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Marcia Lovell Awards

Sharing news from MRTQ PDN ~

Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network is excited to announce that nominations for the 2021 Marcia Lovell Awards are now open. Winners will be recognized at Maine’s Early Care and Education Conference’s evening Recognition Event on Friday, October 22. 2021. This year, winners will receive an award of $2,000 as part of MRTQ PDN’s Quality Improvement Award Initiative to acknowledge their contributions to the field in providing quality, inclusive programming for Maine children.

The Marcia Lovell Awards will be awarded to up to eight individual practitioners, representing the eight Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Districts: York (District 1), Cumberland (District 2), Oxford, Franklin, and Androscoggin (District 3), Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, and Waldo (District 4), Kennebec and Somerset (District 5), Penobscot and Piscataquis (District 6), Washington and Hancock (District 7), and Aroostook (District 8).


MRTQ PDN created the Marcia Lovell Award for Innovation in Early Care and Education to
recognize outstanding early childhood professionals who make significant
contributions to the children, families, and communities in which they work and
embody the ideals for which Marcia advocated:

  • Better lives for children
  • High-quality early education experiences
  • Support for all children, including those most at risk and with disabilities
  • A belief that the arts are an integral part of early education programs

Marcia Lovell worked at Maine DHHS, Office of Child Care and Head Start, where she was a program specialist with more than 20 years of experience. She cared deeply about young children and their families and worked diligently to support healthy, responsive systems. Marcia embraced the philosophy of inclusive, quality early education for all children, including those with disabilities, those most at risk for being excluded from child care, and those unable to participate in community settings. She also loved ballet and the arts and believed that involvement with the arts was essential to becoming a whole person. She helped to establish Maine Roads to Quality in 1999.


Please take a moment to answer the following questions in order to nominate a practitioner for the 2021 Marcia Lovell Awards.

Nomination criteria and nomination form

Nominations will close on Friday, September 10th.


Questions regarding the Marcia Lovell Award nomination process can be directed to Jenn Wiles at jennifer.wiles@maine.edu.


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Maine Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) ~ Child Mental Health

This past year has brought the topic of mental health, especially for young children, front and center.

What is Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation? 

It’s a collaboration between a professional consultant with early childhood mental health expertise and one or more caregivers, typically an early care and education provider and/or family member. In a family child care setting a mental health consultation aims to improve the ability of the provider and staff to prevent, identify, treat and reduce the impact of mental health problems among all children from birth to age 8 in their program or for a specific child. The child’s family is also supported in this consultation model.

There has been ongoing work in Maine to find ways to support young children in their social and emotional growth. We now have the Maine Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) which is funded and managed by the State of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services. With ECCP Masters level consultants work with child care providers/directors, principals, teachers, and parents to identify strengths and find strategies which will promote positive outcomes for young children. 

Maine Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) is now providing support, education, and consultation services at no cost in the following counties:

  • Androscoggin 
  • Aroostook 
  • Cumberland 
  • Franklin 
  • Hancock 
  • Kennebec 
  • Oxford 
  • Penobscot 
  • Washington 
  • York 

The service level is based on the needs of the individual child or program seeking the service. ECCP is not therapy. Services may last for 14 weeks for classroom/program service. For the child-specific service it lasts about 10 hours over 6 weeks and provides a brief behavioral screening of the child. ECCP then provides ideas/strategies on what might help the adults and the child. If needed, ECCP can help families get any additional resources that may be needed or helpful.

If you have a child who may be experiencing anxiety, behavioral challenges, poor social skills, or is at risk of suspension or expulsion from your childcare setting you may want to reach out and complete a referral to ECCP.  It’s important to know that this service isn’t just for behavioral concerns. A child may also be experiencing a stressful event such as the birth of a sibling, parental separation, loss of a family member, or a community stressor such as a storm, flood, etc. Consultation topics may also cover such areas as: creating a positive classroom/program culture, or building effective partnerships with families.

Who Can Make a Referral? 

Referral for the Core Classroom services is made by the provider.  Referral for the child-specific service can be made by parents, and/or provider. ECCP is completely voluntary, which can begin and end if you wish. The child’s parents must provide consent for any child-specific service to happen.

