Posted in Business Practice, MRTQ-PDN, Professional Development, QRIS

CCDF Health and Safety Orientation Training

*Updated 7/2021 ~~

Questions have arisen about the Health and Safety Orientation training following the email providers recently received about the upcoming Child Care Stabilization Grants.

Here are some points for providers to consider:

To meet requirements to apply for this stabilization grant opportunity all owners, directors, and staff have to complete the State approved health and safety training within 90 days of hire. This training is the free 6 hr Health & Safety Orientation training reached through MRTQ PDN On-Demand. For providers and staff that have been working longer than the 90 days of hire, we believe you will also need to have this training completed.

If you participate in the subsidy program you have had to complete this training, and also complete the annual review training.

If you have opened your program in the past few years you probably took this training as it has been part of pre-licensing requirements.

Having read through the QRIS pilot report, this training was noted as a requirement to maintain Star 2 and up. (Rising Stars for ME has not yet been formally adopted and introduced yet to providers. It is expected to be rolled out Fall 2021.)

When you go to register for this training if you cannot enroll it means you have already taken it and MRTQ has that information. If you are needing to take the annual renewal that is time/date sensitive and you cannot take it before your previous year is met.


*Note: the training title is now CCDF Health and Safety Orientation. It previous was dated and CCDF was not included. It has been the top training listed on the On-Demand site.

To access the CCDF Health and Safety Orientation Training, begin by logging into the MRTQ Registry. If you haven’t joined the Registry yet you will need to do that first. Here’s how to join.

Click the “Access” button under Online Training.

You should now find yourself here:

If the CCDF Health and Safety Orientation Training is not the first training you see scroll down through the listed trainings.

You will see a button below the training description. It will either be a green “Enroll” or a gray “Completed”. If you see the “completed” button it means at some point your took this training and it’s on your Registry record.


Here’s a working link to MRTQ Registry home page.


If you find yourself with time some day explore your training history on the Registry, check out other trainings available at MRTQ PDN and enroll for anytime access to the QIT Toolkit.

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OFCS, ECE Information

A Conversation with Licensing Around the FCC Rule

The Professional Learning Committee recently met with Licensing Supervisors, Pattie Collins and Jennifer Welch. This meeting was a chance to ask about the process behind the FCC Licensing Rule and to get clarification on regulations that have been raising questions among providers old and new.


We started out passing along some simple editing notes providers had shared with us:

  • Section 8/Training A(10):  “Transportation of Children (if the individual will be responsible for the transportation of children; required biannually thereafter) 

This training is required every 2 years, not twice a year. “biannually” is an editing error and will be corrected in the final printing.

  • Section 2-G misnumbering after 8

We pointed out our note on this in the “Licensing Rule”. They were aware of this and noted it was listed for correction.


Then we asked for clarification around the changes for immunizations. The changes having to do with immunizations are driven by the new Maine Vaccine Exemptions Law which requires all DOE and DHHS rules to be amended to fit under this law in regards to only medical exemptions being acceptable for lack of immunization by Sept 1, 2021. This exemption applies to both children attending child care and adults providing child care. So yes,

  • All children need to have complete immunization records on file, even school-age.
  • All adults providing care need to be immunized and their records also on file.

Maine Child Care Immunization Standards

Maine-AAP vaccination exemption form for child care.

“Properly immunized” for adults means Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccination (Tdap) and Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) for those born after 1956..  More information about adult vaccination schedules can be found here: Adult Immunization Schedule by Vaccine and Age Group | CDC


Next we discussed what was meant by a provider handbook for staff vs a manual in Licensing Requirements and Procedures 2:G7. This requirement is causing a lot of anger/frustration among providers that are sole providers and we wanted to be sure the information we have been and will provide is correct.

We shared examples from FCCAM’s “Licensing Rule” and from a provider’s business website. The examples are for a sole provider without staff or volunteers who closes when they cannot provide care. Language samples also covered what would happen if that changes. Individual policies included provider/staff/house member as appropriate when referring to who had responsibility to carry out a policy. What Licensing made clear is that sole providers do not need a separate staff handbook or manual as long as they make it clear to parents that they work alone, they will comply with regulations about staff if that changes, and their policies clearly state who has responsibility to carry out the policy as required in rule.

In reading the Licensing Rule, you will notice that many of the policies listed for the parent handbook and the staff handbook are duplicated. If you have one handbook you need to be sure to have a policy for everything listed for the staff manual as well. 

If you have staff and your parent handbook is written in such a way that this policy also applies to staff, you can use your parent handbook.  If your current parent handbook does not have the required policies, you can either add the additional policies needed or if you feel the policies are really only meant for employees to see then create a smaller separate handbook for staff.  

