A-E. Section 4/ Inspections and Investigations

A. Inspections. The Department generally conducts unannounced site inspections. The Department may conduct more frequent inspections at its discretion based on the Provider’s compliance with this rule. Routine inspections occur at the following times:

1. Upon application and within the first few months of licensure,

2. Annually, after the date of initial licensure,

3. When the Provider has requested a change in License;

4. To investigate a complaint of rule violation, or an allegation of suspected Abuse or Neglect;

5. For determining compliance with a Directed Plan of Action, or to determine whether cited deficiencies have been corrected.

B. Right of entry. The Department may enter upon the Premises of an individual reported to be operating without a License, pursuant to 22 M.R.S. §7702-B (7).

1. The Department and a duly designated officer or employee of the Department have the right to enter upon and into the Premises of an unlicensed person providing childcare in their home with an administrative inspection warrant issued pursuant to the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 80E, by the District Court at a reasonable time and, upon demand, have the right to inspect and copy any books, accounts, papers, records and other documents in order to determine the state of compliance with this section. Pursuant to the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 80E the Department’s right of entry and inspection may extend to any Premises and documents of a person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other entity that the Department has reason to believe is operating without a License.

2. An unlicensed owner or person in charge of providing childcare in their home may not interfere with, or prohibit, the interviewing of consumers of childcare services by the Department.

C. Elements of an inspection. In order to determine compliance with this rule, the Provider must provide access to all records and any part of the Premises occupied or used by Children.

1. The Department may speak with Children, Parents, and providers during inspections.

2. The Department may photograph any part of the Premises or make a photographic record of documents. The Department will provide copies of photographs upon request.

D. Inspection report. The Department will document all violations of this rule on an inspection report and will explain any violation noted at the time of inspection. The Provider may correct violations at the time of inspection. All violations corrected on-site shall be noted on the inspection report. The Provider and the Department shall sign the inspection report at the exit interview. The Department will supply the Provider with a copy of the inspection report at the time of inspection.

1. The Provider and the Department shall determine a Plan of Action to include timelines for correction for any violations that cannot be corrected at the time of inspection. If the Plan of Action cannot be determined at the time of inspection, the Plan of Action must be established by the Provider and the Department within five business days of the inspection.

2. Following the inspection, the Provider must demonstrate compliance with this written Plan of Action. Failure to comply with the Plan of Action will result in further enforcement action by the

Department as provided for in this Rule, including but not limited to the Department issuing a Directed Plan of Action.

E. Investigations. The Department will respond to reports from any person alleging violation(s) of licensing regulations or Child Abuse or Neglect.

1. The Provider and Staff Members must cooperate in all aspects of the Investigation of allegations of Abuse or Neglect, in accordance with 22 M.R.S. Ch. 1674. Cooperation includes but is not limited to the following:

a. Providers may not prevent Department staff from privately interviewing Staff Members, interns, or Household Members;

b. Allowing private interviews with Children, and notifying Parents, except where such notification is not in the best interest of the Child in accordance with 22 M.R.S. 354(2)(F)(2);

c. Providing contact information for families of Children enrolled at the Department’s request;

d. Providing access to all Child records;

e. Providing access to all records of current and former Staff Members, interns, or Household Members, including access to timecards and other payroll materials upon request;

f. Providing access to all Incident and Accident report records; and

g. Allow access to all parts of the Premises, including spaces not used for childcare.

2. The provider must not retaliate against any reporter or his/her representative for filing a complaint. Any rule violations noted as a result of a complaint investigation will be provided to the Provider in writing.