**Please note the language change to “Child’s Parent/Legal Guardian” requirement for contract and handbook language. This change recognizes individual family structure and is inclusive.
The following language sample for ELL meets the intention of best practice around inclusion in regards to the changing diversity of our communities. The question is where is it best to place within your care agreement? In your contractual packet, or your handbook? Each provider’s care agreement has a different flow, so only you can decide where this best fits.
At ___ childcare we accept learners from all ethnic backgrounds. The primary language we communicate in is ____. If you communicate more comfortably in another language, please let us know. We will make every effort to make our materials and communications accessible for you in your home language. We will also incorporate your child’s language and culture into our visuals and communications as much as possible.
- The Provider must have a readily accessible copy of this Licensing Rule on the Premises and must make it available to any person upon request.
The Department will provide by mail one printed hard copy of the Rule to each licensed Family Child Care Provider following the final adoption and printing of the Rule.
*SUGGESTION: Providing everyone an individual hard copy of your Handbook is not required. For ready access for everyone, the Licensing Rule this can be part of your Parent Information Board, your 3-Ring Binder, or linked on your website.
2. The Provider must allow a Child’s Parents/Legal Guardians unlimited access to visit the Child, to observe the program at any time that the Child is present and provide opportunities to participate in activities.
*SUGGESTION: Include this parental right in your Care Agreement through policy language, such as this Family Volunteer/Visitor Sample language
a. The Provider must exchange information with the Child’s Parents/Legal Guardians about the Child on a frequency appropriate for the age and development of the Child.
(NEW) This can be covered with policy language that reflects how you communicate, any eportfolio sites, and samples of daily notes or requests for family to provide forms they want completed. This also can include scheduled conferences held by your program.
b. The Provider must advise a Child’s Parents/Legal Guardians prior to taking Children on Field Trips and must require the Parents/Legal Guardian’s written permission.
(NEW) definition of “Field Trip”: any excursion off the Premises of the Provider. This is more than a trip by vehicle. It includes walks off property. Transportation Forms folder: variety of options for single events or general permission.
c. The Provider must be directly accessible to a Child’s Parents/Legal Guardians by telephone at all times when Children are present.
Be sure you provide Child’s Parents/Legal Guardians with your contact information. Some providers do this by printing off business cards with address/email/phone. There are many free editing options online, local printing businesses, or templates in microsoft and google drive so you can print your own.
d. The Provider must advise a Child’s Parents/Legal Guardians prior to allowing the Child to participate in any high-risk activity; for example, swimming, horseback riding or using a trampoline.
High-risk activity language sample
3. (NEW) The provider must encourage Parents/Legal Guardians to visit the Family Child Care Provider prior to admission.
4. (NEW) A copy of the Provider handbook will be made available to all Parents or Legal Guardians at the time of enrollment. The handbook must contain, at a minimum:
*REMINDER: the following items do not need to be individually broken out in the handbook. They can be combined in a manner that works for you, they just need to be part of your Care Agreement. ~ Sample contract and handbook language can be found in the FCCAM website’s Business Toolkit. You do not need to hand out individual copies. You can have 1 readily accessible at your program for review, or provide the link if your handbook is online.
- a. (NEW) Ages of Children served;
This regulation is not about the exact ages of children in care, but the range of ages your program is open to service. Here is sample language for “Ages of Children served”. This can also include c. Numbers of Children served.
- b. Hours of operation and daily schedule;
- c. Numbers of Children served;
- d. Specific focus if applicable, such as educational focus, religious focus, Montessori, after-school, summer recreation, teaching site, etc.;
- e. Opportunities for Parent/Legal Guardian involvement;
- f. A description of the Child guidance methods used by Staff Members;
This description may be included in the program’s policy. It does not need to be a separate policy. Parents must be informed of this policy for Staff.
- g. Services offered, such as: basic childcare, care for Children with special needs, part-time care, Infant/toddler care, pre-school care, school-age care, etc.;
- h. Fees (if any) including charges for late pick-up of Children;
Sample general language
- i. Vacation policy;
- j. Terms of any contract or placement agreements;
- k. (NEW) The rights of Children;
*SUGGESTION: Use the Rule language on Child’s Rights for your language.
- l. Emergency procedures and relocation information;
*SUGGESTION: Cover in your Emergency Preparedness Plan.
- m. Incident reporting and mandatory reporting of Child Abuse or Neglect;
Resource links in Section 6/ reporting requirements and Section 11/ Reporting Child Abuse. Informational material on child abuse and neglect, information about reporting/following process and sample language for provider’s policy/procedure are contained in FCCAM-PLC’s Mandated Report Folder.
- n. Expulsion and suspension practices;
- o. Management of communicable illnesses;
- p. Medication administration;
- q. Annual calendar of closure dates (if applicable);
- r. (NEW) Resources available for developmental screenings; and
To meet this new requirement you can provide specific County Resource Connections found in the website’s sidebar under Provider Resources. You can also use any of the many resources the PLC has gathered for both your benefit and to share with parents.
5. A Family Child Care Provider must ensure that all Staff Members are adequately trained and/or have sufficient experience to meet the needs of all Children for whom they are responsible, as the need presents.