Again, providers need to be sure to have a policy for everything listed for the staff manual. Policies shared with parents need to be clear about who has responsibility within the policy language. With that a separate manual is not needed.


From a quick review of the Licensing Rule Toolkit, Licensing felt the general format appeared to covering the Rule, Licensing’s responses and FCCAM resources. We also explained that the PLC is taking opportunities to raise awareness of best practices by adding suggestions for providers to add to Rule requirements for items such as the sunscreen policy by including bug spray also.

We shared our inclusion of the spreadsheets for 3 checklists that providers seem to be asking for: Records need / Handbook / and Staff

Licensing informed us that Licensing Specialists are informing fcc providers of the website and the Licensing Rule tool.

Under Section 7(F)(1) The Provider and All Staff Members must have a high school diploma or equivalent, be attending high school, or be enrolled in a General Educational Development (GED) preparation program. This requirement was consistent in Rules prior to 2017, but not in the 2017 Rule. This requirement on education level is not Maine statute, so it is possible to get a waiver. 

Licensing wants to be sure that providers are aware that they need to be registered with Maine Roads to Quality and each program must sign up for the Maine Quality Rating System.  


The PLC and Licensing then talked about the process that happened for this Rule and should be happening for Rule proposals. There has been a good deal of questioning about provider input and the timeline for this Rule, especially with everything providers have dealt with this past year around COVID.

Let’s start with why Licensing doesn’t answer question about the proposed Rule. Legally, once the public is informed of the proposed Rule Licensing can only take questions during the public comment period through the process in place (email address set up for comments/question) until the Rule is in effect. They cannot respond directly to those questions about the Rule only about the rule making process until after Rule is in effect. 

Each Administration can impose additional restrictions on development of rules.  

Federal requirements can also impact stakeholder engagement because of shortened or limited timelines. 

In building any new Rule outdated requirements need to be removed or adapted to comply with current child care standards. 

The Rule is impacted by statutes from across Maine law.

In Maine there are 3 Rules that cover the child care system: FCC, Facility (which will combine Centers and Nursery schools once in effect) and Background Checks. The Background Checks Rule is separate because of how it is covered in state law/statutes. 

The best practice is to have Rule revision every couple of years, with ongoing review. The Department goal is to have all Rules – FCC and Facility all align and that all three rules are updated on a regular basis. This would support consistency. Alignment has not been the previous practice. 


Our conversation with Licensing was only able to touch on a few items. While we picked the ones raising the most questions, please remember there are many other changes to the Rule as well, and you are best served by reading the Rule.

If you haven’t gotten to 2(G)(8 and 10), please be aware you need a new policy around mandated reporting. Just listing you are a mandated reporter is no longer enough.


We hope this post has clarified some areas of concern. Please know you can reach out to the PLC at any time.

Posted in Business Practice

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 educators. 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 much 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

We are 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

We are first aid responders:

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

We are bookkeepers:

  • 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

We are both 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!

We:

  • 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 off acceptable substitutes.

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

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OFCS

New Infant and Toddler MELDS are Available

received from MRTQ PDN ~ ~

Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN), in partnership with the Maine Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), is pleased to announce the release of the Infant and Toddler Maine Early Learning and Development Standards (Infant Toddler MELDS). A team of experts, using the previous guidelines in Supporting Maine’s Infants & Toddlers: Guidelines for Learning and Development, updated the content and revised the format for the Infant Toddler MELDS to align with the Maine Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS) for three- to five-year-olds.


An electronic version (to download or print off) of Infant Toddler MELDS.


Printed copies are also available and can be picked up at several locations throughout Maine.

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: https://gonapsacc.org.

  • 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 / mwhite@mcd.org / 207-622-7566 ext230

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OFCS, ECE Information

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is More Than Just CCSP

“The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program provides resources to state, territory, and tribal grantees that enable low-income parents to work or pursue education and training so that they can better support their families while at the same time promoting the learning and development of their children.” Providers know this as the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP), but the CCDF is about more than just subsidy.

The CCDF program also provides funding to enhance the quality of child care for all children, thus impacting all providers in Maine.

The CCDF Plan is how Maine applies for CCDF funding. It’s how the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) determines state compliance with the requirements of the law and rule. The CCDF Plan allows states to describe their implementation of the CCDF program. As small business owners it’s important that we are aware of the programs that impact us and the valuable service we provide to children and their families. A draft of the CCDF plan for the period of October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2024 is being presented by DHHS/OCFS to the public for review and comment. “The purpose of this hearing is to seek public and provider input and comment on the draft plan for the provision of child care services funded by the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). The State Plan describes Maine’s plan to support the State’s child care infrastructure and comply with federal requirements of the CCDF Act of 1990.”

Public Hearing: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 12 p.m. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this hearing will be conducted via Zoom. Registration required.