For more information or to make a referral contact:

Amy Beaulieu, LCSWMaine / ECCP® Program Manager / Office of Child & Family Services / 2 Anthony Avenue / 11 State House Station / Augusta, ME 04333 / eccpprogram@maine.gov / Ph: (207) 624-7900 / Toll free: 1-877-680-5866


A 1-1/2 hr informational webinar recorded on February 1, 2021 for childcare providers, early childhood educators, and other interested community members describing the Maine ECCP® program and services to be offered can be viewed on YouTube

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MaineHousing’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program

FCCAM PLC wants to sure family child care providers are aware of the MaineHousing’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program could be helpful for families and anyone else who is struggling to pay their rent as a result of the pandemic. This program is available for anyone who rents. That means providers, child care staff and families of children in care. Just like we want all providers to be aware of this, we are asking you to also make the information available to the families you provide care for.

Maine has $200 million in rent relief funds from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Through MaineHousing’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program  which will operate through the end of 2021, rental and utility relief payments to help eligible renters maintain housing stability will be provided.  The Emergency Rental Assistance Program can pay for rent and some utilities owed back to March 13, 2020. The program will also cover up to three months of upcoming rent and utilities.  Utilities include electricity, water, sewer, trash, and heat. Eligible households can receive up to 15 months of assistance!  There is no cap on the amount of assistance families can receive. 

To be eligible for assistance:

  • Your household income must meet certain income limits. Limits vary by location and household size. This ERA Program calculator will help determine if you MAY be eligible for the program.
  • You must have had your income reduced, had significant costs, or had other financial hardship because of COVID-19 OR qualified for unemployment benefits between March 13, 2020 and the date of your application.
  • You must show you are at risk for becoming homeless OR that you might lose your housing. This could include borrowing money to pay housing costs, having past-due rent or utility bills, or eviction notices.

Maine’s Community Action Agencies will review applications, check eligibility, and process payments for eligible expenses on behalf of households.

Individuals can apply online or through their local Community Action Agency.  For a paper application you can download an application here. You can submit the application by email or mail to your local Community Action Agency. If you need a paper application, please call MaineHousing at 1-800-452-4668 and we will send you one.

If you have any questions, please contact please call MaineHousing at 1-800-452-4668.

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Family Child Care Provider Survey

University of Maine at Farmington Professors, Dr. Williams & Dr. Karno need Family Child Care Provider feedback!

They have reached out to FCCAM to help distribute a survey for their research. They have given us the following description to pass along to you:

Child care is vitally important to restarting the economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly changed the face of family child care in the state of Maine. The goal of this research project is to learn more about the challenges family child care owners and providers have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and their needs for support. If you are part of the family child care community, we want to hear from you.  Please take 15 minutes to complete our survey so we can better understand how to support family child care providers in state and nationally. “

Take the survey HERE

Thank you for your help with this important research! 

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Providers, COVID-19 Survey Needs Your Input!

Yale University School of Medicine seal

Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network is partnering with the Yale University School of Medicine to distribute a survey regarding child care during the COVID-19 crisis.

Survey available in both English and Spanish.


Dear Early Childhood Provider,

Your participation in a Yale School of Medicine survey regarding child care during the COVID-19 crisis is requested.

Please help us by participating in a brief (12-20 minute long) survey being sent to child care providers like you across the nation. Your answers will be completely confidential. We need as many voices and experiences as possible as we try to determine the rate at which child care providers have become ill with COVID-19 symptoms and which strategies may have helped keep them safer. We need to hear from you whether you were open or closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We think of you as heroes for the work you do caring for children and families. As a measure of thanks, we will randomly select at least 10 people who complete the online confidential survey to win a check for $500. Also, we will invite all of you to participate in a free online webinar where we will discuss the results and answer any questions you may have, including questions regarding the latest science on COVID-19 spread in classroom settings and how best to keep children and staff safe. This free webinar will be hosted by Child Care Aware® of America, where I am board president. We value you as colleagues in this work, and we would learn from your comments and questions.

Your participation in this study is voluntary. Your decision to participate, withdraw or not answer all the questions will have no negative consequences.

We hope that you will help us. Please click the link here, which will take you to the online survey. It should take only about 12-20 minutes to complete the survey. More information and a brief consent page will be provided to you before the confidential online survey begins.

