Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information, MRTQ-PDN

What’s Important About “SHORTcuts”?

All child care providers, whether they are licensed-exempt, FCC providers, center directors or any child care staff are required under the active Licensing Rules for FCC and Facilities to join the state’s Registry that MRTQ PDN handles. Part of being on the registry means you will receive “SHORTScuts” a weekly e-newsletter. It usually hits inboxes on Wednesdays.

Why should you care if it’s in your spam box or not?

Most of us get too many emails to deal with as busy providers. With our limited time to do required and recommended record keeping, when checking emails it’s just so easy to trash ones we see as unimportant to our daily work. And the ones already in the spam box are really easy to ignore. You want to check out SHORTScuts before you trash it. Yes, it’s a longer email, but you can quickly scroll through it only stopping at items of interest.

The weekly SHORTScuts is the best place to see what is happening in the wider ece field for trainings. MRTQ PDN has the ability to gather resources on training opportunities that no other organization or agency in Maine does. With SHORTScuts they have pulled together news about local, state and national training opportunities. If you see a training opportunity of interest you can easily access more information from the link buttons included in the descriptions. They also share informational updates, usually at the beginning of the e-newsletter.


Still don’t think you’ll have time to deal with checking your email for this weekly e-newsletter? That’s ok. MRTQ PDN has the publications from March 2020 to the latest SHORTScut e-newsletter on their website. You can always just go there.


The weekly SHORTScuts e-newsletter comes from: jennifer.wiles@maine.edu. Be sure to adjust your email’s recognition of this, so the email doesn’t sit in your spam box.

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information

ARPA Stabilization Grant 1st Payment is Almost Here!

FCCAM Professional Learning Committee reached out on the ARPA Stabilization Grant to see if we could get a couple of questions being raised by providers answered.

Our email: “The PLC has received questions about how providers will receive payment and when it will start. We have previously posted for providers to watch for regular mail containing information they would need to the grant application and the email that their application submission was received. We have been reminding providers to retain all communications around this ARPA Grant. 
We are wondering if you have future directive we can provide regarding email notification, regular mail payments, etc. Any informed information we can share with providers would be appreciated.”

The response: “If they are set up for direct deposit they will receive payment that way, if not they will receive a check in the mail.  Payments will start at the end of October.  We will be updating info /FAQs/ etc within the next few weeks.”


Providers are also asking about the amount stated on their email about approval of their grant application. This is not the first email that states your application submission went through ~

It’s the email saying after review your application is approved. This approval email will list the amount of your grant. This amount is the monthly amount, not the total amount of grant. Your total amount will depend on when you apply for the grant and are approved. If you got in before Sept. 30th, your first payment will be coming the end of Oct. ’21. If you continue to provide direct care you will get monthly payments of the grant through Sept. ’22. This ARPA Stabilization grant is to run from Oct. ’21 to Sept. ’22, a maximum of 12 months. With this being a rolling grant providers who did not apply before Sept. 30th will be able to apply going forward.

Also note that your business situation might change over the length of the grant. You will be able to update your application through self-reporting. Details on this will be coming.

Some providers have asked about the listing of dollar amounts for each of the QRIS Steps. This indicates what the increase you would see each month would be if you raise your QRIS Step level. The amount is a monthly amount, not per child. With the incentives available from MRTQ PDN for moving up Steps, providers might find this a good time to look at what is needed to move up QRIS Steps. FCCAM PLC is happy to help any of our members looking at this. MRTQ PDN also has free Technical Assistance(TA).

Is award based on capacity? No the monthly amount is based of the number you are licensed for. In our discussions the PLC figures the questions around capacity are there to gather data about what is happening in Maine around care availability. Are workforce shortages impacting this? Is Maine’s workforce getting back to normal? Are there child care deserts, where future funds need to be focused? Etc. Federal money has requirements attached to it.