Written comments on the draft may be submitted for consideration prior to the public hearing and/or until midnight April 14, 2021, via Fax: 207-287-6308 or by email to Crystal Arbour at Crystal.Arbour@Maine.gov.

FCCAM encourages all providers to review the draft – Maine CCDF FFY22-24 Draft State Plan (PDF). (It is 152 pages in length, but you can skip over a good number of the pages.) Look for the underlined response from the state, which details how they plan to use CCDF funds to support children and families, thus enhancing the quality of child care for all children.

This post’s purpose is to highlight a few areas of the CCDF FFY22-24 Draft State Plan, providing examples of some of the ways the CCDF directs/impacts child care in Maine. Language was pulled as directly from the plan as possible. To make it easier to follow we used the plan’s numerical identification (example 2.3.1) for each section. The orange color blocks contain information also pulled from the plan as examples of broader impact on child care programs. The color blocks follow the section they relate to.

1.1.1 : Lead Agency is Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Under Maine’s plan the Lead Agency has the flexibility to modify this program at any time, including amending the options selected or described. 1.1.2. CCDF Administrator is Crystal Arbour, Child Care Services Program Manager. 1.2.2 The Lead Agency has broad authority to operate through other agencies, as long as it retains overall responsibility. This covers determining eligibility, finding child care, issuing payments, monitoring licensed providers and license-exempt providers, and operating quality improvement activities.

  • Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ)/The Professional Development Network (PDN) is responsible for the Childcare Choices website, a resource for finding child care by address, city, or zip code in Maine.
  • The Opportunity Alliance Contact Center supplies an online directory and resource center with the website 2-1-1 Maine or through text messaging capabilities.

1.2.3 Office of Child and Family Services monitors all contracted services.

1.3.1 The Lead Agency is to have consultation with appropriate representatives. In Maine that starts with the Children’s Cabinet Early Childhood Advisory Council (CCECAC). There are 2 licensed family child care providers (State FCC organization recommendation is required). (Currently these 2 fcc providers are active members of FCCAM, currently serving on our Board. )The 5 Maine Tribal CCDF administrators are also contacted regularly.

1.4.1 Explains working for services, such as, children with special needs, including early intervention for infants and toddlers; Head Start; CDC public health/immunization; Maine Career Center; DOE for Pre-K;

Beginning January 2021, the State Administrator began participating in the ECS’s Early Learning Transitions Technical Assistance Initiative with DOE to improve aspects of transition in early care and educational settings across Maine.

child care licensing;

…coordinating goals and policies for Child Care Provider, rulemaking, and meeting guidelines for CCDF Rules, and other Lead Agency activities.

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP); homeless education; TANF; MaineCare; mental health;

Beginning in 2020, OCFS expanded the Children’s Behavioral Health Unit to include its newest program, Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP)


Child care resource and referral agencies; early childhood education training and professional development;

Maine does not have a CCR&R and does not plan on that changing. MRTQ/PDN handles the website for locating Child Care Providers in Maine, provides early childhood education training, professional development and statewide technical assistance (T/A) that include onsite consultation with the addition of District Early Childhood and Youth Coordinators (DCs) located in each Region of the State. (*see FCCAM PLC post on TA)

afterschool/ out-of-school time care; and emergency management.

1.8.2 State Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan includes guidelines for continuation of subsidy, child care services, and coordination of post-disaster recovery of child care services. (*note that the link provided for the disaster plan does not work.)

2.2.1 Complaints about child care providers process

2.3.4 Website links for Lead Agency’s processes related to child care – how the state/territory licenses child care, a rationale for exempting providers from licensing requirements, the procedure for conducting monitoring and inspections of providers, and the policies and procedures related to criminal background checks.

*(from link above)”The Office of Child & Family Services (OCFS) has been working to develop the criminal background check process to include fingerprinting that meets federal and state requirements for all child care providers delivering direct care services. This process is scheduled to be released August 30, 2020 for all current and prospective child care providers statewide. This process is at no cost to providers.”

2.3.6 Quality information posted for consumer knowledge – https://childcarechoices.me/

2.5.1 Resources and services available around a child’s developmental needs

3.1 Begins eligibility determination (*FCCAM PLC post about subsidy eligibility for families.)

3.2.3 Lower co-payments for higher quality of care.

Families using a step three quality rated provider receive a 10% discount in the parent fee. Families using a step four quality rated provider receive a 20% discount in the parent fee.

4.1.3 Equal Access to care – includes reported provider barriers for participation in CCSP and parental access to child during care.

The Lead Agency is actively working to decrease these barriers by including the health and safety training and QRIS participation into licensing rule. In addition, several incentives have been initiated into CCSP, this include the infant/toddler 10% increase in reimbursement at any step level and the infant stipend for CCSP providers caring for an infant receiving CCSP.

