Posted in ECE Information, Legislation

Supporting Maine’s Child Care Workforce

from FCCAM Public Policy Committee ~

This joint letter from organizations working on behalf of the child care workforce has been sent to Gov. MIlls. We are the workforce behind the workforce.


Dear Governor Mills,

Thank you for all you are doing to support Maine’s fragile child care industry during this crucial and unsettling time.  Such support has made the difference for many programs and enabled them to continue to serve working families.  Sadly, that is not the case for all providers and families. We are writing to you today to ask for your continued help and support during this critical time.

As you know Maine’s child care sector still faces many challenges:

  • 19% reduction in the childcare workforce since 2019, while program waitlists soar and families struggle to find care
  • 27% decrease in the number of family child care providers in Maine since 2010
  • 58% of Maine child care centers surveyed in 2021 reported being understaffed
  • The poverty rate for early educators working in child care in Maine is 16.5%, much higher than for Maine workers in general (9.4%) and 8.3 times as high as their K-8 colleagues (2%). 

Those of us who lead child care programs are making very difficult decisions while we face unprecedented staffing challenges: short term closings, shortening the hours we are open each day, closing for one day every week, closing down classrooms, and adding dozens more families to our waiting lists that we cannot serve right now.

Through federal Covid-19 relief funding, Maine has offered $200 per child care educator per month wage supplement as part of the child care stabilization grants from Oct. 2021 through Sept. 2022. We know that parents cannot afford to pay the much higher tuition costs that would be incurred to raise compensation in child care programs without public funding. As child care administrators, directors, owners, and teachers we can tell you that this public investment is working and we need this stable source of funding to continue. 

The cost to run this statewide wage supplement program will be about $20 million per year, to allow for a tiered approach to supplements that honors years of experience and credentials and degrees earned. We are asking you to invest in the workforce behind the workforce, the essential early educators of Maine, with $20 million of ongoing state funding. Maine needs to support the vital child care workforce, just as we are valuing and investing in our colleagues in K-12 and other direct care and education sectors. Thank you for your leadership and steadfast commitment to child care in Maine.

Sincerely,

YMCA Alliance of Northern New England

Family Child Care Association of Maine

Maine Head Start Directors Association

Maine Association for the Education of Young Children

Posted in ECE Information, Legislation

 Fuel Gas Detectors 

UPDATE (1/6/22): Licensed Child Care programs of any type/size are not included in this law, at this time. Our understanding is the question of why that is not the case has been repeatedly raised with the wider community learning about this law.

The Office of State Fire Marshal is ready to help providers with any questions around this law, appropriate detectors and even best installation location. Call:  (207) 626-3870 and ask for Brad Loon.

FCCAM knows laws can be changed and encourages providers to be proactive in regards to the safety of children in their care (and for fcc providers for their own families), if you have any appliance fueled by propane, natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas, consider getting the appropriate number of fuel gas detectors this new law is requiring for other businesses servicing children.

As small business owners of fcc programs, while we focus on what we can read in the FCC Licensing Rule at hand, it’s important to remember that outside agencies have changes that can impact that Rule. FCCAM just became aware of a new law passed by the Maine legislature in June of 2021 that might impact some fcc programs. We are not aware of any providers receiving any notification from OCFS on this, but from our reading of this law Family Child Care programs might fall under it. We will be reaching out to the Office of the State Fire Marshal and OCFS for clarification.

The Fuel Gas Detector law goes into effect on January 1, 2022.

Under the new law, MRS Title 25 §2469: Internal Security and Public Safety; Part 6: Fire Prevention and Fire Protection; Chapter 317: Preventive Measures and Restrictions; Subpart 2469: Fuel Gas Detectors, the owners of these properties will be required to install Fuel Gas Detectors. In accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements, at least one approved fuel gas detector must be installed in every room containing an appliance fueled by propane, natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas for the types of buildings listed below.

These ARE NOT the same device as a Carbon Monoxide detector and will not replace the need for those within buildings in Maine. Fuel gas detectors may be powered by any of the following methods, battery, plugged into an electrical outlet or hard wired. Regardless of the power source, the units must be maintained and installed per the manufacturer’s instructions. Fuel gas detectors will only be required to be placed within the room where a propane, natural gas or liquified petroleum gas fueled appliance is located.  


