A-B. Section 1/ Statement of Purpose and Definitions

A. Statement of Purpose. The purpose of this rule is to establish licensing standards for Family Child Care Providers. This rule is promulgated in accordance with 22 M.R.S., Chapters 1661, 1663 and 1673 and describes the minimum requirements for the licensing and operation of Family Child Care Providers. The rule supports childcare services that meet Children’s psychosocial and developmental needs, while providing a safe, healthy and secure environment.


The Maine Legislature has designated parts of this rule as major substantive, per 22 M.R.S. §§8302- A(2)(G) -(K) and 8303-A (1). Other sections are designated as routine technical, per 22M.R.S. §§7702- B, 7703, 7802, 8301-A and 8302-A (2) (A)-(F). Each section will be designated as routine technical or major substantive throughout this rule, by shading: Major Substantive parts of the rule are shaded to differentiate them from routine technical parts.

Routine technical provisions of the rule are effective upon the effective date of this rule. The major substantive rule provisions have been provisionally adopted and are not legally effective pursuant to 5 M.R.S. § 8072(8). But NOTE: The Department has adopted the major substantive provisions of this rule on an emergency basis in a separate rulemaking on May 27, 2021, and those emergency provisions are effective as of the effective date of the emergency rule.

B. Definitions. As used in this rule, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings:

  1. Abuse or Neglect means a threat to a Child’s health or welfare by physical, mental or emotional injury or impairment, sexual abuse or exploitation, deprivation of essential needs or lack of protection from these, by a person responsible for the Child. 
  2. (NEW) Accident means an Incident that results in damage or creates observable injuries (scratch, bite mark, scraped knee, first aid given, etc.). 
  3. Adult means a person 18 years of age and over.
  4. Applicant means any person applying for a License under these Rules.
  5. (NEW) Attendance Record means a list of the names of Children who are physically present each day.
  6. (NEW) Bio-contaminants are living organisms (such as bacteria, enzymes, fungi, viruses) or their products that can be hazardous to animal or human health if inhaled, swallowed, or otherwise absorbed into the body.
  7. (NEW) Certified Lifeguard means a person who holds a current certificate in life saving techniques issued by a qualified instructor from a recognized organization upon successful completion of a live training.
  8. Child or Children means a person or persons under the age of 13. 
  9. (NEW) Clean means to remove dirt, debris, and bodily fluids by scrubbing and washing with a detergent solution and rinsing with water.
  10. (NEW) Consent Agreement means a written set of stipulations that a Provider must follow as a condition of licensure.
  11. Critical Violation means that a requirement within this rule was not met by a provider and may result in serious injury to a Child. A critical violation, if not corrected by the measures described in Section 20 of this rule, may result in an administrative fine of $250 per critical violation. Critical violations are indicated in this rule by a text box next to each applicable rule provision, as shown at left. 
  12. (NEW) Days means calendar days, unless otherwise stated.
  13. Department means the unit within the Department of Health and Human Services with the responsibility for conducting inspections and issuing Licenses, unless otherwise specified within this rule.
  14. (NEW) Developmentally Appropriate means actions, environment, equipment, supplies, communications, interactions, or activities that are based on the individual physical, emotional, social, and cognitive needs of each Child in care. 
  15. (NEW) Discipline means teaching Children about expectations, guidelines and principles, to maintain safety, foster sound judgement, and develop and maintain self-discipline.
  16. (NEW) Family Child Care Provider means a person who provides childcare in that person’s home on a regular basis, for consideration, for 3 to 12 Children under 13 years of age who are not the Children of the Provider or who are not residing in the Provider’s home.   
  17. (NEW) Finding means a decision reached by an Out of Home Investigator based on the facts and evidence gathered during an Investigation to support a decision that a person responsible for a Child has, by a preponderance of the evidence, abused or neglected a Child.
  18. (NEW) Field Trip means any excursion off the Premises of the Provider. 
  19. (NEW) Hazardous Material means any item or agent (biological, chemical, radiological, and/or physical), which has the potential to cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment, either by itself or through interaction with other factors.
  20. (NEW) Household Member means any person residing in the home of an Applicant or Provider.
  21. (NEW) Immediate Danger means a situation in which the provider’s non-compliance with one or more sections of this rule has caused, or is likely to cause, harm or impairment to a Child, and there continues to be an immediate risk of harm or impairment unless immediate corrective action is taken. 
  22. (NEW) Immediate Jeopardy means a situation in which the provider’s non-compliance with one or more sections of this rule has caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury or death of a Child, and there continues to be an immediate risk of serious injury or death of a Child unless immediate corrective action is taken.
  23. (NEW) Incident means a noteworthy occurrence, including but not limited to, an aggressive outburst, allegations of inappropriate conduct by a provider, inappropriate Child sexual behavior, unusual event, observations of changes in behavior, or a disclosure of Abuse or Neglect from a Child or parent. 
  24. Infant means a Child aged six weeks to 12 months.
  25. (NEW) Investigation means a systematic course of interviews, record reviews, and observations conducted for the purposes of determining the presence of Child Abuse or Neglect, and/or violations of this rule.
  26. (NEW) Legal Guardian means the person or agency who is legally authorized to act on behalf of a Child. For the purpose of this rule, the term Parent includes a Legal Guardian.
  27. License means written permission, whether provisional, temporary, conditional, or full, by the Department that authorizes the Provider to operate. For purposes of this rule, License has the same meaning as “certification” in 22 MRS §8301-A.
  28. Licensed Capacity means the number and ages of Children, specified on the License, allowed to be on the Premises at any one time. 
