A. Children under six weeks of age. No Child under six weeks of age, as verified by a birth certificate or immunization record may be cared for in a Child Care Facility.
B. Limitations on capacity.
- Children of Child Care Staff Members must be counted in the appropriate age groups and in determining staff-child ratios and capacity when in care at the Child Care Facility.
- The number of Children allowed may be restricted by the Department when any of the following circumstances are present:
a. Space is limited or unusually configured;
b. A Child Care Staff Member has physical limitations that would impact the Child Care Staff Member’s ability to safely care for, supervise or respond to the needs of Children in care.
C. Staff-Child ratios.
- The number of Children present must not exceed licensed capacity.
- The maximum number of Children to be assigned per adult, excluding Staff Members with primary responsibility for clerical, cooking, and maintenance functions must be as follows:
a. Ratio requirements for Small Facilities serving 3-12 Children:
b. Ratio requirements for Facilities serving 13 or more Children:
c. Ratio requirements for Nursery School programs.
- In Child care programs serving 13 or more Children:
a. A single Child Care Staff Member may provide care in one classroom within the building for six or fewer Children, regardless of age, for a period of time not to exceed one hour at the beginning and end of the posted hours of operation.
b. At least two Child Care Staff Members must be present in the Child Care Facility whenever seven or more Children, regardless of age, are present.
c. The group size and the number of required Child Care Staff Members must be determined based on the age of the youngest Child, when there is a combination of ages within a group.
d. Older Children may fill younger Children’s spaces, but younger Children may not fill older Children’s spaces.
e. Special events occurring at the Facility location must provide supervision in accordance with this rule. A Child attending a special event in the care of a parent or legal guardian will not be included in staff-Child ratios. Special events occurring outside of typical hours and days of operation are not subject to this rule.
- Children must be supervised at all times.
a. In Child Care Facilities serving 3-12 Children, Child Care Staff Members must have knowledge of the activity and whereabouts of each Child in care.
i. Child Care Staff Members must be able to see or hear all Children at all times and be able to provide prompt intervention when needed.
ii. Child Care Staff Members must be physically present outside when Children under the age of eight outdoors.
iii. If Children over the age of eight are outdoors and a Child Care Staff Member is not physically present, the play area must be enclosed by fencing and the facility must remain in compliance with Section 7(D)(1)(a)(i) of this rule.
b. In Child Care Facilities serving 13 or more Children, a Child Care Staff Member must be able to see and hear all Children, be responsible for the ongoing activity of the Children, and be able to provide prompt intervention when needed.
- When Children are grouped by age in programs serving 13 or more Children, groupings of Children must be within an individual room, or a specific area within a large room, separated by a partition which visually and physically separates groups of Children. The area must be defined by a visible barrier, partition or other room divider having a height above the eye level of the Children who will use that area.
- The Child Care Facility must provide direct supervision, by awake Child Care Staff Members, to Children while maintaining staff-Child ratios during napping and/or sleeping.
a. One Child Care Staff Member may leave the group setting for periods of no longer than five minutes to attend to personal or programmatic needs, as long as that Child Care Staff Member continues to be available in an emergency.
b. Dimmed, but adequate, lighting to allow visual supervision of all Children must be maintained at all times.
c. Monitors providing both video and audio may be considered as an acceptable form of supervision in an adjacent nap space. Sleeping Children must be checked in person at a minimum every 30 minutes.
- Child Care Staff Members must attend to a Child crying or crying out.
E. Crisis plan. The Facility must develop and follow a written plan for obtaining help in an emergency when only one Child Care Staff Member is present.
F. Personnel Qualifications.
- All Child Care Staff Members working without supervision must be at least 18 years old. 16 and 17-year-old Child Care Staff Members must be directly supervised by another staff person over the age of 18.
a. All Child Care Staff Members must have a high school diploma or equivalent, be attending high school, or be enrolled in a General Educational Development (GED) preparation program or the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) preparation program.
b. All Child Care Staff Members must demonstrate the following:
i. The ability and willingness to comply with all applicable laws and rules;
ii. The ability to provide safe and compassionate services;
iii. A history of honest and lawful conduct; and
iv. Child Care Staff Members working alone may not have physical limitations that would impact the Child Care Staff Member’s ability to safely care for, supervise or respond to the needs of Children in care.
c. All Child Care Staff Members responsible for, or assisting with, the care of Children must exercise good judgment in the handling of Children, demonstrate consistent compliance with this rule and all relevant laws, and must not engage in any action or practice detrimental to the welfare of the Children.
- All Child Care Staff Members must be able to perform their assigned tasks and meet all requirements in this rule. No alcohol, tobacco, recreational marijuana, or illegal drugs may be consumed while on duty. Prescribed drugs or certified Medications that do not impair the ability of the Child Care Staff Member to care for Children are allowed.
- Facilities licensed for 3 – 12 Children must employ a primary caregiver, Director and/or lead teacher who is:
a. At least 18 years of age, and who holds a current certification in adult and pediatric first aid and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR); and
b. Has completed at least 6 hours of pre-licensing training in healthy, safe environments; Child development; observation and assessment; developmentally appropriate practice; guidance; relationships with families; individual and cultural diversity; Children with special needs; business and professional development; and Child care practices.
- Facilities licensed for 13-20 Children must employ a minimum of one director or lead teacher. The Director/lead teacher may be the owner of the Child Care Facility. The director and/or lead teacher must be at least 21 years of age and must meet one of the following requirements:
a. Graduation from an accredited high school or its equivalent, and 12 months of employment in a licensed Child Care Program and 12 hours of training in healthy, safe environments; Child development; observation and assessment; developmentally appropriate practice; guidance; relationships with families; individual and cultural diversity; Children with special needs; business and professional development, Child care, or early Childhood education; or
b. 30 credit hours of college courses including six credit hours in early Childhood education or closely related subjects and six months of experience (employment or college practicum) in a licensed Child Care Program; or
c. Current Child Development Associate (CDA) credential as awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition, or a Maine State-approved credential, and six months of direct Child care experience (employment or college practicum).
- Facilities licensed for 21 – 49 Children must employ a Director and/or lead teacher who is at least 21 years of age, and meets one of the following requirements:
a. An Associate Degree in Arts/Associate in Science (AA/AS) in Early Childhood Education; or
b. An AA/AS with 12 credits in Early Childhood Education or a Department-approved related field, and two years of direct Childcare experience; or
It is the Department’s expectation that upon a staff member’s 18th birthday the individual must immediately schedule their fingerprint appointment. The staff member may continue to work under supervision pending results of the background check.
A contingency period is not permitted by federal law 42 USC 9858f or federal rule 45 CFR 98.43 for a newly hired teacher to work under supervision, even if the length of time waiting to receive the Provider Letter of Eligibility becomes detrimental to the ratios of the program.