State of Maine Family Child Care Licensing Rule: The provider must allow parents to visit and observe any time during the hours of operation.

4.1.6 States that Maine will not provide child care services through grants or contracts for child car slots. (*This is an area that has been raised in the past looking at the barrier of providers maintaining a sustainable income while increasing availability of subsidy care.)

4.1.8 Lead Agencies are required to develop and implement strategies to increase the supply of and improve the quality of child care services.

This includes recruitment of providers. Through June 30, 2023, the Lead Agency is covering the costs of licensing and renewal fees for all licensed child care programs statewide. Also newly licensed ECE programs can apply for Quality Improvement Mini-Grants. The Lead Agency has also partnered with MaineAEYC to provide T.E.A.C.H. scholarships in Maine. (*see FCCAM PLC post)

CCSP Infant Stipend and Infant/Toddler reimbursement bump in July of 2020. Providers caring for an infant receiving CCSP, in compliance with the required health and safety training, and have an updated QRIS registry will receive $100 per infant per week. In addition, a 10% bump in reimburse for each infant or toddler in their care. Through the Lead Agency’s partnership with MRTQ PDN, Quality Improvement Stipends for programs joining Quality for ME. Individuals enrolled in the Maine Infant/Toddler Credential Cohorts can also receive Quality Improvement Stipends.

4.1.8.viii. Accreditation supports

Through the Lead Agency’s partnership with MRTQ PDN, Quality Improvement Mini-Grants: This funding is for programs that are currently in an accreditation cohort (for at least six months) OR that have submitted for their final accreditation observation, OR that have maintained a Step 4 during the funding period, OR meet all requirements assessed in all performance areas for Head Start AND maintain a Step 4 rating with Quality for ME. In addition, provide a fee reimbursement for the cost of accreditation.

4.2 Market Rate and Analyze of Cost of Child Care. [1,618 child care providers were sent surveys. 966 providers responded to the surveys.] (** (the link for the required posting of the MRS report does not work) Providers working with subsidy should have received information on their billing forms)

4.3 Payment Rate /Practices

5.2 Standards for Ratios / Qualifications for CCDF Providers. (*this impacts licensing and thus all providers)

6.1 Professional Development

MRTQ PDN trainings range from free to $1 per training hour. Technical assistance support for a practitioner to obtain a credential is free. The MRTQ PDN trainings are articulated into the Community College system and the cost for a practitioner to articulate into college coursework is free. Registry is free to all.

*Not sure how to access/join the Registry? Here’s a FCCAM PLC post on that. There is also currently an incentive to join the Registry.

6.4 Early Learning and Development Guidelines

7 Continuous Quality Improvement

QRIS Revision Project, the Infant/Toddlers Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS) were revised and finalized Fall of 2020. Maine expects the release to begin Spring of 2021.


Again, our purpose of any blog posts on this website is to provide information to child care providers across Maine about programs, legislation and state plans that impact the services they provide children and families. There is no way we could cover every part of the CCDF Draft and encourage all providers to read through it, focusing on sections that relate to their unique program and needs.

Not sure how to write testimony or provide written comment? Here’s an older post that might help you. Please know it is important for your comments to be heard.

Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

What is CACFP?

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), is a federally funded program that is administered by the states that pays for healthy meals and snacks for children and adults in day care. CACFP improves the quality of the programs participating in it.

Beyond child being served nutritious meals CACFP supports:

  • The establishment of positive eating habits at the earliest stages of development.
  • With proper nutrition, a child is less likely to experience illness and fatigue and will develop at a normal physical and intellectual pace. 
  • Providers receive nutrition education and financial resources from their CACFP sponsor.

How does CACFP work for family child care homes?

The Family Child Care Homes portion of CACFP is for those who meet their state’s legal definition and requirements. In Maine that all licensed family child care programs can participate. Child care homes receive money for serving nutritious meals. Up to 2 meals and 1 snack per child per day are reimbursable through CACFP. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees CACFP. States approve sponsors and centers to operate the program. States also monitor and provide training and guidance to make sure CACFP runs right. Sponsoring organizations support child care homes with training and monitoring. All child care programs participate in CACFP through a sponsor.

What kinds of meals are served?

CACFP meals follow USDA nutrition standards:

  • Breakfast consists of milk, fruits or vegetables, and grains.
  • Lunch and Supper require milk, grains, meat or other proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Snacks include two different servings from the five components: milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, or meat or other proteins.

The CACFP nutrition standards for meals and snacks served in the CACFP are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Under these standards, meals and snacks served include a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat. In addition, the standards encourage breastfeeding and better align the CACFP with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and with other child nutrition programs.