The building owner shall install, or cause to be installed, in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements at least one approved fuel gas detector in every room containing an appliance fueled by propane, natural gas or any liquified petroleum gas in: 

  • Each unit in any building of multifamily occupancy 
  • A fraternity house, sorority house or dormitory that is affiliated with an educational facility 
  • A children’s home, emergency children’s shelter, children’s residential care facility, shelter for homeless children or specialized children’s home. 
  • A hotel, motel or inn 
  • A mixed use occupancy that contains a dwelling unit 
  • A business occupancy 
  • A mercantile occupancy 
  • An assembly occupancy 
Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information

Latest CDC COVID -19 Guidance

What to do about COVID-19 continues to be an area of discussions among providers. The most recent is about whether to follow the new CDC guidance on COVID-19 or continue with the current practices. First, a reminder that CDC recommendations do not supersede state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations. As long as providers comply with state and local regulations, as small business owners, we are able to make the decision that works for our individual situation/program.

Whatever you decide works for you, please remember to have it as part of your written policies. With any change to policy, it is best practice to have parents sign off on being informed of the change. This is easy to do with a simple 1 page signature sheet you keep with your records.

Both the past guidance and new recommendations will continue to be available on the website. You can find them in the Menu under “Current Covid Info”.


Here’s what we’ve pulled from the CDC site as of 12/27/21:

CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation, if asymptomatic, from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days. Isolation is to be followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others, to minimize the risk of infecting others.

The ongoing scientific studying of COVID-19 and the current Omicron variant, is demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness. This is generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. The change in isolation recommendation reflects this.

The CDC also updated the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19.

  • For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days.
  • If a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
  • Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. 
  • For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure.
  • If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky: “The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society. CDC’s updated recommendations for isolation and quarantine balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives. Prevention is our best option: get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial and high community transmission, and take a test before you gather.”

Data from South Africa and the United Kingdom demonstrate that vaccine effectiveness against infection for two doses of an mRNA vaccine is approximately 35%. A COVID-19 vaccine booster dose restores vaccine effectiveness against infection to 75%.

COVID-19 vaccination decreases the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.

CDC strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 5 and older and boosters for everyone 16 and older.

Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information

Still Time to Enroll in Maine’s Health Insurance Marketplace!

As self-employed small business owners, family child care providers today have 2 options for health care coverage: insure under a partner’s employer-sponsored coverage or purchase our own through an Affordable Care Act Health Care Marketplace. In the past, many providers found ACA coverage while an option, still expensive and/or had high deductibles. If we have employees we are not usually in a place to provide them with health insurance and they face the same options: self coverage or partner’s. It’s important to know that with changes to the law, the Affordable Care Act Health Care Marketplace has become more affordable.

Maine now has their own Health Insurance Marketplace: CoverME.gov. Providers and their staff should check out their options before enrollment ends. It’s pretty easy. Create an account, fill out an application, and enroll in quality, affordable coverage.

Some Things to Know about the Marketplace Open Enrollment:

  1. Open Enrollment Period started on November 1 and runs until January 15, 2022.
  2. Consumers who enroll by December 15 can get coverage that starts January 1, 2022.
  3. The American Rescue Plan has provided increased financial assistance to lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs, making coverage more affordable.
  4. Health plans are available that offer doctor visits, emergency care, behavioral health care, preventive care , hospital care, and prescription drugs.
  5. There is more help available. To shop and compare health plans use Maine’s Plan Compare tool. It will take you through a few simple steps to find the right health insurance plan for your needs and budget.

*Sample of what might see as a plan from the Plan Compare tool for a single individual 57 years of age with income at $45000. There were 49 plan options.


CoverME.gov is operated by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services P.O. BOX 616 | AUGUSTA, ME 04332-6626 | 1-866-636-0355 | TTY: 711

Posted in DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information

Stay Informed!

