A. Inspections. The Department generally conducts unannounced site inspections. The Department may conduct more frequent inspections at its discretion. Routine inspections occur at the following times:
- Upon application;
- Annually, after the date of initial licensure;
- When the Child Care Facility has requested an increase in capacity, a change in premises or services, a change or proposed change in administrator, program description, physical plant or services;
- To investigate a complaint of rule violation, or an allegation of suspected abuse and/or neglect;
- For routine monitoring of care, including determining compliance with a Plan of Action or Directed Plan of Action to ensure that cited deficiencies have been corrected.
B. Right of entry
- The Department has the right to enter upon and into the premises of any licensed Child Care Facility at any reasonable time, pursuant to 22 MRS §7804.
- The Department may enter upon the premises of a Child Care Facility or an individual reported or suspected to be operating without a license, only with permission of the owner or person in charge, pursuant to 22 MRS §7702-B(7), or with a search warrant from the District Court authorizing entry and inspection, as set forth below, 22 M.R.S. §7804.
a. 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 Child Care Facility 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.
b. An owner or person in charge of an unlicensed Child Care Facility may not interfere with, or prohibit, the interviewing of consumers of Child care services by the Department.
C. Elements of an inspection. In order to determine compliance with this rule, the Child Care Facility must allow access to all records and any part of the premises occupied or used by Children.
- The Department may speak with Children, parents, and Child Care Staff Members during inspections.
- The Department may photograph any part of the premises or make a photographic record of documents. The Department will provide copies of photographs taken to the Child Care Facility 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 Child Care Facility may correct violations at the time of inspection. All violations corrected on-site shall be noted on the inspection report. The Child Care Facility 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 Child Care Facility and the Department within five business days of the inspection.
- Following the inspection, the Child Care Facility must demonstrate compliance with the written Plan of Action
E. Directed Plan of Action. Following an inspection or investigation, the Department may issue a Directed Plan of Action for noncompliance with this rule.
- The Directed Plan of Action will specify rules in which the Child Care Facility is non-compliant with this rule and will prescribe the actions that must be completed by the Child Care Facility in order to comply with this rule, along with a timelines for correction.
- Failure to comply with a Directed Plan of Action may result in enforcement action, up to and including the revocation of a license in accordance with Section 21 of this rule.
F. Investigations. The Department will respond to reports from any person alleging violation(s) of licensing regulations or Child abuse and neglect.
- The Child Care Facility must cooperate in all aspects of the investigation of allegations of abuse and neglect, in accordance with 22 MRS Ch. 1674. Cooperation includes but is not limited to the following:
a. The owner or Director of the Child Care Facility may not prevent the Department from privately interviewing Child Care Staff Members;
b. Allowing private interviews with Children, with or without parental consent, in accordance with 22 MRS Ch. 1674;
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 Child Care Staff Members including access to time cards and other payroll materials upon request;
f. Provide access to all incident and accident report records; and
g. Allow access to all parts of the licensed Child Care Facility, including spaces not used for Child care.
- The Child Care Facility 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 Child Care Facility in writing.