USDA provides guidance, resources, best practices, and training for CACFP centers and day care homes to support them in providing healthy, balanced meals and snacks to the children and adults they serve.

One-Page Summaries of the Meal Patterns

Need a form for a meal count worksheet, portion menu, meal pattern guidelines? Maine government’s CACFP forms page has those any many others that providers can use to monitor and track their CACFP information.

Claims

Complete claims for reimbursement are submitted monthly on the proper reimbursement forms. Reimbursement is calculated using the number of reimbursable meals by type (breakfast, lunch, supper and snack) multiplied by the applicable income eligibility based rate per meal. Congress set the reimbursement rates which are updated yearly.

CACFP Reimbursement Rates 2020-2021


If you are not participating in CACFP and want more information about it contact the sponsor for your county.

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OFCS

Changes for Mandated Reporting Requirements

In the proposed Licensing Rule there is a fairly significant change to what is being required of providers in regards to notification of a child’s parents/legal guardians.

The previous Licensing Rules just required notification that providers were legally required to report any suspected abuse or neglect, so language such as this was enough:

Maine law states that certain people must report if they know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected, including physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

As a licensed family child care provider, I am a mandated reporter having a legal obligation to report suspected cases of child abuse/neglect to the Dept. of Human Services (Child Protective Intake Unit 1-800-452-1999)


CREDIT CHILDREN’S SERVICE COUNCIL, PALM BEACH COUNTY

With the 12/2020 proposed Licensing Rule we found new requirements that will probably mean a new policy for most providers.

While in section 7i you will find that policy addressing mandated reporting for staff is required, the extensive requirements are found in Section 2 Licensing Requirements and Procedures /

G. 8. The Provider must adopt a written policy for handling all suspected instances of Child Abuse or following:

  • a. Internal notification procedure of suspected Abuse or Neglect,
  • b. Conditions that require internal notification of the Provider,
  • c. The requirement that any suspicion of Abuse or Neglect must be immediately shared with the Provider,
  • d. The requirement that suspected Child Abuse or Neglect must be immediately reported upon suspicion to Child Protective Intake hotline,
  • e. Identification of personnel responsible for contacting the Child Protective Intake hotline, 
  • f. Protocol to notify all relevant parties (Parents, Staff Members, interns, or Household Members) that suspected Child Abuse or Neglect has been reported to Child Protective Intake,
  • g. Completion of Incident reports, including: the details of the allegation or suspicion, the date Child Protective Intake was called, which Staff Members and/or interns were notified the report was filed, and whether or not the Parent/Legal Guardian were notified of the allegation, and
  • h. Parental notification, including the determination of how and what information will be shared with a Parent/Legal Guardian when Child Protective Intake has been contacted. 

Then (misnumbered) as section 9 isn’t present …………

G 10. The Provider must develop a written policy to follow if an allegation of Child Abuse or Neglect is made against the Provider, any Staff Member, or Household Member in the Provider’s home. The written policy must include but is not limited to the following:

  • a. Prevention measures to protect providers from potential allegations;
  • b. Conditions of continued employment and access to Children during the course of an investigation by the Department;
  • c. Grounds for termination; 
  • d. The requirement to report suspected Child Abuse or Neglect occurring at any location in accordance with statute; and
  • e. Parental notification. 

Most providers will find the above a significant change. The PLC has gathered a variety of informational materials for providers to read over that can help in writing their policy. We have also found a few samples that language can be pulled from. If additional guidance comes from OCFS we will definitely add that. All this material is gathered together in the PLC’s Mandated Reporter folder.

The PLC shared the Licensing Rule section of the Business Tool at the March 2021 Family Child Care Statewide Online Community of Practice. ( If you want to join this community for family child care providers on the second Monday of April / 6-8pm / REGISTER HERE) This diverse group of providers participated in many discussions on policy samples and what’s new with this license. The question about online mandated reporter training came up, but we did not have the time to have an extended discussion about the new requirements around child abuse and neglect policy.

As was stated on the CoP it is the responsibility of each provider to read through whatever Licensing Rule will be impacting their operation as a small business. Each family child care program is unique and needs to develop the policies that meet their needs. The PLC will continue to do our best to provide resources that support providers develop the policies they need. As always if you have more questions reach out to FCCAM PLC and we will do our best to find answers.

Following is a language sample that the PLC has pulled together to at least provide a starting point for providers. Between this specific language and the language found throughout our other policy samples we feel we have meet the purpose of these new policy requirements. As always copy, paste and adapt to meet your program.


