A. Enforcement. The Department may direct any Child Care Facility 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. The Department may take one or more of the measures set forth herein, at any appropriate level, to address violations of this rule or applicable statutes.
B. Civil Penalties. The Department may assess civil penalties in accordance with the schedule of penalties outlined in this rule, if the Child Care Facility fails to comply with applicable laws and/or this rule.
- A civil penalty may be assessed for a violation as set forth in this rule.
- A civil penalty is issued via a Notice of Civil Penalty. The Notice will describe each violation, the rule or statute that has been violated and any scheduled amount of civil penalty corresponding to that violation.
- The Department has established the following schedule of civil penalties for Child Care Facility’s failing to correct violations by the Department’s timeline pursuant to 22 MRS §7702-A:
a. Violations regarding records/disclosure: $500.00 per violation.
b. Violations regarding Child to staff ratios – not more than $500/incident or $500/number of Children above the limit set by rule, or both.
- Child Care Facilities are required to pay the Department the amount of the civil penalty within 30 days of receipt of the Notice of Civil Penalty. If the Child Care Facility has not paid the total fines due before license renewal, then the license renewal application will be denied.
- Imposing a civil penalty is not deemed, in any way, to extend any deadline for compliance.
C. Conditional license. The Department may issue a conditional License, when the Child Care Facility fails to comply with applicable law and rules and, in the judgment of the Department, the best interest of the public would be so served by issuing a conditional license or approval, in accordance with 22 MRS§7802(1)(C).
- The notice of conditional License will include a Directed Plan of Action, which must specify when and what corrections must be made during the term of the conditional license or approval.
- Failure to complete or comply with a Directed Plan of Action may result in further enforcement, up to and including the revocation of a license.
D. Suspension of a license. The Department may suspend or seek to suspend a License as follows:
- Administrative Suspension/Order of Closure: Pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 8301-A(5), whenever conditions exist that immediately jeopardize the health and safety of Children, the Commissioner may issue an order of closure, which suspends the Child Care Facility license for up to 10 days, pending further investigation or prior to obtaining an order of emergency suspension from the court. The Department shall require that an order of closure be posted at the Child Care Facility and made public as it determines to be most appropriate for parents and other potential customers.
- Emergency Suspension: Pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 7802(3)(C), whenever, upon investigation, conditions are found which, in the opinion of the Department, immediately endanger the health and safety of persons attending a Child Care Facility, the Department may request from the District Court an emergency suspension in accordance with 4 MRS §184(6).
E. Referral to and Authority of the Office of the Attorney General. Pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 7702-B(4), the Office of the Attorney General has authority to file a complaint with the District Court seeking civil penalties or injunctive relief or both when the Department alleges that a person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other entity is, as relevant here, operating a Child Care Facility as defined in 22 M.R.S. § 8301-A(B) without first obtaining a license.
- Civil penalties: Pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 7702-B(3), the civil penalty is not less than $500 nor more than $10,000 per day. Each day of violation constitutes a separate offense.
- Injunctive relief: Pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 7702-B(3), notwithstanding any other remedies provided by law, the Office of the Attorney General may seek an injunction to require compliance with 22 M.R.S. § 7702-B(1).
F. Refusal to issue or renew a license. The Department may refuse to issue or renew a license when a Child Care Facility fails to comply with applicable laws and rules. The Notice of Refusal to issue or renew a license shall be in writing, will indicate the reasons for refusal, and will be mailed or delivered to the Applicant or Child Care Facility.
G. Revocation of a License. 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 the Child Care Facility or for conduct, or practices detrimental to the welfare of Children attending the Child Care Facility in accordance with 22 MRS §7802(3)(D).
H. Voiding of a Conditional License. The Department may void a conditional License when the Child Care Facility fails to comply with the conditions of the License.
I. 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.
J. Limitation on reapplication after denial or revocation of a license. The following time limit applies to a reapplication after denial or revocation of a license.
- When a license has been denied or revoked on one occasion, the Applicant or Child Care Facility 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.
- If a License has been denied or revoked on two occasions, the applicant or Child Care Facility 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.
- If a License has been denied or revoked on three occasions, the Applicant or Child Care Facility may not receive another License for the care of Children.
K. 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:
- Issuance or voiding of a conditional License;
- Amendment or modification of a License;
- Refusal to issue or renew a full License;
- Revocation or suspension of a full License; or
- Refusal to issue a provisional License
L. 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.
M. Right to appeal.
- The Child Care Facility may appeal a Department action and request an administrative hearing as follows:
a. The appeal must be in writing and must state the specific issue(s) being appealed.
b. The appeal must be made within 30 days of receipt of notice of an action subject to the right of appeal and must be mailed or delivered to the Department’s Hearings Examiner.
c. The following actions are subject to the right of appeal:
i. Denial of a requested Waiver;
ii. Issuance of a conditional License, including amendment or modification of a License, a reduction in Licensed capacity or cessation of new admissions, when required by the Department in conjunction with a conditional license;
iii. Emergency Suspension of a License;
iv. Voiding of a conditional License;
v. Refusal to issue or renew a full License;
vi. Civil penalties; or
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 21(D)(1-2).
- The hearing will be conducted pursuant to the Department’s Administrative Hearings Regulations at 10-144 CMR Ch. 1.
- A Child Care Facility may appeal an adverse final agency action to Superior Court.