6. Except as provided by law, confidential information may not be released without a court order or a written release from the Parent or Legal Guardian of the Child about whom the confidential information has been requested. The following information is confidential:
a. All Child records.
b. All personnel records, which must be provided to the Department upon request.
c. Information that identifies, directly or indirectly, a referent, complainant, or reporter of suspected Child Abuse or Neglect, and/or licensing rule violations.
d. Information about Children in care (or formerly in care). This information may be disclosed only upon written authorization of a Child’s Legal Guardian, except as otherwise specified by law, and must be shared with the Department and Child placing agencies licensed pursuant to 22 MRS Chapter 1671, upon request.
7. (NEW) The Provider must maintain a staff manual that addresses the following:
The manual includes required procedures for operating a family child care that may not be included in the Provider Handbook. Policies shared with parents need to be clear about who has responsibility within the policy language. With that a separate manual is not needed. Sole providers do not need a staff handbook or manual as long as they make it clear to parents that they work alone, they will comply with regulations about staff if that changes, and their policies clearly state who has responsibility to carry out the policy.
*SUGGESTION: Whether you are a sole provider or have staff you need to be sure to have a policy for everything listed for the staff manual. If you have staff and your parent handbook is written in such a way that this policy also applies to staff, you can use your parent handbook. If your current parent handbook does not have the required policies, you can either add the additional policies needed or if you feel the policies are really only meant for employees to see then create a smaller separate handbook for staff.
Looking for language samples check out these resources found in the “Business Toolkit” under “Staff Contract/Handbook“. This section has job descriptions, employee reviews, staff responsibilities and full contract samples.
a. Policies and their implementation. This must include, at a minimum, policies for the following:
i. Mandated reporting,
ii. Child guidance,
iii. Child illness,
iv. Fire drill procedures,
v. Emergency and disaster procedures,
vi. Staff Member qualifications and training,
vii. Supervision of Staff Members/interns
viii. Reporting licensing violations,
ix. Inclusionary practices for Children with disabilities,
x. Safe sleep policy,
xi. Serious injury and Child death reporting,
xii. Expulsion and suspension prevention,
xiii. Interpretation for English Language Learners,
At ____childcare we employ staff from all ethnic backgrounds. The primary language we communicate in is ______. If you communicate more comfortably in another language, please let us know. We will make every effort to make our materials and communications accessible for you in your home language.
xiv. Release of Children, and
xv. Transportation of Children (if applicable).
8. (NEW) The Provider adopt a written policy for handling all suspected instances of Child Abuse or following:
This is an expansion over just a statement that you are a mandated reporter.
The rule requires the adoption of a written policy containing (a)-(h). It does not specify where the policy needs to be maintained and does not require the Provider to add this policy to their Care Agreement or be shared with Parents/Legal Guardians.
*SUGGESTION: include this policy as part of your Handbook. Consider our layout for a “Care Agreement” when structuring your contract/handbook.
Mandated Reporter Folder contains information and sample language.
- a. Internal notification procedure of suspected Abuse or Neglect,
- b. Conditions that require internal notification of the Provider,
- c. The requirement that any suspicion of Abuse or Neglect must be immediately shared with the Provider,
- d. The requirement that suspected Child Abuse or Neglect must be immediately reported upon suspicion to Child Protective Intake hotline,
- e. Identification of personnel responsible for contacting the Child Protective Intake hotline,
- f. Protocol to notify all relevant parties (Parents, Staff Members, interns, or Household Members) that suspected Child Abuse or Neglect has been reported to Child Protective Intake,
- g. Completion of Incident reports, including: the details of the allegation or suspicion, the date Child Protective Intake was called, which Staff Members and/or interns were notified the report was filed, and whether or not the Parent/Legal Guardian were notified of the allegation, and
- h. Parental notification, including the determination of how and what information will be shared with a Parent/Legal Guardian when Child Protective Intake has been contacted.
(Licensing Rule missed number 9 in editing)
10. (NEW) The Provider must develop a written policy to follow if an allegation of Child Abuse or Neglect is made against the Provider, any Staff Member, or Household Member in the Provider’s home. The written policy must include but is not limited to the following:
- a. Prevention measures to protect providers from potential allegations;
- b. Conditions of continued employment and access to Children during the course of an investigation by the Department;
- c. Grounds for termination;
- d. The requirement to report suspected Child Abuse or Neglect occurring at any location in accordance with statute; and
- e. Parental notification.
11. The Provider must be responsible for the Provider’s daily operation in compliance with this rule. If the Provider is not present, an equally qualified Staff Member must be designated to be in charge and be given authority to administer the program in compliance with this rule.
12.(NEW) The Provider must register for Maine’s Quality Rating and Improvement System.
Requirement to register for Maine’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) establishes a baseline quality rating for all Maine Family Child Care Providers. The rating system is also included on the federally required Consumer Education website (Child Care Choices) and provides additional information to better inform parents who are receiving and seeking child care services. Registration with QRIS does not require any additional trainings or requirements unless the provider wishes to achieve a higher rating on the scale.
Want a bit of information on applying for QRIS? Check out this blog post.
** Applying for Quality for ME requires enrollment in Maine Roads to Quality.
Here’s a blog post that walks you through that process.
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