The Maine Office of Child and family Services (OFCS) operates the statewide hotline for child abuse and neglect. Highly trained staff is available to guide callers through the process of making a report of suspected abuse and neglect. Anyone who suspects an individual of child abuse or neglect in encouraged to call the Protective Hotline:

CALL: 1-800-452-1999

Deaf/Hard of Hearing Call Maine Relay 711

As Mandated Reporters any provider suspecting Abuse or Neglect must immediately report this information to Child Protective Intake Services, 1-800-452-1999, TTY 1-800- 963-9490 which is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Policy and Procedures

(Business name) believes it is important to remember each child is part of a family and a strong relationship between us that supports you in raising a healthy, happy child is our goal. We understand every household has a different parenting style and at (business) we strive to understand and respect the rights of parents. However we also know some parenting styles may place a child at risk of harm and/or injury. (Business) sees a responsibility to provide support and education to our families in an effort to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Maine law identifies any child care worker as a mandated reporter, as such we MUST contact the appropriate authorities when faced with the suspicion that a child is being abused or neglected, or witnesses an incident. Mandated reporters may not report anonymously. Mandated reporters are required to take training in child abuse/neglect recognition, prevention and mandated reporting laws.

Reporting Abuse and Neglect

A report must be made when the reporter suspects or has reasons to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected. Waiting for absolute proof may result in significant risk to the child. It is not the provider’s/staff’s job to validate the abuse; this is the job of CPS caseworkers or law enforcement officers who have been trained to undertake this type of investigation. When a provider or staff member suspects that a child is being abused or neglected, they will follow this procedure:  

  1. When there is reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect, provider and/or staff shall report it to the appropriate community agency.
  2. When providing information about the family, provider and/or staff will be conscious of the rights of children and parents. Great care will be taken to ensure the confidentiality of information and to share it only with those persons officially involved in the case. 
  3. If there is any question about whether the abuse/neglect is reportable, the provider will consult their state licensing specialist for advice about the procedure to follow.
  4. Written documentation is made of suspected abuse/neglect.
  5. The provider will follow up to ensure that appropriate action has been taken.
  6. When appropriate, parents or legal guardians will be informed that the referral has been made.
  7. Provider and staff will follow any of the mandated procedures by DHHS.
  8. The provider will preserve the confidentiality of all records pertaining to child abuse and neglect.
  9. The provider will represent (business) in any discussions with the child’s family.

When an employee/house member is suspected or accused of abuse/neglect of a child at (business) the plan of action is as follows:

  1. When there is reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect, provider and/or staff shall report it to the appropriate community agency.
  2. Documentation of the accusation is made.
  3. Once notified of the accusation Provider and/or Staff give a written account of the situation in question. 
  4. DHHS/licensing specialist is notified of the situation. 
  5. (Business) will follow the procedure outlined by DHHS for this type of situation.

• Staff who plead guilty to or are convicted of child abuse/neglect must inform the Provider.


Once cases of child abuse or neglect have been reported, they must be investigated and verified. All states and territories have specific requirements for the initial response by agencies receiving reports of child abuse and neglect. In most states, a screening process is used to determine whether a report will be accepted; this process includes a review of the report in the context of the state’s definitions of child abuse and neglect. Every state mandates that child protective services begin an investigation within a timely manner, usually within 72 hours, and in even less time when there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is in imminent danger.


There are many things child care providers can do to prevent abuse and protect themselves from false allegations. Reviewing program policies, hiring procedures and play areas with prevention in mind can help eliminate potential problems. Educating staff and volunteers about child abuse is a critical part of creating a safe environment for adults and children. The following guidelines may help keep children safe and reduce the risk of abuse and neglect in the child care setting.

  • The Family Child Care Licensing Rule requires criminal background checks for all staff, volunteers and house members.
  • Check at least two references before hiring a staff person and volunteer if unknown to you.
  • Access ongoing training to learn current information about the care, development and guidance of children and about child abuse issues.
  • Maintain appropriate child-to-staff ratios and small group sizes.
  • Do not allow any adult present on the Premises to be alone with one child out of view of other adults and children.
  • Encourage parents/legal guardians to join in your activities and to drop into the program whenever they can.

Make sure all staff members and volunteers understand appropriate and inappropriate ways to interact with children. The following are some basic behavior guidelines:

  • Never hit or strike a child.
  • Do not use physical punishment of any kind.
  • Hugs are okay if they are appropriate, as long as the child and the provider/staff are both comfortable. Take clues from the body language of the child, or simply ask, “Is it okay for me to hug you?” As the adult, if you do not feel comfortable with a hug from a child, tell them in a gentle way and suggest an alternative, such as holding your hand or touching your shoulder or arm.
  • Respect a child’s personal boundaries. Like adults, children have preferences about contact. Remember that some individuals like being close and getting hugs, but others don’t like a lot of close contact.
  • Infants and toddlers are at an especially high risk of being abused or neglected, partly because they cannot tell someone about the abuse. If these ages are in care, providers/staff need to access training focused on child development specifically for infants and toddlers.

