Posted in DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information, Professional Development

Writing Teams and Targeted Reviewers needed for update of the Maine Early Learning and Development Standards

The Maine Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS) are the state’s learning standards for children ages three-five. Building from the Infant Toddler MELDS (IT MELDS) and bridging developmental expectations to the Maine Learning Results (MLRs), the MELDS inform all early childhood professionals about the typically developing expectations of young children as well as curriculum and assessment practices.

The MELDS Steering Committee is now accepting applications from individuals interested in being part of the review process to serve as participants on one of the writing teams, or as a targeted reviewer.  The Steering Committee is seeking professionals in the field of Early Care and Education that work or have worked with or on behalf of children

Prospective participants must apply by clicking HERE no later than February 21, 2023.


FAQ sheet to understand the details of participation:

Q: What are the Maine Early Learning Development Standards (MELDS)?

A: Early Learning and Development Standards describe the concepts and skills children develop and learn along the developmental continuum from birth to kindergarten entry. Their purpose is to support the development and well-being of young children and to foster their learning. 

The standards promote the understanding of early learning and development, provide a comprehensive and coherent set of early childhood educational expectations for children’s development and learning, and guide the design and implementation of curriculum, assessment, and instructional practices with young children. 

Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS) serve as a guide for state and local early childhood educators’ efforts to improve practice and programs for young children during their preschool years.  The Infant/Toddler MELDS is a companion tool for ages birth-36 months. 

Q: Who should consider participating? 

A: In order to develop an evidence-based set of standards, we are seeking a diverse population of professionals from the Early Care and Education (ECE) field:

  • Child Care and School Administrators 
  • Child Care Health Consultants
  • Child Care Providers and staff of all licensed programs (family, small facility, facility, nursery school, out of school time programs)
  • Child Care Providers and staff from licensed exempt programs
  • Early educators within the school setting (Pre-K through 3rd grade)
  • Ed Techs
  • English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Professionals
  • Head Start staff
  • Higher education professionals and their students within or specializing in the ECE/ECS field
  • Individuals that provide professional development to the Early Care and Education field 
  • Parents, Guardians, Caregivers, or Family Members
  • Special Education Teachers / Specialists
  • Student and School Support Specialists: Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapists, School Counselors, School Social Workers, Interventionists, Title I staff
  • Other professionals serving families of young children  

Q: What are writing teams and what is the time commitment? 

A: Each of the domains of development will need a team of professionals to review content for relevance and alignment to current research in order for the MELDS to provide early childhood educators with guidance as they design inclusive environments, shape curriculum, lead professional development initiatives, build intentionality into teaching practice, engage families, and support children’s learning at home.  The domains include:  

  • Social and Emotional Development
    • Goal Areas: Trust and emotional security, self-regulation; sense of self, self-awareness, and self-concept, relationships with adults, relationships with children
  • Approaches to Learning
    • Goal Areas: Engagement and persistence, initiative and curiosity, creativity
  • Early Language and Literacy
    • Goal Areas: Language comprehension (receptive language), language expression (Expressive/productive communication), emergent literacy
  • Physical Development and Health
    • Goal Areas: Perceptual development, gross motor (large muscle), fine motor (small muscle), self-help and adaptive skills
  • Cognitive Development
    • Goal Areas: exploration and inquiry, concept development and working memory, reflection and problem solving, mathematical thinking, scientific reasoning, social studies learning

In addition to the domains of development, there are additional sections of the document that will need review.  Those sections include:  

  • Introduction, History, Key Components of an Early Learning Standards, 
  • Purpose Statement and Potential Users, Guiding Principles and Universal Design for Learning
  • Introduction to the Stages of Development Ages 3-5

Time Commitment: The facilitator(s) for each writing team will determine the time necessary for both whole group and individual review. Participants should expect this to be no more than two hours per week. Writing teams will convene in March and work through June.

Q: What are targeted reviewers and what is the time commitment?

A:  Targeted reviewers will review the updated sections provided to them and offer structured feedback. Targeted reviewers will begin review once the initial updates have been made to provide feedback to the Steering Committee.   