Our core team at the Yale School of Medicine consists of:

    Walter S. Gilliam, PhD – a professor who focuses on early child care safety and policy

    Thomas Murray, MD, PhD – a professor of pediatric infectious diseases

    Saad Omer, PhD, MPH – a professor of epidemiology of microbial diseases

Updates on this study can be found on our COVID-19 Child Care Study website here, and may also appear on the Yale School of Medicine COVID-19 page here.

Thank you for all that you do for children and families.

Sincerely,

Walter Gilliam signature

Walter S. Gilliam, PhD

Elizabeth Mears & House Jameson Professor of Child Psychiatry & Psychology

Director, Edward Zigler Center in Child Development & Social Policy

Yale Child Study Center

310 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511

T: 203-432-4575; E: walter.gilliam@yale.edu; W: www.ziglercenter.yale.edu

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Liability During a Pandemic….

We’ll start this post by restating that the Professional Learning Committee of FCCAM are working family child care providers and not legal experts. We are sharing information gained from personal experience, state and national resources in an attempt to provide direction for providers that have been asking many questions around liability, specifically around the spreading of COVID-19 within their program.

Family Child Care programs are required to have language in their handbooks around the management of childhood illness, serious injury and death. We are also required to have an Emergency Preparedness Plan. The language we settle on is left open allowing us to reflect the practices of our individual programs. There is truly not one set example of language that will meet the needs of all programs.

On this site, we have tried to provide a variety of language samples that can be adapted to meet the needs of your unique program. These samples can be found under multiple sections.

If you have a specific topic try a search of the site to see any previous posts on that topic.

We have also built a site menu that includes 3 sections with supporting materials: Business Toolkit / this contains licensing requirements, contact and handbook guidance and emergency preparedness material;

COVID-19 / includes guideline links for state and CDC, daily health check forms, information on disinfecting, and illness management policy samples; and

Resources / where we actually have a link to Maine Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program, as well as other state and national agencies.


Maine Licensing does not require providers to carry liability insurance, but FCCAM encourages providers to. Your homeowner’s insurance does not cover you for accidents and lawsuits related to your business. Here’s a link to a post by Tom Copeland that explains the reason for carrying liability insurance.

It doesn’t hurt to have a “liability clause” or “indemnity clause”within your handbook. Such as:

“The undersigned legal guardian assumes all risk of injury or harm to the child while the child is at the child care or on approved field trips. The legal guardian agrees to fully release, indemnify, defend, and forever discharge this child care, its owners, staff, employees, and agents of and from all liability, claims, demands, damages, costs, expenses, actions, and causes of action in respect of death, injury, loss, or damage to the child, or by the child, howsoever caused, arising out of or to arise by reason of or during the child’s participation in the child care.”.

Know that “liability clause” or “indemnity clause” language will not hold up in court if a legal guardian can prove negligence by the child care.


Specifically in regards to the questions that have arisen about liability if a child catches COVID-19 from your child care, it is suggested to start with a review of your contract and handbook.

  • Do you already have policy in place about daily health checks?
  • Do you have an illness management policy the includes exclusion do to illness?
  • Do you have symptoms listed for exclusion that align with infectious diseases?
  • Do you have language on contacting legal guardians when child shows illness symptoms?
  • Are infectious diseases mentioned in your Emergency Preparedness Plan?
  • Do you have set protocol on what to do when someone in the program comes in contact with an infectious disease?  Including notifying families.
  • Do you have language around a child returning to care after an illness?
  • Health and Safety practices explained – disinfecting, hand washing, etc.
  • Do you have language around your or staff illness? Impact on ratios? Substitute care?
  • Do you have language on changes to fees due to illness?
  • ………this is a continuous process and each unique program has unique questions to consider around their practices.

Liability is a part of the business of providing child care. A strong handbook that contains clearly written policies that guardians sign off on is your best protection if a question of liability arises.

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CPR / First Aid certificate has or is going to expire?

Providers are dealing with another hurdle in maintaining their license due to COVID-19 ~ Expiration of CPR/First Aid certificates and not having access to the hands-on/live trainings required by licensing. See the info below ~

Q: My CPR / First Aid certificate has or is going to expire, and I can’t find a class?

A: During the current State of Civil Emergency, Children’s Licensing & Investigation Services will accept online renewal for CPR / First Aid. OCFS is temporarily waiving the hands-on skills portion until classes become available again. If you are certifying for the first time, we are not waiving the hands-on component. Please reach out to your Child Care Licensing Specialist for further guidance.