Estimation of your expenses falls into the same place. Why is this asked? What if I don’t have a lot of expenses? How do I use up the money? Etc. Don’t worry about the amount of the estimated expenses, just be sure you track what you spend the grant money on. A previous posted resource about allowable expenses is a place to start.

We also want to remind providers that you need to:

This is a perfect time to look further at how you maintain your small business records. Record keeping is recognized as one of the best returns in increasing your income for time spent. It will be especially important to have a solid tracking system in place to track the ARPA Stabilization grant funds vs expenses.


FCCAM will continue to share updates on the grant through blog posts, on our Facebook page and under the “Stabilization Grant” menu tab. You can find additional resources under the “Stabilization Grant” menu tab.

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

ARPA Stabilization Grant First Deadline Fast Approaching

This is an informational post from FCCAM PLC. The PLC cannot provide you with specific information about your application. For questions about status or updates to your ARPA Stabilization Grant application contact:  ARPAChildCareGrants.DHHS@Maine.gov.

The ARPA Stabilization Grant which will provide monthly payments beginning in October 2021 through September 2022 to all eligible child care programs has it’s first deadline approaching. To receive an Oct. payment a provider/program must complete and submit their grant application by 5:00PM Thursday, September 30, 2021.

As providers ourselves we know how this seems to be just one more thing to juggle at this time and we already have enough on our plates. That said, the monetary return on the time spent to apply is pretty significant.

Programs only need to apply once. You will be able to update program information if needed at any time after applying.


Our understanding is that as of Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 only 58% of eligible programs have submitted grant applications. FCCAM continues to strongly encourage all eligible programs to apply for this grant. Yes, it’s income and you will be paying some additional taxes, but you will still walk away with an increase to your income. You have a good number of options on usage of these funds, such as: temporarily lowering parent fees, increasing staff wages or benefits, cost for mental health support or even debts caused by COVID.

All licensed child care providers and licensed exempt Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) nonrelative providers that are open and providing direct child care are eligible to apply for the ARPA Stabilization Grant.

This grant is providing a rolling application so eligible programs will be able to apply after Sept. 30th. Applying after Sept. 30th means you will forfeit the monthly installment payments that occurred prior to your application being accepted. (Example: applying in Nov. means first payment eligible for would be Dec. You missed out on Oct. and Nov. payments)


Eligibility is based on the following factors:
• Providers must be open and providing direct child care on a regular basis at time of the application.
• Programs must be in compliance with licensing rules.
• Programs must have a valid Vendor Code with OCFS. If you do not have one you can get one through OCFS. If you received one or more of these payment types: OCFS CARES Act or CRRSA Grant funding and/or Child Care Subsidy Program reimbursement, you have a vendor code.

Here are the requirements that we’ve hear has caused some concern/frustration for providers:
• All program staff must be active members in the Maine Roads to Quality. If you haven’t registered yet it only takes about 15 minutes and the current Licensing Rule requires joining. You do not need to have all your work experiences or trainings added at this time, just open up your registry account. This FCCAM post can walk you through it.
• Licensed programs must be active in the Quality for ME Quality Rating Improvement
System (QRIS). This is also a current Licensing Rule requirement for programs. It also takes less than 30 minutes. You do not need to go for your highest level just now, just get on QRIS. This FCCAM post can walk you through it.
• All owners, directors, and staff must have completed the State approved health and safety training within 90 days of hire. Here’s more info on that. This training is pretty easy to break up into short parts, so can complete it even with the busy schedule of providers and staff.
• Providers must supply on the application their program’s estimated current total monthly expenses. The key words here are estimated current monthly expenses. This is with time/share % figured in. List what you spend each month and what your income is. This info isn’t used to figure what your monthly payment will be, but can be thought of as data the state needs as part of administering the grant.


We hope you all apply for the ARPA grant!

Need more encouragement? Compare this scenario with your situation. Family child care providers also remember that you are STAFF for this grant.