The time commitment will be less for targeted reviewers than writing team participants, however the  window for review and feedback will be shorter and more time sensitive (approximate document turnaround time of two weeks).

Q: What will I earn in exchange for my time and expertise?

A: Not only will individuals be afforded an opportunity to participate in furthering the field of Early Care and Education, but each participant will also be awarded contact hours at the completion of the writing team cycle based on attendance and at the discretion of the team leader.

Contact hours may be used for furthering education, documentation of professional development experiences, or for continuing education credits (CEUs) and/or training hour conversion. 

Q: Why is periodic updating of learning and development standards important?

A: Research in the field of early care and education is constantly evolving.  A regular process of updating early learning and development standards helps to ensure their validity and alignment with other sets of standards across the birth to grade 12 spans.  The updated MELDS will result in a child-centered tool that will inform program development, instruction, assessment, policy decisions, and professional learning for early care and education efforts across Maine. 

Q: What is the overall timeline for the MELDS revision?

A: MELDS revision began in the Fall of 2022 with the creation of the Steering Committee. This group has been meeting regularly to discuss the current format of Maine’s MELDS as well as to review feedback from the field, other states’ Early Learning and Development Standards and national research trends/findings. The remaining work is set to unfold on the following timeline:

January-February 2023: Recruit writing team members and targeted reviewers

February 2023: Assign Steering Committee members and teams to review the current standards

March-June 2023: Teams will work to review terminology, assure alignment to Maine’s Infant/Toddler MELDS and to the Maine Learning Results, and review for readability, diversity, inclusion and ease of use

July-August 2023: A final version will be translated and introduced to the field for further use


If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Education’s Early Childhood Specialist, Nicole.Madore@maine.gov or the Office of Child and Family Services First4ME Program Manager, Megan.Swanson@maine.gov

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS, MRTQ-PDN, Professional Development, QRIS

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)…..?

As family child care providers, we are all small business owners who provide education and care for young children. In creating and operating our unique small businesses, we each strive to provide the best program we can. A part of that effort is continuously reflecting and assessing our own program and practices. Over time that reflection and assessment process becomes a ritual and a continuous learning process.

Continuous Quality Improvement is just that, continually doing our best to grow in our knowledge, so we can offer the best program for the children in our care. 

In Maine, providers are lucky to have a variety of agencies and organizations that are present to support our CQI efforts. Some of these are Let’s Go 5-2-1-0, ECCP, MRTQ PDN (technical assistance, training, community of practices, cohorts) and FCCAM (resources, informational posts, training). 

There is also DHHS Licensing, their job is to be sure a program’s environment is safe and policies are in place to be sure minimum appropriate practices around health and safety are being upheld or followed. They do not tell programs what best practice is, they are focused on  the foundational health and safety pieces.

Maine also has a 4 Step Quality Rating Improvement System – Quality for ME. Referred to often as just QRIS. Quality for ME was a voluntary program from its inception, until the current Licensing Rules (Family Child Care and Facilities) took effect in 2021. Now all licensed programs in Maine are required to complete the Quality for ME application.

For many providers this has become an area of confusion, concern, stress or frustration.


First, MRTQ PDN Registry and Quality for ME (QRIS) are different. Quality for ME is about the program, while MRTQ registry is about the individual, the provider.

Then you add in the confusion about “Rising Stars”. What are the changes from Quality for ME? When is it going to be required? What happens to a program’s current Quality for ME Step level? Why Stars?

In addition to the Rising Stars Pilot report we know that Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Office of Child and Family Services, (OCFS) held a public hearing via zoom on 10/5/22 to gather feedback and comments from the field on the proposed QRIS change to Rising Stars. Department responses have not yet been released regarding the comments made on 10/5. Their responses to the comments should be the next step in the proposed change whether it moves forward or not. In addition, there is an even broader national discussion about why the “R”? Why not just “QIS”- Quality Improvement System. Continual support for program quality……

Concerns heard from providers and the national discussion added to the discussion of FCCAM’s Professional Learning Committee (PLC) while they built the “Everything Notebook”. In addition, there was also discussion at MRTQ PDN with the outcome of 2 statewide communities of practices that will support practitioners in learning more about the QRIS system in Maine and offer support(s) that will aid programs in their improvement efforts. 

