Notices from the State of Maine around COVID-19

1/25/2021 – New guidance for child care providers around the options for onsite use of the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Test Card is linked below, but wanted to share this note we received with our notification: As you will see, there are several stringent requirements for receiving and using Department supplied BinaxNOW Test Cards. We suspect it will be extremely cumbersome for providers and is likely not worth the effort given the administrative burden but we wanted to give you all a heads-up as we anticipate many questions.

Children’s Licensing & Investigation Services will accept online renewal for CPR / First Aid for child care providers who are renewing certification.  This temporary waiver of the hands- on skills component will remain in effect until classes become more readily available statewide.  All providers certifying for the first time must complete the hands-on skills component as part of the certification. If you have questions or concerns please reach out to your licensing specialist for further guidance.  

Ventilate workspace with open windows and doors to the extent safely possible. When
used in conjunction with other best practices such as social distancing, frequent hand
washing, and cleaning and disinfection, outside air can help reduce airborne
contaminants. It is acceptable to continue to open windows during winter months as long
as children are dressed appropriately, and temperature is maintained at comfortable levels
in all rooms used by children.

Keep informed of Maine’s latest policies for travel
Travel to and from states exempted under the State’s travel advisory do not require quarantine or a test for COVID-19. Travel to or from all other states or another country require an individual to quarantine or receive a negative COVID -19 test result. The following website has information regarding travel:


all CPR/First Aid renewals must be completed with the hands-on skills component

programs cannot employ new staff members without the individual first completing a comprehensive background check and receiving verification in the form of a Letter of Eligibility

current rabies vaccination certificates must be on file

current and up to date immunization records for all enrolled children

All licensed providers who are open and providing child care by September 8, 2020 are
eligible to apply. Licensed Child Care Providers will need to complete this application.
The application period will be from Friday September 4, 2020 to Monday, September 28, 2020 at 5 p.m

• CRF must be used to reimburse COVID-19 related business expenses incurred between
March 15, 2020 and September 28, 2020, regardless of whether the provider was open
and providing care during this period.
• Expenses submitted for reimbursement cannot have been covered by other COVID-relief
funding sources such as FEMA, Payroll Protection, CARES Act, etc.
• The total amount of reimbursement cannot exceed the following amounts:
o Family: $950

OCFS is pleased to announce 1,342 eligible licensed child care providers applied and will begin receiving the one-time grant payments as of August 28, 2020. Estimated grant amounts were higher than expected based on number of eligible applications received and CCDBG CARES Act funds remaining.
The total remaining CCDBG CARES Act funds equaled $3,053,910. Below are the updated total amounts.
• Family: $1,330

This webinar recording of a recent Community of Practice with OCFS sheds light on some of the most commonly asked questions since the 7/31/20 guidance was issued and the question of “why now”.  You can watch the webinar at your convenience and the more inclusive list of FAQ’s is expected to be posted on the COVID OCFS site soon.

May 15, 2020, Child Care Application Fees

The Office of Child and Family Services made a decision to use Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds to support child care providers by waiving child care licensing fees for family child care providers, center-based child care providers, nursery schools and for any new child care providers statewide. Beginning July 1, 2020 and continuing through June 30, 2022, your next application fee will be paid through the Child Care Development Block Grant. Any license that expires as of July 1, 2020 will not be assessed an application fee. Application fees must be submitted with a renewal application for licenses that expire before July 1, 2020.