Sole provider / licensed for 6 / subsidy / Quality for ME Step 3

  • capacity: $600
  • staff: $200
  • subsidy: $150
  • Step 3: $150

Monthly total: $1100

Payments start in Oct. 2021 and end Sept. 2022

  • Oct/Nov/Dec 2021: $3300
  • Jan thru Sept 2022: $9900

30% tax on this scenario’s extra income means you would still pocket about: $2300 for 2021 & $6900 for 2022

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Interpretation for English Language Learners

The Professional Learning Committee continues to review the FCC and Facility Licensing Rules as part of gathering resources to support providers. As part of this review we hit upon the requirement in the staff handbook that requires interpretation for English Language Learners.

This is not an area we have seen providers raising many questions about, but are also not seeing it addressed in policies we are seeing. We are wondering if providers have not picked up on it, as we had not in our previous readings of the Licensing Rule?

The diversity of Maine’s communities, whether urban or rural, continues to grow. This diversity is also being seen in the child care workforce, whether it’s staff or new programs being opened. With community changes providers are seeing the diversity of the children in care changing. The question becomes how we as small business owners address this diversity within our programs. Providing the service of child care we know that working with the child’s family is a major part of that we do. We want our client families to understand we are open to working together. Add in that best business practice tells us we should address our working practices within our policies. The PLC reached out to MRTQ PDN DC Marnie Morneault to discuss concerns of English Language Learners and some of the impact on providers and programs. As part of this discussion Licensing was also asked to clarify if the interpretation requirement was just for staff, as that was the only place we found it clearly required. Their response was that interpretation covered more than staff. It covered our work with children and communication with their parents/legal guardians. With this clarity the PLC felt it was important to provide sample language providers could use in their handbook covering interpretation.

The question became: “How do we make it clear that we welcome diversity and meet interpretation needs for English Language Learners (ELLs)?”

You might also see or be familiar with ELLs being referred to as: limited English proficient (LEP), Dual Language Learners (DLLs), home language, or primary language. In the past English as Second Language (ESL) was commonly used. That has changed with the recognition that many who are learning English already speak several other languages, so English would not be a “second” language.

What is language interpreting and translation?

Language interpreting is the conversion of one spoken language into another, where translation covers written language. Interpreting and translation also apply to the context of signed languages and tactile writing systems like Braille.

Looking beyond the child considering a child’s parents and/or your staff, they may have good conversational fluency in English, but may not be able to understand, discuss or read information proficiently in English. They may be reluctant to request or accept professional interpreting and translation services due to fear of costs, inconvenience, or concerns about confidentiality. We felt these barriers needed to be consider in development of policy language. Providers may already be addressing inclusion within a number of policies around children’s rights, parental communications, their program’s curriculum meeting individual child needs. Through continuing discussion specifically around language, the PLC thought it made sense for providers to add in simple, specific language that clearly mentioned working with English Language Learners. Working with Marnie we have 2 language versions that should meet that need.

If you have your handbook all updated for the new Licensing Rule, you can add this language as an addendum. If you print off your handbook you can now print off this language as a separate sheet and hand it out to parents. If you do your handbook online, it’s easier to make changes in the set-up. Make the change and then send an email with the link, verbally tell and/or note on your parent information board.

English Language Learners Policy (Families):

At ___ childcare we accept learners from all ethnic backgrounds.  The primary language we communicate in is ____.  If you communicate more comfortably in another language, please let us know.  We will make every effort to make our materials and communications accessible for you in your home language.  We will also incorporate your child’s language and culture into our visuals and communications as much as possible. 

English Language Learners Policy (Staff):

At ____childcare we employ staff from all ethnic backgrounds.  The primary language we communicate in is ______.  If you communicate more comfortably in another language, please let us know.  We will make every effort to make our materials and communications accessible for you in your home language.  