MRTQ PDN and FCCAM PLC are co-facilitating the Community of Practice just for family child care providers. Together we are examining what Maine’s current QRIS expects of providers, sharing experiences, styles of documentation, and resources. This work will not only help us meet the current system requirements but it will help us prepare should Rising Stars be released.  The community of practice is titled: Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) because that is the underlying goal, to build understanding and confidence in approaching self-assessment and reflection of your practices and the continual learning that addresses program quality and individual professionalism.

Following the spreadsheet and table ideas the Professional Learning Committee used to build the “Everything Notebook” and looking at the checklists around Licensing Rule requirements on the FCCAM website, work was done to build such tools for the current Quality for ME Steps and what the pilot report informed us about the direction for Rising Stars.


The tables comparing Steps to Stars were shared by FCCAM PLC on the first CQI CoP. These tables list all requirements for each Step. They are broken out by Standards. If there is a corresponding Standard and requirements suggested in the Pilot Report for Stars that is included. Any new Standards for Stars recommended in the report are also included. Anything highlighted in Blue is currently a requirement in the Licensing Rule.

*Again what is shared about Rising Stars is our best guess from what information has been shared following the pilot. If changes are made to the Rising Stars information or requirements, if and when it is released, the CQI CoP will shift their information and resources to meet any new requirements.   

So providers can see what they have already in place and what more is expected for each Step Level we divided QRIS up into its Standards. We looked at a Standard and listed requirements for each Step. If providers and thus their programs are in compliance with the current Licensing Rule then they are eligible to be placed on Step 1, but may find they have many requirements for other Step Levels also done.

FCCAM PLC built the Standards Sheets in both spreadsheet and table formats. They can be used digitally or printed off.

To move up Steps: you need to assess and compare what you are currently doing within your program and practice to what the systems require, identify the gaps and address them. The CQI CoP is committed to helping providers look at requirements and figure out what they need to adjust and fill the gaps to meet requirements. Again we want to be clear with providers that Quality for ME is still a voluntary program in regards to moving up Steps. Programs are just required to complete the application, and stay enrolled by reapplying every three years, nothing more.

There are currently MRTQ PDN Quality Improvement Award incentives around moving up steps, subsidy reimbursement increases and even tax incentives for families to claim at different Step Levels.

In addition to CQI CoP, MRTQ PDN also offers free technical assistance/ consultation to programs looking to move up the steps of QRIS. You can learn more about that opportunity through MRTQ PDN Consultation

Also be aware that for any provider who wants to reach Step 4 you will need to be NAFCC Accredited. MRTQ PDN is there to help you with that process. They offer a variety of support for that.

MRTQ PDN will soon be offering an informational meeting on 3/9/23 from 6-7:30pm via zoom on NAFCC Accreditation and the support(s) offered through MRTQ PDN. If interested in learning more about NAFCC Accreditation you can register HERE

Parents and potential clients can see a program’s Step rating on childcarechoices.me. Not having a clear understanding that QRIS is a voluntary program they may not understand what the rating represents. An individual provider is free to share their MRTQ PDN Professional Development Profile to show and highlight all their training and professional development they have done. This sharing can help inform both current and future clients of the work you put in professionally to provide a quality program. 


What is a QRIS?

The National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (NCECQA), funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, defines “The Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) is a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early and school-age care and education programs.

  • Increase quality of early care programs
  • Increase parents’ understanding of higher quality early care and education
  • Increase professional development opportunities
  • Create a cross-sector framework 

Through the current self-assessment, Quality for ME can help programs identify their needs for additional resources and supports to increase their level of quality.

In Maine, DHHS administers both Child Care Licensing and Quality for ME, but each is managed within a different division. Licenses are issued and monitored by the Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, Child Care Licensing Unit. Quality for ME is administered by the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS), Early Intervention and Prevention Division. The divisions share information regarding a program’s current licensing status and compliance history, but Child Care Licensing staff do not make decisions about the Step at which a program is rated. OCFS makes the final determination on a program’s Step rating and issues the appropriate certificate based on the provider’s answers to the questions on the application. 