Here’s recent news from the Governor’s Office and OCFS that FCC providers should be aware of ~

“The health of Maine people, the health of our economy, and the health of our future depend on three things: our ability to put the pandemic behind us, our ability to tackle the economic challenges immediately in front of us, and the ability to solve the longstanding, systemic problems that have held us back for decades,” said Governor Janet Mills. “These initial investments, which deliver crucial financial relief to small businesses and Maine people, are a down-payment on these efforts. When combined with our forthcoming investments to rebuild our workforce, expand access to child care and housing, and support new, innovative industries, we will build a stronger state and a better economy that provides people with good-paying jobs, the opportunity to put down roots, and an unmatched quality of life.”

Small Business Health Insurance Premium Relief Program

The Small Business Health Insurance Premium Relief Program provides premium payment relief to Maine small businesses who are enrolled in a fully-insured, community-rated small group comprehensive health insurance plan. A small group plan is a plan that covers 50 or fewer employees.

  • The program is part of Governor Janet Mills’ Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan. It is paid for by $39 million in federal funding from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act.
  • The program will run from November 1, 2021 to April 30, 2023, depending upon the continued availability of funding.
  • All insurance carriers in Maine offering fully-insured small group plans in Maine are participating in this program. The insurers participating are Aetna, Anthem, CHO (Community Health Options), Harvard Pilgrim, and United Healthcare.
  • More detailed information and sample carrier letters are provided in the linked documents below: Information Sheet – General, overall information about the program Carrier Questions & Answers – A running list of Q&As from the carriers Draft Letter from Insurers to Small Group Employers – Sample language for carriers to use in an initial communication with their small group plans about the requirements of the program Draft Notice from Insurers to Small Group Employers, to Include with Monthly Invoices – Sample language for carriers to include with monthly invoices sent to small group plans

Business owners should first contact their insurance carrier with any questions about the credit or their monthly invoices.  Business owners may also contact the Bureau of Insurance at 1-800-300-5000 or by email: Insurance.PFR@Maine.gov, for additional information.


The Maine Jobs & Recovery Small Business Grant Program

The Governor announced today that her Administration is launching the Maine Jobs & Recovery Small Business Grant Program. The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development is putting forward $5 million of the $20 million allocated to the program in total for grants targeted at supporting capital intensive businesses that still need immediate short-term help to sustain operations.

More specifically, the $5 million will be put towards expense-based grant relief to help businesses and non-profits with significant expenses related to loans and interest they incurred in order to sustain operations. The loans must be in deferral as a direct result of the pandemic and the business must demonstrate at least 20 percent lost revenue in the year 2021. Applications for the program will open November 1, 2021.

The remaining $15 million will then be made available in April 2022 in order for businesses and non-profits to easily utilize tax returns to demonstrate financial impact of the pandemic on their businesses and, therefore, qualify for a funding based on need. This approach – stabilizing businesses most in need now followed by larger grants later on – was developed by DECD in conjunction with the business community.

This new program comes on top of the more than $273 million the Administration has already provided in Federal support to 5,224 businesses and non-profits during the pandemic.


Moving Forward

In coming weeks, the Mills Administration will continue to announce more Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan investments to address known, systemic challenges that have constrained Maine’s ability to grow and thrive, with priority focus on investments to grow and develop Maine’s workforce.

With more than $300 million in planned workforce investments through education and skills training programs, workforce housing, childcare, worker attraction, and business supports, the Jobs Plan aims to make a measurable impact on Maine’s workforce trends and build an economy poised for future growth.

Workforce investments in the Jobs Plan include $105 million for workforce programs at Maine schools, community colleges, and universities; $50 million for affordable and workforce housing, $20 million to expand Pre-K and childcare infrastructure, and programs targeted directly at addressing pressing workforce needs in health care and clean energy fields.

Other investments from the Jobs Plan include critical infrastructure investments, such as expanding broadband, enhancing state parks, accelerating weatherization and energy efficiency projects, and upgrading municipal stormwater and drinking water projects.

Funding for the Jobs Plan is through the federal American Rescue Plan Act, which allocated $4.5 billion in stimulus funds to Maine earlier this year.