American Red Cross and American Heart Association are offering certification extensions.

UPDATED: Interim Guidance on Card Extensions during COVID-19 Outbreak March 31, 2020

Purpose: To provide additional flexibility for providers, AHA Instructors, and Instructor candidates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NOTE: This guidance on card extensions supersedes the guidance outlined in the March 13, 2020, document, “Interim Guidance on Extensions for AHA Instructor & Provider Cards during COVID-19 Outbreak.”

AHA Instructor and Provider Card Extensions

Per the statement regarding further extensions of AHA course completion cards beyond 60 days past the recommended renewal day (in interim guidance released on March 13, 2020), and given the ongoing threat of exposure to COVID-19, with many communities under shelter in place orders to minimize the spread of the disease, the AHA is extending AHA Instructor and Provider Course Completion Cards for 120 days beyond their recommended renewal date, beginning with cards that expire in March 2020.

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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Applications for PUA will open on Friday, May 1.

4/28/2020: Department of Labor to Accept Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Applications May 1

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), created through the federal CARES Act, provides unemployment coverage for self-employed family child care providers. PUA will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits through December 26, 2020. Expanded coverage under PUA will be available to workers whose employment was affected by
COVID-19 between February 2, 2020 and December 26, 2020.

Beginning Friday, people who have been self-employed should do the following:

  • Create a ReEmployME account
  • Verify your email address in ReEmployME – click on the Benefit Maintenance menu and follow the instructions to receive a confirming email
  • Sign up for direct deposit – also through the Benefit Maintenance menu. This is faster than the debit card option
  • File your PUA claim – through the Unemployment Claim menu
  • File your weekly certification for any weeks after your loss of employment
  • Continue filing your weekly certification every week

Frequently Asked Questions on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Process:

  1. How do I file for unemployment benefits under this new program?
    A. If you have already applied for benefits and been denied due because of insufficient
    earnings, do NOT reapply. Your claim is in the system and will automatically transfer to PUA.
    Continue filing your weekly certification.
    B. If you are self-employed and you tried to file for unemployment benefits before PUA was
    launched, you must log-in to your online account and update your claim with your self-attestation of earnings. Continue filing your weekly certification.
    C. If you are self-employed and have not yet filed a claim, visit www.maine.gov/unemployment and fill out the streamlined application form for PUA. Submit your weekly certification each week thereafter.
  2. How do I “self-attest” my earnings to file as a self-employed person?
    If you are self-employed person filing for unemployment insurance under PUA, you will be
    asked to attest to the amount of your earnings for either 2018 or 2019. To expediate claims, supporting documentation of your earnings are NOT required at this time, but must be provided later. The Department will alert you when these documents need to be uploaded.
    Please Note: This program is subject to audits by the federal Office of the Inspector General, so claimants are advised to provide accurate information to the best of their ability.
  3. How soon will I receive benefit payments?
    If your PUA claim does not require further review by the unemployment program, you should begin receiving benefits in seven days or less from your initial filing.
  4. How much will I receive?
    PUA benefits start at 50% of the average weekly state unemployment benefit for self-employed and those who do not meet monetary eligibility for regular unemployment. This is $172/week. If you are self-employed, once we are able to verify documented earnings, PUA benefits will be adjusted, retroactively. The maximum benefit available under PUA is $445/week. In addition, anyone who receives a PUA benefit also receives the full $600 additional weekly benefit from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program which is available through July 25, 2020.
SELF-EMPLOYMENT DOCUMENTATION

What documentation will I need to submit for my self-employment? Because wages of people who are self-employed are not reported to the Department, documentation of earnings will be required. PUA benefits will begin in advance of this documentation – do not submit paperwork at this time. The Department will notify people who are self-employed when it is time to submit the documentation.

Listed below are sample scenarios and the documentation that will be required.

