When setting your rates only you can decide what works for your program and the clients you are going to be providing child care services for.
Here are some points to consider around using Maine’s Market Rate when setting your rates:
- The Market Rate is what the state recognizes as the rate for care in your county.
- It’s important to know your community as you look at the Market Rate. Counties can have significant differences between average incomes within communities.
- The Market Rate Survey is required by the federal government as part of the CCDF to be conducted biennially to measure the prices charged by providers and paid by families in a given child care market. In Maine it’s done by county.
- Most providers associate the Market Rate with Child Care Subsidy. The Market Rate is more than just about subsidy. It is what the state has determined as the average fees currently charged for care by county.
- Maine has set the maximum allowable subsidy payment rate for family child care services at the 75th percentile of the Market Rate Survey. Maine has a Sliding Fee Scale for families that regulates the family’s copayment for care. Together the family copay and state subsidy payment may not exceed the child care licensees’ set rate for their other clients for comparable care and may not exceed the Market Rate.
- This is important to understand – example: if your set rate is $180 for infant care and the Market Rate is $220, the state and family copay only covers to $180, not $220.
- If you do not take subsidy, realize the state found the average rate for care in your county to be $220. You set your rates, but at $180 you are $40 below market rate.