Step ratings are valid for a three-year period, unless a program no longer meets the standards for their assigned Step. A program can and should reapply anytime there is relevant information that needs updating.


A provider/owner/director applies for Quality for ME at https://qualityforme.org, by entering the program’s license number. The application system will access administrative data about the program, including: 

  • Licensing status and if relevant, any current violation information. 
  • Staff members on the MRTQ Registry, including Level(s) on the Career Lattice and whether or not staff have completed specific training 
  • Program accreditation status 

Completing the application means you are answering questions/self-assessing your program. Be sure to click through to the final screen and click “Submit” to ensure that your application is submitted. Remember, a program can and should reapply anytime there is relevant information that needs updating.  

Upon completion of the online application, the program will be given a Step rating, along with information about what standards need to be met in order to reach the next Step. A staff member at OCFS will review the application and the program will be formally notified by mail with a certificate indicating the Step rating with Quality for ME. 

A paper application link.

While the application is a self-assessment, programs need to have supporting documentation for their answers that standards at each level have been met. The documentation can be gathered into a digital portfolio on your computer or a physical notebook kept on your premises. If you are chosen for an on-site portfolio review it has to be available.

An on-site portfolio review? …….

The purpose of this announced and mutually agreed upon visit by OCFS is to review supporting documentation to validate the program’s self assessment in the online application process. Programs are selected from a random list of programs with Step 2, 3, or 4 ratings based on geographic regions. Remember if you are in compliance with the current Licensing Rule you meet Step 1 requirements, that documentation is already reviewed by Licensing Specialists.


Posted in DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information

Bipartisan Policy Center Reports Child Care Improvements in Maine

Maine Office of Child and Family Services release ~


January 27, 2023

Child care access and integration with early childhood education increased significantly in Maine between 2019 and 2022, according to a new analysis and report by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).

In October 2020, BPC released a report, Child Care in 25 States: What We Know and Don’t Know, that included interactive maps quantifying the supply of, and need for, child care. Maine was among the first of the participating states to provide updated data, with the new analysis showing the overall gap between capacity and demand in Maine has decreased from 4,921 slots to 3,079 slots since 2020, a 34 percent improvement.

While this reduction is a significant improvement and represents one of the smallest gaps in the states that BPC has reviewed, the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) remains committed to closing the child care gap in Maine. It also recognizes that some of the narrowing of this gap results from fewer families seeking child care, U.S. census data. OCFS, along with the Children’s Cabinet, continues its aggressive policy work to expand capacity and support child care workers so all parents who need it can access quality child care.

BPC also this month released a report showing Maine has improved from 16th to 10th in state rankings on integration of early care and education. The improvement is primarily attributed to the change made in 2019 to move child care licensing under the purview of OCFS. Creating an Integrated Efficient Early Care and Education System to Support Children and Families: A State-by-State Analysis offers a window into the opportunities — and challenges — in administering comprehensive Early Care and Education (ECE) systems.

This progress reflects significant and ongoing work consistent with the Child Care Plan for Maine, including:

  • Distributing over $72 million in stabilization grants to help providers recover from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Distributing an additional $13.6 million in transition grants to aid providers as the stabilization grants concluded
  • Establishing Child Care Infrastructure Grants, which are forecasted to add thousands of new licensed child care slots throughout the state
  • Distributing salary supplement payments to over 1,500 child care facilities and family child care providers to support their workforce
  • Assisting low-income families by waiving Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) parent fees for families at or below 60 percent of the State Median Income
Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Update: Provider Transition Grants & Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplements

Information received from the Office of Child and Family Services
Date: January 19, 2023

As previously announced, the Provider Transition Grants will continue for the months of January, February, march and April 2023 and programs will be eligible to receive $25 per licensed capacity slot. Transition Grants will end after the April payment is issued in May. Please remember payments received are for the previous month.


The Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplements are ongoing using State General Fund dollars and will not end when the Provider Transition Grants end. To be eligible:

  • Providers must update the MRTQ registry AND the Early Childhood Educator Workforce
    Salary Supplement Portal
    with any staffing changes each month by the deadlines below.
  • February 6, 2023, for the month of January 2023.
  • March 6th for the month of February 2023.
  • April 6th for the month of March.
  • May 6th for the month of April.
    Reminders;
  • If you forget your access code for the ECE Salary Supplement Wage Portal, there is a link
    to retrieve it on the log in page.
  • If there have been no changes to your programs’ staff, then you may disregard this
    reminder.
  • If you already registered, you do not need to register again you will continue receiving
    payments.
  • ECE Salary Supplement Program Guidance and Training
Posted in DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information

Health Insurance Options through Maine Marketplace

Maine Office of Child and Family Services Jan. 5, 2023 memo ~

Attention Early Care and Education Providers,

Open Enrollment ends on January 15th!

The Department of Health and Human Services has recorded a webinar to assist Early Care and Education providers in navigating available health coverage options and tools to assist with selecting a health insurance plan.

You can now visit CoverME.gov, Maine’s Health Insurance Marketplace, to shop for and select an affordable health insurance plan for 2023.

At CoverME.gov, Mainers can compare private plans, apply for financial assistance, and enroll in a 2023 health plan. Health plans offered on CoverME.gov provide quality, comprehensive insurance that covers preventative screenings and provides financial protection in case of accident or major illness.

Early care educators often face struggles with obtaining affordable health insurance. The 2023 Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Period, which ends January 15th, provides an opportunity for these educators to obtain affordable health insurance coverage.

With the expanded subsidies available to individuals under the American Rescue Plan, uninsured early care educators may be able to obtain Marketplace coverage with premiums as low as a few dollars a month. Medicaid expansion in participating states, like Maine, offers another opportunity for some educators to obtain coverage. These programs provide important pathways to ensure financial stability and protect the health and wellbeing of those who educate and care for the Maine’s children.

We encourage you to explore CoverME.gov for more information and thank you for your continued dedication to Maine’s children and families.

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

NEW! Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) Initiatives

Taken From: Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services
November 28, 2022
MEMORANDUM

The Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) Child Care Subsidy program (CCSP) will begin
two new initiatives to increase access to affordable, high-quality child care for Maine’s working families.

Incentivize licensed child care programs to accept CCSP. OCFS has allocated $3,000,000 of ARPA CCDF Discretionary Funds to distribute a one-time stipend per child in the child care program receiving CCSP.

  • Program must meet the following criteria:
    – Providers must have an active CCSP Provider Agreement at the time of payment.
    – Provider must have an active license at the time of payment.
  • A $500 stipend will be provided per child in attendance and receiving reimbursement for at time of payment.
  • Four (4) quarterly payments will be made with the first payment in January 2023.

Further incentivize providers to offer infant care by increasing an existing stipend from
$100 to $150 per infant per week. OCFS has allocated $500,000 to increase the weekly infant
stipend by $50.

  • The increase will begin 12/31/22 and run through 09/30/23.
  • The criteria for the Infant Stipend remains the same. Please see the Infant/Toddler
    Incentives Memo.pd
    f (maine.gov) for details.

For more information on CCSP or becoming a CCSP provider, please contact our office at 1-877-680-
5866 or 207-624-7999 or CCSP.DHHS@Maine.gov.


Providers can find additional information and resources on CCSP at Child Care Subsidy Information for
Providers | Department of Health and Human Services (maine.gov).

Posted in DHHS / OCFS

New ECCP® Stipend Award Program Announced

FROM: Office of Child and Family Services
The following is from a memo sent out on Nov. 14, 2022
. FCCAM has added additional information.

CCDF ARPA Discretionary Fund ECCP® Stipend Award Guidance

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) included $14.99 billion in supplemental Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Discretionary Funds. Maine received $45.7 million of these Federal funds. The Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) will begin a new initiative to further stabilize and support Maine’s child care providers, and continue to place value on the three goals outlined in the Child Care Plan for Maine: increase access, quality, and workforce.

OCFS has allocated $1,455,000 ARPA CCDF Discretionary funds to incentivize child care programs to participate in Maine’s Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP®) program. Programs that participate in Core Classroom Services or Family Child Care Provider Services through ECCP® are eligible to receive stipends.