A. I owned a business in 2019 and have filed my federal tax return for 2019: 2019 Form 1040 and appropriate schedule, so Schedule C – Profit or Loss from business (sole proprietorship)

B. I owned a single business and filed my federal tax return in 2018 but have not filed my 2019 taxes: 2018 Form 1040 and appropriate schedule, so Schedule C – Profit or Loss from business (sole proprietorship)

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Some Questions Answered by Maine SBDC

PPP loan fund clarification information and interpretations are changing rapidly. We are waiting for the *final* rules of the PPP loan. The following is from 4/9/20 communication from: Anne Lancaster, Business Advisor, Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC)


I am self-employed, can I get unemployment? Per the CARES Act passed on 3/27/20, self-employed individuals are eligible for unemployment. As of today, you still cannot apply for unemployment if you are self-employed.  We do not know anything further at this time about how funds will be calculated, when you will receive funds, etc.  We expect more information to come very soon.
I’m trying to manage my cash flow carefully.  Should I make payments on my credit card?Please see attached summary of what leeway credit card companies are able to offer their customers right now.Don’t forget about the long-term impact on your credit!  Try to make at least the minimum payment if you have not worked out other arrangements.  I can connect you with a (no-cost) credit counselor if you have concerns.
I still have not heard back about my EIDL loan application or received an advance, should I be concerned? The SBA admits to being behind on processing the loans and advances due to extremely high volume.  Don’t worry–if you applied on the application that mentioned the advance and received a confirmation number after you submitted, you are all set–just be patient.  I know it is frustrating waiting and not knowing, but we do not have answers on quantities or timing right now.  Please let me know when you receive funds or correspondence as it’s helpful to hear progress.  
Please note, if you were one of the early SBA EIDL applicants, please go back to the site and if you haven’t reapplied with the newest process, you will want to as this will speed up your process.  Any questions, email me and I’ll explain in more details. https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
Will my PPP be taxed as income? No, it will not–But, one thing to be aware of – expenses covered and forgiven under the PPP cannot count as expenses that may be written off on income taxes.  So if your circumstances do not allow you to get 100% of your PPP forgiven, expenses paid by portions of the loan that are not forgiven may be written off.  
Until next time….. 

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UPDATED*** (4/3/2020) News on COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan

Sole proprietorship, with or without employees, Small Business Loan Process

3-STEP LOAN PROCESS – application is done online – for the COVID-19 ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN APPLICATION through the Small Business Association.

  • You choose your business status.
  • Check off the 7 eligibility statements
  • Click CONTINUE
  • Complete business information (name / EIN or SS# / etc.)
  • Gross Revenue for 12 months prior to Jan. 31, 2020 – information from 2019 taxes
  • Cost of Goods Sold for 12 months prior to Jan. 31, 2020 – information from 2019 taxes
  • Business address / email / starting date / etc.
  • Click NEXT to proceed to personal information section
  • Click NEXT to proceed to additional info. Here will check: consideration for advance of up to $10000. Then you need to have information for a direct deposit. That is how funds will be distributed. You need: Bank Name / Account # / Routing #
  • At this point you are basically done and just need to finish a few AGREE clicks to submit.

The process for someone not a sole proprietor is more involved and you will need more information regarding your business to complete the application that will display for you.

Progress was faster than expected, and applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans will be accepted as early as this Friday, 4/3/20. 


More Information from Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC) on Loans/Unemployment

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans:

PPP Borrower Information Fact Sheet

Preliminary “PPP” Application 

Your 7(a) lender will  begin accepting the actual applications on Friday.  The application is meant to be a sample or preview and is not necessarily identical to the actual application. 

Check out the comparison chart on EIDl v. PPP v. other SBA Loans.
Comparison chart to clarify the differences between the SBA COVID-19 Loan Offerings…It is current as of today but, like everything, subject to change!  I will send you updated versions as they come.  Remember, you cannot use a Disaster Loan (EIDL) and a PPP loan for the same purpose and funds received as an advance from EIDL will be deducted from the forgivable portion of PPP. 

Unemployment
Employee Retention Credit

The Employee Retention Credit Program provides a fully refundable tax credit for 50 percent of wages, up to $10,000, for each employee kept on the payroll by businesses that have taken a financial hit because of the pandemic.  Businesses qualify if they have been fully or partially shuttered by government order, or if their gross receipts are below 50 percent of what they took in during a comparable quarter in 2019. They are no longer eligible once their gross receipts rise above 80 percent of the comparable quarter.

The IRS published guidelines for businesses that want to apply for the credit, which is applied against the employers’ share of payroll taxes.