Guidance for Cloth Face Coverings in Child Care based on the April 29, 2020 Executive Order that goes into effect May 1, 2020: No child under the age of 2 should be wearing a cloth face covering / Children in child care are exempt from wearing cloth face coverings while attending the program / If a parent would like their child to wear a cloth face covering in child care they should be allowed to do so as long as they are at least 2 years old / If a staff person would like to wear a cloth face covering they should be allowed to do / Programs can make individual program decisions, based on social distancing measures taken by the program, whether or not they will require all staff to wear cloth face coverings while working in child care

  • Restarting Maine’s Economy – the State of Maine is adopting a staged approach, supported by science, public health expertise and industry collaboration, to allow Maine businesses to safely open when the time is right. This is one of many guidance documents for business that the State is preparing for businesses so they can be prepared to meet health guidelines and reopen safely. This document will be updated as additional information and resources become available.
  • April 28: Governor Mills Presents Safe, Gradual Plan to Restart Maine’s Economy

The one-time CARES Act stipend amount is designed to help cover the costs of addressing
pandemic expenses like extensive cleaning, rent/ mortgage costs, supplies, food spoilage, etc. It is being paid because child care providers have lost a portion or all the children in their care, which has led to business issues and shortages. It is important to note that this stipend is not considered income for unemployment purposes and is not reportable on weekly Unemployment Insurance claims.

effective April 13, 2020, and for the duration of the civil emergency, OCFS will be paying the parent’s portion of the weekly child care payment (parent fee) for those who qualify under existing CCSP income guidelines to lessen the burden.
The payments will be made directly to providers to reflect total current market rate or the provider’s current rate, whichever is lower.

Following the “Stay at Home Order” issued by Gov. Mills on 4/1/2020:

Dear Child Care Providers:
The Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) wants to thank all of you for your ongoing
commitment to Maine’s children and families. In light of the recent “Stay Healthy at Home”
Executive Order, OCFS has fielded numerous questions regarding child care services. Several reoccurring questions are answered below.
The following guidance is subject to change, however, as of 5pm on 4/1/2020, it is based on currently available information and recommendations.
Q: Does the Governor’s Executive Order impact continued operation of child care?
A: All guidance can be found on the OCFS COVID-19 web page. It remains each provider’s
decision whether or not to operate. The March 31, 2020 Executive Order does not order that child cares close. OCFS continues to encourage and support child care providers who choose to remain open providing care to children of Maine’s working families who cannot work from home.
Q: The Stay at Home Order restricts travel. Do child care staff need documentation or
verification of employment status for their travel?

A: Staff should only need to indicate where they are traveling if stopped by law enforcement and questioned. If the child care provider wishes to provide some documentation, the provider may do so.
Q: Are child care providers required to verify parental essential employment?
A: Verification of parental employment status is not required.
Q: Should providers revise program policies for a time limited period?
A: Licensing is not requiring that policies be revised. It is a recommendation for this
unprecedented period of time. Should you choose to make revisions to your current policies, it is encouraged that these changes are reviewed and signed by the parent or legal guardian.
Policies that may be considered include:
• Drop-off / Pick-up Policies – this could include dropping off or picking up at doorways
or in entry ways only. Limiting or eliminating visitors at the program at this time.
• Daily Health Screening – this could include using the health screening tools Children’s
Licensing and Investigation Services provided for children and staff. These can be found
on the OCFS COVID–19 webpage.
• More stringent health policies – consider including language that children that have a
fever, cough, and shortness of breath will not be accepted or will be sent home.
• Adding guidance regarding the need for quarantine and/or isolation for children, family
members or staff in accordance with current CDC guidelines.
The situation around COVID-19 remains very fluid. If OCFS receives updated guidance or
direction, we will advise providers accordingly.

Thank you,
OCFS, Children’s Licensing and Investigation Services

  • March 20, Statement from Attorney General on Day Care Providers and Consumers ~ In response to inquiries received by the office. BAsically says: The answer to this question will depend on the agreements reached between the day care provider and the consumer. If there is a written contract that covers emergency closure, the contract will likely govern. If there is no written contract, or the written contract does not cover emergency closures, there may be an implied contract arising from the pre-existing course of dealing.
  • March 20, CCSP Message for All Current Renewals ~ Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, the Office of Child & Family Services (OCFS) Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) has put the DHHS Child Care Emergency Plan into effect and have extended all current awards that are due for renewal to 15-months.
  • March 18, CCSP Emergency Memo ~ offices will not be taking walk-in or in-person applications for CCSP until further notice,