Coordination of the Jobs Plan is led by the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services and the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, through a new Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan Office.


The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)  Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) would like to share a helpful resource for Child Care Providers to utilize when determining the total amount of reimbursement per child when factoring in OCFS’s current incentives.  

Child Care Subsidy Program Reimbursement Initiatives

Providers can find specific examples for their county in the linked Child Care Subsidy Program Reimbursement Initiatives. Here’s an example of what you will see per county:

Posted in ECE Information

Help Spread the Word! Share with Your Families

sharing information from Maine Equal Justice ~

As many as 25,000 Mainers who don’t usually make enough money to file taxes may be missing out on their payments for the expanded Child Tax Credit.

Here are the most important things to know:

  • Families, including those with little or no income, are eligible to receive up to $3,600 for each child under 6 years old, and $3,000 for each child between 6 and 17 years old.
  • Some families will not receive these payments automatically, and need to act now to receive the Child Tax Credit payment this year.
  • The credit is not a loan and will not count against federally-funded public benefits, like TANF, SNAP, or MaineCare. It will count against state or town funded programs like General Assistance.
  • Immigrant families are eligible for the Child Tax Credit, as long as the child has a Social Security number (parents do not need to have a Social Security Number).

Families can get free, personal help filing for the child tax credit from a CA$H Navigator by calling any of the numbers below:

Capital Area CA$H: (207) 621-34430

Wabanaki CA$H: (207) 866-6546

Western Maine CA$H: (207) 778-7954

Non-English speakers can call Prosperity Maine: (207) 797-7890 

Families can use this simplified mobile-friendly tax filing tool to claim the child tax credit and missing stimulus payments.

Posted in ECE Information

2021 Virtual ECE Conference is Almost Here!

FCCAM encouraged providers to register for this virtual conference even if they could not attend it “live” as access to most of the presentations will be available for one year after the conference ends!

The 2021 virtual conference will be accessed through a platform called, PheedLoop. If you registered for the conference, on Monday, October 18th you’ll receive an email from PheedLoop giving you access to the virtual platform.  Whether you planned to attend “live” or access recorded presentations at a later time, go in an set up your conference profile, add a picture if you want, and explore the platform a bit. Learn more about PheedLoop and get acquainted with the virtual platform with this helpful video: PheedLoop Virtual Attendee Training

Even for those that had not planned to attend “live” you might find that you now can depending on your day’s schedule as you do NOT have to pre-register for sessions, you can just join in real time. There will be opportunities to connect and network with speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors, win prizes and books based on your participation in the virtual platform, and opportunities for real time video chats with Vendors and Exhibitors. 

For those that arranged to have a day or two at the conference we want you to also know that if you see presentations of interest scheduled at the same time, in most cases no worries, attend one “live” and watch the other as a recorded presentation.

** If your interest is in the Lisa Murphy workshops on Saturday at 10:30-12:00 and 1:00-2:30, these are not being recorded. You need to attend them “live”.

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 DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information

Maine’s Child Care Plan

material from September 2021 Updates for the Child Care Plan for Maine ~~~

FCCAM PLC has pulled sections that we feel providers need to be aware of as they may impact your small business. You can read the complete seven page plan: Child Care Plan for Maine.


“Maine recognizes the importance of quality, accessible, affordable child care to support working families. The benefit of quality child care is multifold – it supports working parents to provide for their families while children benefit educationally, socially, and emotionally from a caring, nurturing environment. From an economic perspective, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston states, “Research demonstrates child care problems lower worker productivity and cost U.S. employers and working parents billions of dollars annually. Furthermore, job stability and family income directly affect a child’s social, physical, and emotional health.” This Child Care Plan for Maine summarizes the system landscape pre-pandemic and the supports implemented to providers and families during the pandemic. Our focus then turns to recovery and the strategies that will be implemented to support Maine families, children, and child care providers toward a sustainable recovery and brighter future. This plan contains updates based on Federal guidance and the State’s disbursement of funds since May.”

