A.(NEW) Department’s authority to enforce compliance. The Department may direct any Provider to correct any violations in a manner, and within a time frame, that the Department determines is appropriate to ensure compliance with this rule or to protect the health and safety of Children.
1. The Department may take one or more of the following measures, at any appropriate level, to address violations of this rule or applicable statutes.
2. Enforcement actions are not required to be sequential, as presented in this rule.
3. The Department may waive or modify any provision(s) of this rule, unless the provision is mandated by State or Federal statute.
a. The Applicant must state, in writing, that an alternative method will comply with the intent of the rule for which the waiver is sought.
b. If approved, the waiver will be limited to the term of the License.
c. Extensions will only be granted where the best interest of the Child(ren) is served.
B. Directed plan of action. The Department may issue a Directed Plan of Action for noncompliance with this rule.
1. The Directed Plan of Action will specify the actions that must be completed in order to comply with this rule, along with a timeline for each action.
2. (NEW) Failure to complete or comply with a Directed Plan of Action may result in further enforcement action, up to and including the revocation of a License.
C. Restrictions. The Department may require the following:
1. To stop all new admissions until the Department determines that the Provider has corrected all violations.
2. To reduce the capacity of the Provider until the Department determines that the Provider has corrected all violations.
D. Administrative fines. The Department may assess administrative fines in accordance with the schedule of fines outlined in this rule, if the Provider fails to comply with applicable laws and/or this rule.
1. (NEW) An administrative fine may be assessed for a violation that constituted noncompliance with State statute or this rule.
2. An administrative fine is issued via a Notice of Fine. The notice will describe each violation, the rule or statute that has been violated and any scheduled amount of administrative fine corresponding to that violation.
3. The Department has established the following schedule of administrative fines for Providers failing to correct violations by the Department’s timeline pursuant to 22 MRS § 7702-A:
a. Non-critical violation: $100.00 per violation.
b. Critical violation: $250.00 per violation.
4. The Department may assess administrative fines up to $500.00 per inspection.
5. Providers are required to pay the Department the amount of the administrative fine within 30 Days of receipt of the notice of fine. If the Provider has not paid the total fines due before License renewal, then the License renewal application will be denied.
6. Imposing an administrative fine is not deemed, in any way, to extend any deadline for compliance. The Department may issue a conditional License, in accordance with 22 MRS § 7802(1)(C). The notice of conditional License will include a Directed Plan of Action.
F. Suspension of a license. The Department may suspend or seek to suspend a License as follows:
1. The Department’s Commissioner may suspend a License on an administrative basis by issuing an order of closure when conditions are found which, in the opinion of the Department, immediately jeopardize the health and safety of Children.
2. The order of closure may last for up to ten Days in accordance with 22 M.R.S. § 8301-A (5), pending further Investigation or prior to obtaining an order of emergency suspension from the court.
3. The Department may seek an emergency suspension in accordance with 4 M.R.S. § 184 when conditions are found which, in the opinion of the Department, immediately endanger the health or safety of Children.
G. Referral to the Office of the Attorney General. A Provider with violations may be referred to the Office of the Attorney General for appropriate civil action.
1. The Department may pursue civil fines in accordance with 22 M.R.S. § 7702-A and 7702-B, or any other relevant section of the Maine Revised Statutes.
2. The Department may seek injunctive relief to require compliance, in accordance with 22 M.R.S. § 8301-A (7).
H. Refusal to issue or renew a License. The Department may refuse to issue or renew a License when a Provider fails to comply with applicable laws and rules.
I. Revocation. The Department may revoke a full or temporary License for violation of applicable laws and rules for committing, permitting, aiding or abetting any illegal practices in the operation of a Family Child Care Provider or for conduct, or practices detrimental to the welfare of Children receiving childcare services from the Provider in accordance with 22 M.R.S. § 7802(3)(D).
J. Void. The Department may void a conditional License when the Provider fails to comply with the conditions of the License.
K. (NEW) Right to information regarding the Provider’s deficiencies. A Child’s Parent or Legal Guardian has the right to be fully informed of a program’s licensing history. Parents and Legal Guardians must be notified in a timely manner, by the Provider, of any actions taken against the Provider by the Department, including but not limited to, issuance of a Directed Plan of Action, issuance of a conditional License, refusal to renew a License, the imposition of fines, or other sanctions.
L. (NEW) Consent Agreement. The Department may issue a Consent Agreement in lieu of another formal sanction. If the Consent Agreement is not followed the Department may take further licensing action.
M.(NEW) Limitation on reapplication after denial or revocation of a license. The following time limits apply to a reapplication after denial or revocation of a License.
1. When a License has been denied or revoked on one occasion, the Applicant or Provider may not reapply for a License for a period of one year from the effective date of the denial or revocation decision if not appealed or, if appealed, from the effective date of the commissioner’s final decision or the reviewing court’s order, whichever is later.
2. If a License has been denied or revoked on two occasions, the Applicant or provider may not reapply for a License for a period of two years from the effective date of the second denial or revocation decision if the decision is not appealed or, if appealed, from the effective date of the commissioner’s final decision or the reviewing court’s order, whichever is later.
3. If a License has been denied or revoked on three occasions, the Applicant or provider may not receive another License for the care of Children.
N.(NEW) Subsequent application for a full license. A subsequent application for a full License may be considered by the Department after any of the following actions, when the deficiencies identified by the Department at the time the action was taken have been corrected:
1. Issuance or voiding of a conditional License;
2. Amendment or modification of a License;
3. Refusal to issue or renew a full License;
4. Revocation or suspension of a full License; or
5. Refusal to issue a provisional License.
O.(NEW) Full licensure after deficiencies corrected. An application for a full License may be considered by the Department only when the deficiencies identified by the Department have been corrected.
P. (NEW) Right to appeal. Appeals by a Provider are limited to appeals contending that a decision by the Department misapplies applicable laws, procedures or rules.
1. The Provider must request an administrative hearing in accordance with the instructions provided in any action taken by the Department that is subject to the right of appeal.
a. The request must state the specific issue(s) being appealed.
b. The request must be made within 30 Days of receipt of notice of an action subject to the right of appeal.
c. The following actions are subject to the right of appeal:
i. Issuance of a conditional License;
ii. Amendment or modification of a License, including reduction in Licensed Capacity or cessation of new admissions, when required by the Department;
iii. Voiding of a conditional License;
iv. Refusal to issue or renew a full License;
v. Administrative fines; or
vi. The denial of a waiver request.
d. Actions subject to the right to appeal shall be stayed until the Department makes a final agency decision, unless the License is suspended under Section 20(F)(1) or (2).
2. The hearing will be conducted pursuant to the Department’s Administrative Hearings Regulations at 10-144 C.M.R. Ch. 1.
3. An aggrieved party may appeal the Department’s final agency action to Superior Court.
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