Design of Child Care Environment
  • Set up your child care environment to make it easy to supervise all of the children at once.
  • Design play and other areas so that children can be viewed at all times.
  • Include some quiet areas for children while still being sure those areas can be seen by provider/staff.
  • Bathroom time needs close supervision. Allowing some privacy in the bathroom if a child requests it does not necessarily mean a closed door. You may want to have a policy stating that only one child uses the bathroom at a time. It can be as simple as everyone has backs to when waiting to use the bathroom. Mixed ages, as well as the needs of the individual children in care, will direct your policies.
  • Consideration is given to the appropriate ages and capacity for the program.

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OFCS, ECE Information

New Incentive to Join MRTQ PDN Registry Now!

**Just a reminder that the new Licensing Rule will be requiring all providers to join the Registry. FCCAM PLC has posted on this.

Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN) is partnering with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family
Services (DHHS, OCFS) to offer Quality Improvement Awards (QIA) to early childhood and out-of-school time practitioners in Maine. First-time Registry members who complete the requirements listed below are eligible for this one-time $100 award. The online application for these awards is scheduled to go live on March 15.

These awards will be given on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are expended.

Purpose:
To incentivize membership in the Maine Roads to Quality Registry with a $100 Quality Improvement Award.

Eligibility
To be eligible to apply for this Quality Improvement Award the individual must:
Have never been a member of the Maine Roads to Quality Registry.

Additional information about the Registry can be found on our website: https://mrtq.org/registryfaq/.


The following requirements must be completed within 14 calendar days of the initial application (Step 1):

  1. Complete the online Registry Application at https://mrtq-registry.org/ (click “Join”).
    Individuals must include current employment information.
  2. Individuals must submit all required documentation, including documentation of
    educational level, to mrtq-registry@maine.edu.
  3. Complete the on-demand six-hour training “Health and Safety Orientation.” Follow
    the login instructions to access this training.
  4. Complete the online application for the Quality Improvement Award New Registry
    Member. (scheduled to go live on March 15, 2021) The QIA award application will be available in the Registry at https://mrtq-registry.org.
  5. Already have or create vendor status in the University of Maine System. The form is
    available at: http://www.maine.edu/umsvendor.

Eric Norgaard, Statewide Registry Coordinator, will serve as the initial point of contact at MRTQ PDN for all Quality Improvement Awards. Eric can be reached at 207-780-4367 or eric.norgaard@maine.edu.


How and when will I receive my monetary award?
MRTQ PDN will verify that all of the above requirements have been completed within 14 calendar days. A check for the $100 Quality Improvement Award will be sent to you within 30-45 days of the receipt of all required paperwork. If you would like to check in on the status of your application or award check, please contact Eric Norgaard at eric.norgaard@maine.edu or 207-780-4367.


Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information

“Where Can I Go For Help?”

Family Child Care providers can find themselves feeling very isolated. This can make it difficult when they find themselves with a challenging situation, questions about policies, implementing the MELDS, or maybe questions around their environment. In Maine at this time, we are lucky to have a variety of options available to us for support. It can start with an online search, or accessing the variety of resources on this website, or asking a fellow provider for help.  You can also join one of the many MRTQ PDN Communities of Practice offered each month. 

What if you find you need more specialized support than those options provide? 

Welcome to the first post in our series about the Technical Assistance offered through Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN). Technical Assistance (TA) is the provision of targeted and customized support to help providers and staff develop or strengthen processes, knowledge application, or implementation of services to children and families. TA is provided through coaching, consultation, mentoring and peer-to-peer networking to providers and staff. 

In Maine, you can request FREE Technical Assistance (TA) through consultation from MRTQ PDN by:

  • Asking a question through phone or email
  • Contacting the “Warm Line” 
  • Requesting On-site Consultation (OC) 

Let’s look at what the “Warm Line” and “On-site Consultation” each provide and how each is accessed.

MRTQ PDN’s Warm Line provides preventative and nonemergency person-to-person support and resources. The Warm Line is NOT a hotline. 

The Warm Line is support that is available Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (except for holidays). Contact the Warm Line by calling 1-844-209-5964 or email: mrtq.warmline@maine.edu. All phone messages and emails will receive a response within one business day. The Warm Line Coordinator will be the initial contact. They will gather information from you to help identify your needs, at which point you may be connected to one of the Warm Line staff consultants.

The Warm Line is staffed by professionals with expertise in inclusive practices, disabilities, children’s health, social and emotional development, behavior, and early childhood mental health. These professionals can:

  • Talk through an issue or problem with you.  
  • Provide you with resources and strategies that you can use in your program, 
  • Share information about other MRTQ PDN services that could support your program.  
  • Assist you in making connections to other community or national resources. 