Additional resources for providers looking for more information on this topic:

Dual Language Learners: Considerations and Strategies (Head Start/ECLKC)

Dual Language Learners Resources | Early Childhood  (The National Center on Early Childhood Development)

Planned Language Approach: Tips for Getting Started (Head Start/ECLKC)

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information

Saying Yes! To the Stabilization Grant

Conversations questioning whether or not providers should apply for the lastest stabilization grant are going on. Members of the PLC have done research of federal/national resources, and reviewed other states’ approaches. FCCAM PLC is not offering any financial or legal expertise with this post. While FCCAM supports providers applying for this latest stabilization grant, it is up to each provider to make the best decision for their personal position and their small business’ sustainability.


Grants and loans are income for tax purposes, but unlike a loan you do not have to pay a grant back. A comment repeatedly heard in discussions has been in regards to providers not wanting to pay additional taxes. If you take this grant you would be paying additional taxes on the income from the grant, but at the same time you would be walking away with more money than you had without the grant. 

A common figure used for estimating what the extra tax basis would be is 30% – 40%. As self-employed, you have to pay 15% Social Security/Medicare tax; any state tax; and then the federal tax (following the current year tax brackets) on all income, including any grant money. If you are looking for an estimate of what to take off the top, look at 30-40% tax on the grant money.

Thinking of the grant as extra income, not extra taxes, here’s an example:

Provider licensed for 8, needing their full-time equivalent (FTE) to be at 5 to meet their annual business budget. 

“Full-time equivalent(FTE)” is a financial term. For child care it means filling up a care slot. It’s not licensed capacity. It’s how your care slots are filled. We all know we are licensed for a certain number, but we often have more than that enrolled in the program. That’s because if we are doing part-time or before-after school care we are juggling children to fill each care slot as full as possible so we are maxing out the potential income.

Do you turn away children when full-time equivalent is reached? For most the answer would be “No”. Extra income is made from those additional children in care, even minus the 30% paid in taxes. That extra income can be used for such things as a new car, kids travel teams, college tuition, home renovations, and retirement. 

In researching, there were only 2 examples provided where the grant might have a negative impact. One is if your health insurance cost is figured off your income. Any increase in income could cause you to have higher insurance costs that would outweigh the financial gain. The other is if your income is used in applying for financial scholarship relief for a child in college or preparing to attend college, or even yourself if you are in a degree program. In either of these situations you should contact the party that oversees them for more information.

Sole provider / licensed for 8 / no subsidy / Quality for ME Step 1

  • capacity: $800
  • staff: $200
  • subsidy: $0
  • Step 1: $50

Monthly total: $1050

*Payments of this grant which start Oct. 2021 are expected to last a year ending in Sept. 2022. Income received is thus split over 2 tax years: 3 months for 2021 and 9 months 2022.

  • Oct/Nov/Dec 2021: $3150 / 30% is $945 / income gained $2205
  • Jan thru Sept 2022: $9450 / 30% is $2835 / income gained $6615

From 8/3/21 OCFS memo: Grant funds are meant to cover COVID-related costs for the following:

  • Rent, utilities, facilities maintenance, and insurance
  • Reduction in family cost (i.e. registration fees, weekly child care cost for private pay parents)
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning, and other health and safety needs
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Goods and services
  • Mental health services
  • Paying for past expenses
  • Additional administrative expenses due to COIVD-19
  • COVID-19 testing and contact tracing
  • Additional food cost due to COVID-19; and/or
  • To prevent hardship due to closings in response to positive cases of COVID within programs or decreased enrollment
  • Hazard pay or bonuses to staff.
    • Staff support can include but not limited to staff sign-on bonuses, current staff bonuses, increased wages, hazard pay or back pay from March 11, 2021 on.
    • Grant funds may be used to support staff not eligible for the individual grant staff bonuses.

For the staff bonus you need to be sure your employees meet the federal definition: Employees are defined as individuals for whom you withhold and pay any federal and state payroll taxes. Independent contractors or anyone you provide a 1099 Form to are not considered employees. 