OCFS will issue stipends to a maximum of 220 providers through September 30, 2023, or the until funds are exhausted.

Eligibility & Requirements:

  • Eligible programs may receive a one-time $5,000 stipend per classroom or family childcare program after completing participation in Core Classroom Services OR Family Child Care Provider Services through September 30, 2023.
  • Licensed child care facilities and licensed family child care providers are eligible for stipends. License-exempt and programs licensed solely under the Department of Education, such as a public Pre-K classroom, are not eligible for stipends.
    • Stipends will be awarded per classroom. Programs may receive multiple stipends if they meet the criteria below.
    • ECCP® Child-Specific Services through ECCP® are not eligible for a stipend.
  • Requirements for a completed service include:
    • The program must complete all service visits in the Core Classroom OR Family Child Care Provider Service up to and including the one-month follow-up visit.
    • To qualify, the head or lead teacher in the classroom or program receiving the Core Classroom OR Family Child Care Provider Service must remain employed by the program and serving as the head or lead teacher in the classroom throughout the service through the one-month follow-up visit. If the head or lead teacher leaves employment or is reassigned to another classroom prior to the one-month follow-up visit, the classroom or program will not be eligible for a stipend.
  • Licensed child care facilities and licensed family child care provider programs who have already completed a Core Classroom Service OR Family Child Care Provider Service since January 1, 2021, may be retroactively issued stipends.
    • OCFS will identify programs eligible for a retroactive stipend and contact the program directly.
  • Programs must allocate a minimum of 30% ($1,500) of each awarded stipend directly to currently employed classroom staff who participated in the Core Classroom OR Family Child Care Provider Service. Staff that are no longer employed by the provider are not required to receive this allocation.

Family Child Care Provider Services (from ECCP® program brochure)

The Family Child Care Provider Service, a specialized version of the Core Classroom service designed for the unique needs and environment of the family or home-based child care provider, is a good resource for providers seeking to improve overall quality, introduce or strengthen social-emotional learning, help children with emotional regulation, improve transitions, or enhance relationships with families. Family Child Care Provider Services involve weekly on-site consultation visits for approximately 8-10 weeks with a one-month follow-up visit.

This service focuses on supporting, coaching, and offering practical strategies to strengthen a provider’s ability to help children express their emotions, manage peer dynamics, and respond effectively to challenging behaviors. Consultation is provided on-site at the program on a weekly basis. This is a strengths-based service that respects each program’s needs and perspectives.

Family Child Care Providers may self-refer their programs.


There is no application to complete. OCFS will identify programs that qualify for the stipend and
contact the program directly once the program has completed an ECCP® Core Classroom Service OR Family Child Care Provider Service.

ECCP® is currently available in the following counties: Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland,
Hancock, Kennebec, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Washington, and York counties. Per recent legislation, ECCP® will be expanding statewide after January 2023.

Maine ECCP® website

For more information on ECCP®, please contact our office at 1-877-680-5866 or 207-624-7991 or ECCPProgram.DHHS@maine.gov.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to provide further information: ARPA ECCP Stipend FAQ 11.18.22.pdf

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

REGISTER for the ECE Workforce Salary Supplement Program & Provider Transition Grant

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) is pleased to announce registration is now open for the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program and the Provider Transition Grants.

Registration for both programs are within one form and funds will be distributed at the same time each month.

Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program

In April 2022, Governor Mills signed the supplemental budget which included salary supplements to increase the pay for early childhood educators employed in licensed child care facilities and family child care programs. The budget provides more than $12 million in ongoing state General Fund dollars to increase pay for early childhood educators providing direct care to strengthen the Early Care and Education system across Maine.

  • The first payments to the workforce will be issued in October 2022 and, as with the ARPA grant, these salary supplement payments must be paid directly to the early childhood workforce. These supplemental payments are required for all providers to receive and pass through to their eligible staff.
  • In addition to the $200 staff supplements, 7.65% additional funds will be added to cover the cost associated with the staff supplements in the providers’ monthly payments.