  29. (NEW) License-Exempt means an individual who provides care and supervision for a maximum of two Children who are not the Children of the provider or who are not residing in the provider’s home, on any given day, for consideration. To be License-exempt, a provider must comply with 22 M.R.S. §8302-B.
  30. (NEW) Lock means to fasten a mechanism operated by a key, a combination, or other mechanism that is attached to a hasp or a completely enclosed box or safe that prevents access to weapons, Pools, Medications, cleaning supplies and other toxins, liquor, and confidential records. 
  31. (NEW) Lockdown means a condition of remaining locked, and potentially hidden, inside the Provider’s home when it is unsafe to leave the facility or be outdoors during an emergency situation.
  32. (NEW) Mandated Reporter means a person who is required by law to report reasonable suspicions of Abuse or Neglect.
  33. (NEW) Medication means a drug prescribed for a Child by a Licensed health care practitioner and non- prescription medicines. 
  34. Natural Body of Water means an ocean, lake, pond, river, reservoir, quarry, spring, stream, and wading area that may be used for recreational water activities.
  35. (NEW) Night-time Care means compensated childcare provided between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.
  36. (NEW) Non-swimmer means a Staff Member or Child who cannot swim 25 feet on their stomach, 25 feet on their back, and tread water for 1 minute. 
  37. (NEW) Out-of-Home Investigations Team (OOH Team) means the unit that is responsible for investigating reports of suspected Abuse or Neglect of Children by person(s) or in facilities subject to licensure pursuant to 22 M.R.S. §§ 8351-8358.
  38. Parent means a birth or adoptive father or mother. For the purpose of this rule, Parent includes a Legal Guardian.
  39. Plan of Action means a written plan prepared by the Provider with the Department at the time of inspection or a written plan prepared by the Provider and submitted to the Department. A Plan of Action includes the specific procedures, methods, changes to be enacted by the Provider to correct all areas of noncompliance. A Plan of Action also includes the timeframes by which the provider will come back into compliance.
  40. Premises means the home of the Provider, and all parts of contiguous real estate, including, but not limited to, lands, private ways, and any buildings or structures, which the Provider occupies, or has direct or indirect control or interest, even though Children may not be served in all parts of the contiguous real estate.
  41. Preschool Child means a Child aged three to five years old. 
  42. Provider Letter of Eligibility means a letter sent by the Department to the individual who is the subject of the comprehensive background check that reports eligibility status exclusively and does not reveal specific disqualifying information or any confidential information regarding the individual.
  43. (NEW) Orientation means training or education required before an individual can serve in a specific position. 
  44. Provider means a Family Child Care Provider.
  45. (NEW) Repeat Violation means a violation of a specific licensing rule provision for which the program has been previously cited.
  46. (NEW) Rest and Relaxation means quiet, undirected time. This may include reading, napping, or other quiet individual activities appropriate to the age of the Children. 
  47. (NEW) Risk means the likelihood that a Child may experience some form of harm, injury, or Abuse or Neglect based on factors and/or circumstances to which that Child has been exposed.
  48. School-age Child means a Child who is at least five years old and under 13 years old. 
  49. Serious Injury means:
    1. An injury or illness which requires medical attention from physician or other medical personnel, including, but not limited to, an emergency room visit and/or hospitalization, including those that are the result of an accident involving transportation to or from a facility sponsored event; or
    2. Any illness which is a notifiable condition, as identified by the Department at https://www1.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/disease- reporting/documents/notifiable-list.pdf. 
  50. (NEW) Shelter-in-Place means to remain inside the Provider’s home during an emergency situation, when circumstances indicate that it is unsafe to leave the home. 
  51. (NEW) Staff Member means an individual not related to all Children for whom childcare services are provided who is employed by a Provider for compensation (including independent contractors) whose activities involve the care or supervision of Children or who otherwise have unsupervised access to Children who are cared for or supervised by a Provider. 
  52. (NEW) Staff Member Letter of Eligibility means a letter sent by the Department to the individual who is subject to the comprehensive background check (including Household Members, age 18 and older) that reports eligibility status, provides basis for determination when ineligible, and provides information regarding the individual’s right to appeal.
  53. Swimming Pool means any water-filled container, located indoors or outdoors, for swimming or recreational activity, and having a depth of more than twenty-four inches (24”) at any point.
  54. Toddler means a Child aged 13 months through 36 months.
  55. Toxic Substance means any chemical or mixture that may be harmful to the environment and to human health if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin, including but not limited to alcohol, cleaning supplies, pesticides, and solvents.
  56. (NEW) Universal Safety Precautions means an approach to infection control where all human blood and certain human body fluids are treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other blood- borne pathogens. 
  57. Waiver means written permission from the Department to modify a provision of this rule.
  58. (NEW) Water Activities means the use of splashing Pools, Wading Pools, and swimming Pools with or without slides, and other similar bodies of water including ponds, rivers, and the ocean, excluding water tables and sprinklers.
  59. (NEW) Water Safety Attendant means a person assigned to watch over Children participating in water activities who has completed a Department-approved basic water safety course that includes training in non-swimming rescue techniques within the last three years. 
  60. Wading Pool means a Pool with a water level maintained at 24 inches or less and that is no more than 4 feet in diameter. This Pool does not require a filter and may not contain chemically treated water.
  61. (NEW) Wading Pool Attendant is a person who holds a valid Adult and pediatric First Aid and CPR certificate and is responsible for supervision of Children in a Wading Pool as defined above. 

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