Here’s a Family Child Care Expense Tracking Tool which might help providers estimate their total of their program’s monthly expenses that the Maine application is asking for. 

If you have a wish list of items for future purchase, using grant money is an option. From the research, other states are allowing providers to take the full grant as income for themselves. It is not clear if this will be allowable in Maine. Most providers’ annual business expenses are already covered by collected parent fees. With receipts the grant amount can be used to cover your normal annual business deductions and parent fees would now be your income/profit. It’s all the same total money, just assigned different roles/purposes. Funding a retirement account with the grant may also be allowable. If you have debt for such things as medical expenses, or credit cards, paying those off might be better usage of funds. Paying off accounts like this (with accruing interest) you realize more return on that extra income in the long run. Then you might consider just setting extra income aside for that. All indications are that major renovations are not allowable as a usage for this money. Our situations are all unique and thus how we decide to proceed in usage of the extra income from this stabilization grant will vary

For a number of the business expenses fcc providers can write off as deductions the Time-Space % must be used. Consider that to cover or pay $0 in taxes on $3000 of the grant (at 30% tax) you would need to have deduction receipts that total $10,000. That means an additional extra $10,000 in receipts. Using the scenario of $3450 extra income for 2021, after just paying the 30%( $1035) for taxes you’re ahead $2415 for 2021 if you take the grant.

Many providers do not take all the deductions they are legally able to. Tom Copeland has some strong thoughts on this and has written many posts about taxes and deductions. Check out his posts.


Having some basic knowledge of tax brackets and how they work might help answer additional questions.

Your total income is not what you pay taxes on. Your taxable income is determined by finding your adjusted gross income and then subtracting either the standard deduction or itemized deductions. Here are the 2021 standard deductions amounts for each filing status:

Filing StatusStandard Deduction
Single$12,550
Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er)$25,100
Married Filing Separately$12,550
Head of Household$18,800

The IRS requires receipts for items that are claimed as deductions to be maintained for 3 years. States may have another standard. If you have staff you need to keep those payment records for 4 years. 7 years is only required if you claim a loss or bad debt as a deduction.

The tax you owe is figured by adding the amount for each of the brackets your income falls under. If you fall into 3 different tax brackets, you pay at those 3 different rates. It is a common misunderstanding that all of your taxable income is taxed at the highest rate. You would add them all up to find your total income tax owed. If you make just enough to fall into a higher tax bracket only the amount you made just over a bracket will be taxed higher. Check your copy of your federal and state tax returns for the last couple of years. You can see if your income and business expenses are aligning or if there is a major change in either. You can estimate what the grant income might do. 

You can find charts for all the 2021 tax brackets here.

Here’s how it would work for Married filing jointly:

$0 – $19,90010%
$19,901 – $81,050$1,990 + 12% of the amount over $19,900
$81,051 – $172,750$9,328 + 22% of the amount over $81,050
$172,751 – $329,850$29,502 + 24% of the amount over $172,750
$172,751 – $329,850$67,206 + 32% of the amount over $329,850
$418,851 – $628,300$95,686 + 35% of the amount over $418,850
$628,301 or more$168,993.50 + 37% of the amount over $628,300

For providers that are thinking about lowering their costs for parents for the year or not raising rates as planned, 2 points to consider: 

1 – It’s good business practice to keep your rates at least at the market rate for your county or raise your posted rate yearly considering the annual inflation rate. You do not have to charge families your posted rate. You can apply discounts per family as desired. Annual update of rates helps eliminate big rate changes.

2 – If you decide to reduce costs for families this year, you will not show an increase in your income and thus no taxes will be paid on grant money received. What will the impact be on your rates after this grant has ended?

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 / OCFS, 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 offer acceptable substitutes.

As family child care providers we have chosen an incredible career. It is both challenging and rewarding. When 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 / OCFS

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