The Warm Line is available to:

  • Family child care  
  • Child care centers 
  • Out-of-School time programs  
  • license -exempt practitioners  
  • Nursery schools 
  • Head Start 
  • Public Preschool
  • Families 

MRTQ PDN’s On-site Consultation (OC) isn’t a specialist coming into your program telling you what to do to fix the situation you contacted them about. It’s a working partnership where you and a designated District Coordinator (DC) problem solve together. You are recognized as the expert in your environment with knowledge that they can not replicate. The DC is bringing a new set of eyes and additional resources to support you. They will work with you to problem solve, so you are able to provide the best care you can. You get up to six on-site visits (currently virtual due to COVID restrictions) with an option for renewal based on mutual agreement that ongoing support is required to meet the developed quality improvement goals.

Supports offered are generally related to one or more of the Quality for ME standards:  

– Licensing Compliance                                       
– Program Evaluation                                           – Staffing and Professional Development             – Learning Environment/Developmentally  Appropriate Practice
– Family Resources                       
– Family Involvement                      – Administrative Policies and  Procedures                                     – Authentic Assessment
Not sure if you’d ever use OC? Providers from across the state request on-site consultation for support on:
  • Guidance on policies and procedures
  • Arranging the environment
  • Help with accreditation
  • Improving family engagement
  • Implementation of Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards
  • Strategies for supporting children’s positive social and emotional development
  • Problem-solving approaches to prevent expulsion

On-site Consultation is available to:

  • Family child care programs • Child care centers • License-exempt practitioners • Head Start programs • Out-of-school time programs

On-site Consultation includes the following activities through mutual agreement between the DC (Technical Assistance Professional) and Consultee (Technical Assistance Partner):

  • Meeting with owner/director/individual staff / Development and implementation of an On-site Consultation Plan / Tour of facility / Resource/information sharing / Consultation evaluation

Additional activities may include:

  • Attending/facilitating staff/family/board/collaboration meetings / Assisting with referral to and consultation support from other educational and/or child/family serving agencies / Facilitating family involvement / Activities specific to the accreditation process /  Review/assist with administrative/program materials / Professional development / On-site observation

If your program is not enrolled with Quality for ME (QRIS), you will be encouraged to enroll as part of the consultation process. The proposed requirement of all providers enrolling their program in Quality for ME in the proposed Family Child Care Licensing Rule is expected to still be there after adoption of the Rule into law. (*see our post on enrolling in Quality for ME)


Let’s look closer at what a Request for On-site Consultation (OC) involves…..

Providers request On-site consultation (OC) from MRTQ PDN through an online process. 

  • Visit the MRTQ PDN website https://mrtq.org/onsite/ and click on the link to the On-Site Consultation Request Form.
  • Complete the online request and program profile, including reviewing and agreeing to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
  • The MRTQ PDN Technical Assistance Manager will contact you to gather more information and assign a DC.

The remainder of this first post on TA will expose you to the 3 page OC “Request” process. FCCAM PLC worked through the process taking screenshots of each section. While screenshots lengthen the post we have found providers appreciate this type of walk through. 

If you are logged in to MRTQ-PDN Registry you can request OC from this page ~

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If you are not a member of the Registry now is the time to join. Being part of the Registry is expected to remain as a requirement when the new Family Child Care Licensing Rule is adopted into law. (*see our post on joining the Registry)

Clicking “Complete a Request” under “On-site Consultation” takes you to a MRTQ-PDN page that explains what a consultation is. You will access the 3 page request application next.

You start with the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which you need to sign to participate. You have to be the owner or program director to request OC and complete the Request Application. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about this MOA further into the process.

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Click “Agree and Continue” to access the 3 page Request form. Again these are informational screenshots. They are not linked to the request form itself.

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Submit and your OC Request is completed!

If you didn’t complete it correctly you’ll get this:

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Completed successfully you see this:


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You should also see a notice to Login and complete a Program Profile. This is more detailed information about your program that MRTQ PDN has to collect as part of the consultation request. If you do not complete the profile page from the link provided when you receive the “Thank you” message, you will get an email reminder of the need to do this from Jill Downs, Technical Assistance Manager, who serves as the initial point of contact at MRTQ PDN for all OC requests. The Program Profile needs to be completed within 3 days of your request submission to be valid.


Remember Technical Assistance through On-site Consultation is FREE and there to support providers in providing the best quality of child care they can!

**Providers and staff earn recognized professional development hours for their direct work with the DC (Technical Assistance Professional).


The next post in the series will explain more about entering OC and setting your support action plan up. We are working through that process now.