Satisfactory completion of the Maine Family Child Care Credential On-Site Observation. d. A return rate of 75%, with an 80% positive rating on the Maine Family Child Care Credential Family Surveys (see Section 6).
MRTQ PDN has the following supports available for practitioners: a. Cohorts will be available for practitioners to join to receive support from a facilitator and peers; cohorts generally involve participation in monthly meetings (either via conference call, video conference, or face-to-face) and individualized assistance from the facilitator on completing the Portfolio and preparing for the On-Site Observation. b. On-site consultation is also available to practitioners pursuing the Maine Family Child Care Credential.
The Maine Family Child Care Credential requires a minimum of 120 hours of specific Maine Roads to Quality Training. There are 3 options or paths to earning the FCC Credential. The 120 hours can be earned over a 10 year period. You will see “five years” listed throughout the packet, but a decision was made to change this to 10 years because of the barrier 5 years was for working providers.
The 120 hours are composed of both FREE and paid courses. For those earning this credential upon completion there is currently the opportunity to receive a monetary award that will reimburse for the cost of courses and provide an additional monetary amount currently in the range of $500.
Option 1: For a practitioner working towards their FIRST MRTQ PDN Credential (including those who have an early childhood education or related degree): A minimum of 120 hours of training within 10 years, comprised of the following:
Getting Started in Family Child Care (6 hours) – FREE On Demand
AND Your Professional Development Portfolio (9 hours) – FREE On Demand
AND Foundations of Health, Wellness, and Safety (18 hours) – FREE On Demand
AND Partners in Caring: Families and Caregivers (15 hours) – $20
AND Environments in Early Care and Education (30 hours) – $30
AND Strengthening Business Practice (18 hours) – varies
AND CHOOSE ONE of the following Infants and Toddlers: Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards OR Maine’s Early Learning Development Standards (30 hours) OR Links to Learning (45 hours) – varies
Option 2: For a practitioner who has attained a Maine Credential (Infant Toddler, Youth Development, Director, or Inclusion): A minimum of 120 hours of training within the last ten years. Any trainings within the last 10 years that have already been used in the earning of a credential can not be use again for this FCC Credential.
Strengthening Business Practice (18 hours)
Getting Started in Family Child Care (6 Hours)
Your Professional Development Portfolio (9 hours) – (**If the practitioner has completed this training within 10 years as a requirement for another Maine Credential a waiver can be issued. The 120 trainings hours of training are required regardless of the waiver.)
Choose one or more from the following training. (The training chosen cannot have been used in a pathway with another Maine State Credential.): – Infants and Toddlers: Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards (Bridge) – Maine’s Early Learning Development Standards (30 hours) – Links to Learning (45 hours)
AND Choose from the list below to earn a total minimum of 120 required hours and meeting a minimum of 12 hours in at least five of the core competencies.
Creating Inclusive Youth Development Settings (30 hours)
Environments in Early Care and Education (30 hours)
Designing Early Learning: Curriculum and Assessment in Preschool (30 hours)
Inclusive Child Care (30 hours)
Working with School Aged Children and Youth (30 hours)
Create Equitable Early Learning Communities (20 hours)
Engaging in Professional Development with Adult Learners (18 hours)
Introduction to Infant Mental Health (18 hours)
Social and Emotional Learning Birth to Age 5 (18 hours)
Positive Supports and Challenging Behaviors (15 hours)
Foundations of Peer-to-Peer Networks (15 hours)
Collaborating with others to support Inclusion (12 hours)
Foundations of Universal Design and Individualizing (12 hours)
Stress Happens: Transforming Your Relationships to Stress (6 hours)
Option 3: A third pathway is available to those family child care professionals who have achieved two of the following Maine Credentials: Infant and Toddler, Youth Development, or the Inclusion Credential. A minimum of 120 hours of documented family child care related education/training within ten years. The training must include at least 10 hours in each of the core competency areas for the family child care credential. A. Child Development and Learning in Context B. Family-Provider Partnerships and Community Connections C. Child Observation, Documentation and Assessment D. Developmentally, Culturally, and Linguistically Appropriate Teaching Practices E. Knowledge, Application, and Integration of Content in the Curriculum F. Professionalism G. Health, Safety, and Nutrition H. Administration and Business Practices
Additional training requirements and considerations:
The 120 hours of training must be comprised of a minimum of 4.0 CEUs (40 clock hours) dated within ten years of application for the Maine Family Child Care Credential.
The remaining training hours can be attained in the following ways:
Training or workshops of two hours or less (a maximum of 30 hours can be used with this option).
Classes, training, or workshops facilitated by the candidate (up to 20 contact hours, limited to one time per training topic).
Training from a recognized agency or organization proficient in child care provider education. Recognized training sources include but are not limited to Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network opportunities, family child care associations, early childhood programs such as Head Start, school districts, U.S. military services, state government child care agencies, colleges, universities, vocational and technical schools.
In addition, a template for documentation of training meeting core competency areas is provided and required with application.
For providers that are interested in earning the Family Child Care Credential, start by checking to see if you have taken any of the required training in the last 10 years.
Then check the MRTQ PDN Training Calendar to see when the trainings that are not On Demand are being offered next. As these trainings are limited in offering you might want to see if any fit in your schedule and reach out to Pam Soucy to be added to a waitlist for those that have filled and/ or are not being offered at this time (firstname.lastname@example.org | 207-626-5258)
The On Demand classes can be fit into your schedule more easily. Remember you do not need to complete an On Demand training in one sitting. The training maintains your progress, as long as you complete it by Dec. 31st of the year of enrollment.
Any questions on the Family Child Care Credential reach out to Tammy Dwyer (email@example.com| 207-956-2937) or email MRTQ Coordinator of Apprenticeship and Credential Programs (firstname.lastname@example.org | 207-780-4435)
Taken From: Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services November 28, 2022MEMORANDUM
The Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) Child Care Subsidy program (CCSP) will begin two new initiatives to increase access to affordable, high-quality child care for Maine’s working families.
Incentivize licensed child care programs to accept CCSP. OCFS has allocated $3,000,000 of ARPA CCDF Discretionary Funds to distribute a one-time stipend per child in the child care program receiving CCSP.
Program must meet the following criteria: – Providers must have an active CCSP Provider Agreement at the time of payment. – Provider must have an active license at the time of payment.
A $500 stipend will be provided per child in attendance and receiving reimbursement for at time of payment.
Four (4) quarterly payments will be made with the first payment in January 2023.
Further incentivize providers to offer infant care by increasing an existing stipend from $100 to $150 per infant per week. OCFS has allocated $500,000 to increase the weekly infant stipend by $50.
The increase will begin 12/31/22 and run through 09/30/23.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) is pleased to announce registration is now open for the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program and the Provider Transition Grants.
Registration for both programs are within one form and funds will be distributed at the same time each month.
Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program
In April 2022, Governor Mills signed the supplemental budget which included salary supplements to increase the pay for early childhood educators employed in licensed child care facilities and family child care programs. The budget provides more than $12 million in ongoing state General Fund dollars to increase pay for early childhood educators providing direct care to strengthen the Early Care and Education system across Maine.
The first payments to the workforce will be issued in October 2022 and, as with the ARPA grant, these salary supplement payments must be paid directly to the early childhood workforce. These supplemental payments are required for all providers to receive and pass through to their eligible staff.
In addition to the $200 staff supplements, 7.65% additional funds will be added to cover the cost associated with the staff supplements in the providers’ monthly payments.
Providers who have previously received ARPA Child Care Stabilization grant payments WILL receive an email with a link and an access code to their personal registration form. Providers will need to have the following information ready for all eligible staff to update their information in the registration form:
Confirm program information within form is up to date,
The names of all staff,
The staff’s individual email addresses, and
The staff’s career lattice level from Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ).
Providers must be open and providing direct child care on a regular basis at the time of registration
Upon submitting the program information, providers will receive an access code via email that will allow them to gain entrance to the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program.
Provider Transition Grants
OCFS will begin distributing the Provider Transition grants in October 2022 to licensed child care providers to help stabilize and support child care in Maine. The grants will be administered for 8-months. This support comes from the federal American Rescue Plan’s supplemental Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Discretionary Funds.
The first 4 months (September, October, November and December), programs will be eligible to receive $50 per licensed capacity.
The last 4-months (January, February, March and April) programs will be eligible to receive $25 per licensed capacity.
All licensed child care providers may register for the first installment of grants if they are providing direct child care by September 1, 2022. Future payments will be automatic. Registration after October will be on a rolling basis. Programs approved will only be required to apply once.