Initiatives implemented beginning in state fiscal year 2021:

  • Providers participating in the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP):
    • Receive a weekly stipend of $100 per infant on CCSP.
    • Receive a 10% quality bump payment for infants and toddlers served through CCSP.
  • OCFS, in an attempt to boost the recruitment and retention of early child care educators, began:
    • Covering the cost of licensing fees for both family child care providers and facilities.
    • Offering several quality awards in partnership with Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN) with new Registry member awards, newly licensed mini-grants, moving up a quality level award, reimbursement for the cost of accreditation, and maintaining accreditation mini-grants.
    • Partnering with Maine Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) to create TEACH scholarship program.
  • OCFS also began efforts to enhance the Child Care Choices website to improve the availability and accessibility of information about providers for families who may be seeking child care.
1 Total includes camps, CCSP licensed exempt resources, child care facilities and family child care providers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immense impact on the national child care system, however the numbers in Maine’s are more positive. “As of September 2021, Maine has 96% of the pre-COVID licensed programs open and operating. In addition, the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) has seen a steady increase in total families and children receiving CCSP over the last four months. Currently 3,013 families representing 4,596 children are served by the program.”


Stabilization and support of providers has occurred (and continues) through multiple funding sources:

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, May of 2020, Maine received $10.9 million in CCDBG funding

  • grants provided directly to providers to cover COVID-19 related costs and build capacity,
  • providing child care subsidy for essential workers (regardless of income eligibility)
  • waiving parent fees for low income families receiving traditional CCSP

Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), August of 2020 the Governor allocated $8.4 million

  • grants provided reimbursement to providers for COVID-19 related business expenses (through December of 2020 totaled $2,176,464)

Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRRSA) Act, March of 2021, Maine received $30.5 million in CCDBG funding through CRRSA Act.

OCFS allocated 75% of the funding directly to child care providers through quarterly grants payments. The last payment will be December 2021. Remaining funds were used to expand professional development for providers through the Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ) Professional Development Network (PDN) system, provide mental health and social emotional learning support to children and providers through the Early Childhood Consultation Program (ECCP), waiving copayments for CCSP families through 9/30/22, and reimbursing CCSP providers based on enrollment.

CRRSA funds will also be utilized to establish a Statewide Apprenticeship Program for Child Care Providers, provide Mini-grants and awards for achieving or maintaining accreditation, and/or for completing one of the Maine Credentials (Director, Infant Toddler, Inclusion, Youth Development).

American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), Maine has received an additional $121.9 million through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). The ARP child care funds will be broken up into three sections.

  • Discretionary – $45,752,460
  • Stabilization Subgrants – $73,176,466
  • Match- $2,984,281

Maine has chosen to use funds to support the entire child care delivery system through short-term stabilization and recovery as well as long-term growth and system improvement (subject to change with guidance from ACF). FCCAM PLC has pulled out some parts of the plan we know will directly impact providers:

  • ARPA Child Care Stabilization Grants (for all programs offering care as of Sept. 2021, and on an ongoing rolling basis) monthly payments from October 2021 to September 2022.
  • Waive child care licensing fees for 2 years to support new and existing child care providers
  • Supply a one-time $2,000 stipend (available from 7/1/21-9/30/23) to newly licensed family child care providers focused on increasing access to child care for families in rural and gap areas.
  • Waive Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) parent fees for families at or below 60% of State Median Income to support low income families until 9/30/23
  • Provide a 35% weekly increase of reimbursement to child care providers who take subsidy and are serving children with special needs
  • Reimburse CCSP based on enrollment for 2½ years
  • Translate CCSP materials into identified languages for both families and providers
  • Increase child care quality payments to 3%, 10%, 15% (per QRIS levels) for 2-years to support an increase in high quality programs
  • Build child care information system onto Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System CCWIS
  • Invest in Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) online screening tool for child care providers to screen and refer children to early intervention when delays in development are detected
  • Provide Second Step curriculum for child care to support social emotional learning
  • Expand Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) to measure outcomes in child care and incentive program participation with $500 per program

“In addition to the ARPA funds, OCFS will continue to support child care through ongoing efforts, including the infant/toddler stipend, workforce development through the TEACH scholarship, technical assistance through Maine Roads to Quality, and other efforts.”