Providers who have previously received ARPA Child Care Stabilization grant payments WILL receive an email with a link and an access code to their personal registration form. Providers will need to have the following information ready for all eligible staff to update their information in the registration form:

  • Confirm program information within form is up to date,
  • The names of all staff,
  • The staff’s individual email addresses, and
  • The staff’s career lattice level from Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ).
  • Providers must be open and providing direct child care on a regular basis at the time of registration
  • Programs must have a valid Vendor Code with OCFS

Upon submitting the program information, providers will receive an access code via email that will allow them to gain entrance to the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program.

Provider Transition Grants

OCFS will begin distributing the Provider Transition grants in October 2022 to licensed child care providers to help stabilize and support child care in Maine. The grants will be administered for 8-months. This support comes from the federal American Rescue Plan’s supplemental Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Discretionary Funds.

  • The first 4 months (September, October, November and December), programs will be eligible to receive $50 per licensed capacity.
  • The last 4-months (January, February, March and April) programs will be eligible to receive $25 per licensed capacity. 

All licensed child care providers may register for the first installment of grants if they are providing direct child care by September 1, 2022. Future payments will be automatic. Registration after October will be on a rolling basis. Programs approved will only be required to apply once.

The following link is to a webinar containing guidance and detailed instructions for how to complete the registration. Also below are the webinar’s PowerPoint slides. Please review both the webinar and the slides carefully prior to beginning the registration. https://video.maine.edu/media/Early+Childhood+Educator+Workforce+Salary+Supplement+Pro gram+Webinar/1_19z3x0ek

The Early Childhood Workforce Wage Supplement program and the Provider Transition grant registration may be found here:  https://apps.web.maine.gov/online/childcare_grants/provider/login

Please visit the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program website at: https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/provider-resources/early-childhood-educator-workforce- salary-supplement-program


For questions or more information, please contact:  ECEWageProgram.DHHS@Maine.gov

Posted in DHHS / OCFS

ARPA Extension for Child Care Providers!

DHHS announced Sept. 15, 2022 that the Office of Child and Family Services will begin providing a Provider Transition Grant for licensed child care providers to help further stabilize and support child care providers in Maine using remaining ARPA funding.  


The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) will begin distributing the grants in October of 2022 to licensed child care providers to help further stabilize and support child care services in Maine. The grants will be administered over a period of eight months.      

For the months of October 2022 through January 2023, programs will be eligible to receive $50 per slot based on licensed capacity.  From February 2023 through May 2023, programs will be eligible to receive $25 per slot based on licensed capacity.

Funds will be distributed at the same time as the monthly Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program with first installments issued in October. Note, this means beginning in October and ending after May of 2023, providers will receive one lump sum that includes both the salary supplements and the grants described in this memo. 

Additional information from OCFS will be forthcoming along with the registration for the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program.

These funds are intended to be used in accordance with the guidelines set forth under the ARPA stabilization grant.  Please view those guidelines here:

https://video.maine.edu/media/ARPA%20Webinar%20Recording/1_2dax53ys

Posted in DHHS / OCFS

Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program – Coming Soon

More details and how to register for this program are coming soon from Office of Child and Family Services


September 12, 2022 MEMORANDUM from OCFS:

In April 2022, Governor Mills signed the supplemental budget which included salary supplements to increase the pay for early childhood educators employed in licensed child care facilities and family child care programs.  The budget provides more than $12 million in ongoing state General Fund dollars to increase pay for early childhood educators providing direct care to strengthen the Early Care and Education system across Maine.

Maine’s Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program is designed to:

  • Increase early childhood educator’s regular pay through monthly cash awards;
  • Incentivize continuing education of the early childhood workforce; and
  • Raise the overall quality of care for young children.

With the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Child Care Stabilization grants scheduled to end August 2022 (payments in September), the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program portal will be opened in September 2022 (payments in October).  

  • The first payments to the workforce will be issued in October 2022 and, as with the ARPA grant, these salary supplement payments must be paid directly to the early childhood workforce. These supplemental payments are required for all providers to receive and pass through to their eligible staff. 
  • In addition to the $200 staff supplements, 7.65% additional funds will be added to cover the cost associated with the staff supplements in the providers’ monthly payments.
  • The Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program will be administered by Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) through the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS).