Posted in ECE Information, Legislation

State of Maine Child Care 2020-2021 / One Year in a Pandemic

Public Policy Committee ~~

The Maine Association for the Education of Young Children (MaineAEYC), Family Child Care Association of Maine (FCCAM), Maine Head Start Directors Association (MHSDA), and YMCA Alliance of Maine conducted a child care survey this spring. It was sent by email to all licensed child care programs in Maine in April 2021.


FCCAM would like to thank all programs that completed the survey. The information you shared was impressive and has moved the discussion forward.


The Public Policy Committee would like to thank MaineAEYC for generating the final report from all the data collected. We encourage providers to take the time to read the report and look at the survey data.

DOWNLOAD REPORT
SURVEY DATA DASHBOARD

The results of the survey highlight why the significant amount of federal funding coming to Maine this year is so important for the recovery and stability of the child care sector.

Posted in Business Practice

COVID-19 Loan and Grant Programs for Small Businesses

The following information has been pulled directly from the sites handling these loans.

PORTLAND AREA PROGRAMS: COVID-19 Loan and Grant Programs for Small Businesses

The City of Portland’s Business Loan and Grant Programs are designed to provide financial assistance to Portland businesses impacted by COVID-19. This includes businesses that have remained open, have furloughed some or all of their employees, businesses that have closed temporarily, and those that have reopened.

Applications that are received by March 4th, 2021 before noon, will be considered for funding on March 18th, 2021. Applications that are received by April 1st, 2021 before noon,will be considered for funding on April 15th, 2021. Funding approvals will be voted on at the PDC meetings. 

Questions can be sent to nrh@portlandmaine.gov.


GREATER PORTLAND AREA PROGRAMS: COVID-19 Loan and Grant Programs for Small Businesses

Child child programs outside of Portland, but within Greater Portland may be eligible for a similar program at GPCOG. Contact Tori Pelletier: vpelletier@gpcog.org with questions.

The Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) has received a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) award from Cumberland County to assist small businesses within Cumberland County, who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. GPCOG will utilize these funds to administer two forgivable loan programs: Job Program,
Assistance for Job Creation/Retention and Microenterprise Program, Assistance for Owners.

The Greater Portland Council of Government Loan Programs are designed to provide financial assistance to businesses. GPCOG has four primary loan offerings to help alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis for businesses in Cumberland County.

Watch this webinar for information on the GPCOG forgivable loan programs.


Beyond the Greater Portland area, these funds are being made available to businesses through the SBDC.

The Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) in partnership with the Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) will provide grants of up to $5,000 for businesses with five or fewer employees, with an owner whose income is in the low to moderate range as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Eligibility criteria include:

  • Must be a Maine business and resident
  • Must demonstrate a revenue loss as a direct consequence of COVID-19. Funds cannot duplicate those received from other federal, state or local programs (including other CDBG funds).
  • Must have five or fewer employees including the owner(s)
  • Must have been in business as of December 1, 2019
  • Must have a DUNS Number, which can be obtained here http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform
  • Owner’s household income must be low/moderate as defined by HUD as verified by 2019 or 2020 tax return. Please see income eligibility by county (opens in new tab). Total annual household income must not exceed these limits

Where to Start?

You must meet with a Maine SBDC business advisor to determine eligibility and submit an application. Connect with a business advisor who can help you apply. 

Funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

How can the grant be used? 

Businesses may use the grant money for working capital which includes fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid due to the disaster’s impact. 

How much can I apply for?

Businesses can apply for grants up to $5,000. You must demonstrate revenue loss as a direct consequence of COVID-19. Funds cannot duplicate those received from other federal, state, or local programs (including other CDBG programs). 

Where is the funding from these grants coming from?

These funds are made possible as part of the federal CARES Act for its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The funds for the program are being distributed through Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments (AVCOG), Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), Northern Maine Development Commission (NMDC), and Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission (SMPDC).

Posted in DHHS / OCFS

Advocacy at Work

We are sharing some of the recent work of the joint Family Child Care Association of Maine (FCCAM) and MaineAEYC Public Policy Committee. In December, a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package deal was reached. As part of this deal $10 billion is to be provided for the child care industry.  Maine will be receiving their portion of those funds through the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG). The Joint Public Policy Committee drafted recommendations which were submitted to DHHS and OCFS for consideration in how these funds could best support the child care system and it’s workforce in Maine.

In December, federal lawmakers reached a deal on a $900 billion Covid-19 pandemic relief package that provides $10 billion in funding for the child care industry.  Maine will be receiving a portion of those funds through the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG).   and the  worked with our Public Policy Committee members to draft recommendations to submit to DHHS and OCFS for consideration of the use of funds. Here is a copy of our joint recommendations.

As soon as we hear how funds will be used we will spread the word.

Posted in DHHS / OCFS

Face Covering FAQ

“The child care guidance issued on July 31st continues the practice of implementing proactive health and safety measures, including the updated requirement of face coverings for all adults and children 5 and over. The updated requirement was developed in close coordination with health experts, including pediatricians, along with DHHS and DOE officials. Face coverings are increasingly seen as one of the best public health measures to control the spread of COVID-19.” – DHHS/OCFS

FCCAM has copied below the 8/19/2020 FAQ document providers should have received regarding questions DHHS and OCFS have been receiving about the required face coverings for staff and children age 5 and up following the July 31st guidance letter and the webinar.

FROM: The Office of Child and Family Services

DATE: August 19, 2020

SUBJECT: Frequently Asked Questions following July 31, 2020 Updated Guidance

This information is subject to change as OCFS responds to changing circumstances.

Guidance will be updated and distributed as new information becomes available. 

_______________________________________________________

Q: We have remained open for close to 6 months, maintaining our rigorous cleaning, sanitizing, handwashing, etc. and there have been no cases in our center and very few in our area as a whole.  It seems like what we are doing is working.  Why the change  now?

A: Maine continues to be proactive in its approach to slowing the spread of COVID.  Success has been due to effective public health responses and societal responses to physical distancing, face coverings, outdoor settings, and other strategies.  We need to continue effective public health responses as schools move toward opening (in various ways), outdoor interactions decrease in the fall and winter, and the seasonal cold and flu season arrives.  

Evolving scientific evidence shows that face coverings work in the prevention of transmission of the virus, along with rigorous cleaning, physical distancing, sanitizing, and handwashing.  With fewer people staying at home, there is more possibility of transmission, so it is important to do all that we can to reduce the risk of spread of the virus in the community.  

Q: With many schools in the State shortening the school day, there will be a greater need for longer hours of after school care.  Will there be an extension of the option to serve additional school-aged children?

A: The decision to approve serving additional school-age children is made by Child Care Licensing Specialists in conjunction with their supervisor on an individual basis.  A blanket approval is not in place.  This will continue during the State of Civil Emergency period.

Q: What if none of my families want me or their children to wear a mask?  

A: The current expectation is that all adults and staff in the child care and children age 5 and up are required to wear a face covering.  

Q: Are there medical exemptions or exemptions for children with special needs?

A: Staff or children with a known or documented health condition and children with special needs may use a face shield that comes below their chin and extends on both sides of their face to cover their ears.  

Q: Can you provide guidance on writing health policies related to COVID-19?

A: Health policies should be based on the guidance from the CDC for child care and the guidance from OCFS for child care.  You may also access technical assistance from Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ) for support in developing additional health policies related to COVID-19.  You can fill out a request for consultation at the following weblink: https://mrtq.org/onsite/

Q: How long does a child or staff need to be symptom-free before returning to the program, some people are saying that schools are requiring 72 hours?

A: A child or staff with symptoms should be seen by a medical provider to determine if they are in need of testing for COVID-19. If the medical provider determines that a child or staff does not need COVID testing, then they can return to the program when they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, with no fever-reducing medication. If they do need testing, they need to follow the guidance of the medical provider and wait for the results of any testing, as well as be symptom-free for 24 hours with no fever-reducing medication.

Q: What is the guidance for face coverings while sleeping?   

A: Face coverings are not required during rest/naptime.  We recommend maintaining 6 feet of distance between cots/mats, if possible, and arranging children in an alternating head-to-feet position.  

Q: Why outside masking?

A: Face coverings should be worn outside when physical distancing is not feasible to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.  Face coverings are not required during swimming activities as face coverings should not get wet.  

Q: As an adult, I find myself touching my face and tugging at my mask more than I would normally touch my face at all.  How will providers keep children from doing this?

A: Wearing a face covering to reduce or prevent the spread of the virus outweighs the risk associated with the touching behavior.  It is important to remind children to wash their hands frequently.      

Q: Where does the 2 year old age guideline come from? What changes when they turn 2 to suggest they should start wearing a mask?

A:  The CDC has recommended that face coverings should be worn by all individuals above the age of 2.  There is a risk of suffocation for a child younger than 2 years of age.  

Q: Are there dangers of carbon dioxide intake for staff and children wearing masks for any extended periods of time?

A: Face coverings have not been shown to restrict the amount of oxygen your body gets or increase the amount of carbon dioxide breathed in.  

Q: How can mask breaks be implemented in a child care program?

A: Face covering breaks could occur outside or near an open window if not able to be outside while maintaining 6 feet distancing from others.  

Q: Does the 5-year-old mask mandate apply to children in mixed age preschool classrooms (who likely turn 5 during the school year) or only to those 5-year olds in school age programs?

A: It is a requirement for children 5 years old and up to wear a face covering.  Face coverings for children ages 2 to 4 is recommended while in care.  To make it more equitable in mixed age groups, providers may wish to consider introducing face coverings for all children over age 2.

Q: Can we get more guidance around masks at mealtime?  Will all children have to be 6 feet apart while they eat?  

A: Face coverings are not required during meal times.  If possible, OCFS suggests staggering meals, eating outside when possible and the use of barriers as a way to maintain 6 feet of distance.    

Q: School spacing requirements are 3 feet. Does this mean the requirements in child care have changed as well?  

A: The Department of Education is allowing for 3 feet of distance when combined with other measures outlined in their list of safety requirements including, but not limited to, wearing face coverings, proper hand washing and symptom checks. Distancing guidelines have not changed for child care providers.    

Q: Is it going to be acceptable for children to go from a before care program to school and from school to after care?

A: Yes, it is acceptable and is one of the reasons children age 5 and up are required to wear face coverings in child care, as they will likely be going back and forth between the school setting and child care program.  

Q: What is the expectation for enforcing the mask policy when a child refuses to wear it?  

A: We are asking that providers work with children in care at developing this requirement just like you would with anything new.  We know this will be a process and will take some time.  Please visit the following websites for some helpful tips on children wearing face coverings:    https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/cloth-face-coverings/ and https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/subtopics/covid-19-everyday-challenges/.

Q: I am concerned about the development of infants’ emotional health if they never see the smiles of their caregiver.  I’m also concerned that my voice will be muffled so speech development may be affected. How can I wear a face covering and still support their emotional health and development?

A: OCFS encourages the use of cloth face coverings, cloth face coverings with a clear insert, or clear face shields as deemed developmentally appropriate and necessary.  

Q: Why do family child care programs need to implement the face covering requirement? We work so closely with these children, they become family. We are not a big facility with rotating staff.

A: In addition to children going back to school as our state continues to move toward reopening, we know that many families are out in the community more and interacting more with others.  As a result, even a small child care program may be at increasing risk of exposure to the virus.  

Q: I’m a family child care provider; is it an expectation that my partner and children wear masks inside of our home?

A: A household member who does not work in a caregiving role and is in a separate space not used for child care in the home is not expected to wear a face covering.  If the same household member is in the child care space and around the enrolled children, they are expected to wear a face covering.  

Q: How will I maintain full enrollment if my families aren’t in favor of masks?   

A: If you are a licensed provider and have open enrollment for child care in your program, please fill out the Licensed Child Care Capacity Update form.  Additionally, the Program Portal is now live on the Child Care Choices website.  The Program Portal has been developed to allow individual programs to update their information displayed on Child Care Choices including number of openings, listed by age, and if the program accepts Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) funding.  To do so visit the Program Portal login at:   https://search.childcarechoices.me/providerlogin.aspx

Q: Why aren’t other organizations that work with children expected to follow the same mandate (karate places, rec programs, etc.)?  

A: OCFS licenses child care facilities, family child care providers and nursery schools.  The OCFS guidance is for those providers holding a child care license.

Q: Can face shields be worn instead of a cloth face covering? 

A: OCFS encourages the use of cloth face coverings, cloth face coverings with clear insert, or clear face shields as deemed developmentally appropriate and necessary.  

Q: Who will provide the face coverings and is there money to cover the costs of them if providers have to?  

A: This decision is at the discretion of the child care. The child care may provide the face coverings or request that staff and children come with their own clean face coverings.  If the child care provides them, they can use the CCDBG CARES Act grants to cover the costs or they will have an opportunity to be reimbursed through the Coronavirus Relief Fund application that is forthcoming.

Q: What licensing action will be taken? What are the violations going to look like?  

A: OCFS will respond to providers who articulate or demonstrate refusal to require face coverings by taking the following action:

1. Provide verbal warning, support/technical assistance necessary to come into compliance.

2. Continued failure will be documented on an inspection report as violation of Rule with a Plan of Action to come into substantial compliance within 10 business days. 

3. Directed Plan of Action with requirement to come into compliance within 3 business days and required technical assistance.

4. Issuance of Notice of Conditional License (Provider will have appeal rights in accordance with Title 5).

5. Failure to come into substantial compliance while on a Conditional License will result in the issuance of a Notice of Void (Provider will have appeal rights in accordance with Title 5).

Q: Is there a waiver option for a parent to sign?

A: No, it is not an option for a parent to sign a waiver form.  

Q: Can a red, yellow, green system be used to determine if use is needed?  

A: No, this is not an option currently.  

Q: Can the use of air cleaners, allow for masks not to be worn?

A: No, face coverings will still need to be worn even with the use of air cleaners.  

Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information

Back to School Means What for Providers?

We are hearing that providers are making adjustments to their business policies and program offerings to accommodate health and safety considerations raised by COVID-19 for summer care with success, but questions have begun to arise again looking at what “back to school” is going to look like and that impact on care.

Family child care programs are unique and no one solution will be right for everyone. The information in this post is presented to provide general information and links to resources, so you can make the right decision for your program. As we all know information keeps being updated as more is learned about COVID-19. We will continue to do our best to post updated information in our “COVID-19” section of the website menu.

First, any changes you make to policies need to be relayed to each child’s legal guardians. Whether you do this verbally or written, be sure to get a signature indicating they have been informed. This can easily be done on one signature sheet that you maintain in your records. For providers that provide their handbook in hard copy you do not need to reprint your whole handbook for these changes, you can provide an addendum. For those that handle their handbook in a digital format, you also need to have a record of legal guardian sign-off.

It is recommended to keep each policy as clear and simple as possible. In keeping the language as general as possible, you do not need to change it continually. Providers have been asking if they need a separate COVID-19 policy. We continue to suggest you look at your existing illness management policy. Many providers will find their existing policy will cover COVID-19. We also suggest you consider that COVID-19 may not be an isolated health situation and that we have other known community illnesses, such as seasonal flu, whooping cough, and TB. Tom Copeland refers to “public health emergency” language in an April ’20 post about payments during COVID-19. Such language meets that idea of being general, yet clear, and could be used in an illness management policy.

In regards to exclusion from school and bus, we understand schools will be working from the symptoms in the image below. They will definitely be using “most common”, but we have also heard they will be looking at all the listed symptoms. Again it’s good to directly check with any school you have children attending.

Family child care programs are small businesses and have the right to decide their own policies and practices. FCC programs are not schools, but having knowledge of what children will be experiencing in school is important. Having this knowledge also strengthens your relationship with your care children and families. As providers we are often a primary resource for our families. Here is the link to the Maine Department of Education website that provides information on what public schools are going to be required to do to open, to address safe practices, to address a case of COVID-19. Here are some bullet points pull from the complete opening framework:

COVID-19 Pre-Screening Tool for School Attendance ~ DOE provided for distribution to families

The following information is from a 7/29/20 news release by Pender Makin, Commissioner, Maine DOE:

RED – YELLOW – GREEN
On Friday, July 31, Maine CDC will provide us with a breakdown of relative community health risk levels per county, and we will be posting this on the MDOE COVID-19 webpage. The color-coded list of counties is generated by Maine CDC’s team of medical/health officials, epidemiologists, and researchers and is based on several data points using a rolling 2-week average; the county risk levels will be updated every 2 weeks thereafter.  (This might be a good link for providers to access to stay informed about what is happening within the communities of their care families.)

If the requirements, including physical distancing of 3-6’ for students and 6’ for adults, exceed the capacity of your schools and facilities, you will need to implement a hybrid model to reduce the number of students who attend school at the same time, even in a “green” county designation.  (Here’s the first impact on scheduling care slots that providers are concerned about. The other question is impact change when all are at distance learning.)

How schools are able to open and remain open could impact you financially. While providers have been working to figure out fees and payment through the spring and summer around COVID-19 issues, with school opening we are hearing additional concerns. Providers are questioning care slot usage, waivers, and fee levels (especially for changing care that cannot be scheduled). Again there is no clear cut answer around handling fee payment as each program’s situation is unique. We encourage you think about questions such as:

  • Are you the primary income source for your family?
  • What is the minimum income needed to maintain your business and support your family?
  • What savings cushion do you have?
  • What is the known financial situation for your client families? Essential worker, paid working at home, subsidy, etc.
  • What are you comfortable enforcing payment policy wise?

As you work through what solutions work best for your program, we encourage you to read Tom Copeland’s April 1, 2020 post: Can Providers Require Parents to Pay During This Crisis?.

Posted in Business Practice

Liability Waivers and Communicable Disease Exclusion

Questions around liability are still being heard in provider groups. FCCAM has posted on liability waivers and has samples on handbook language available in our Business Toolkit and COVID-19 sections found in the Top Menu.

Here is a recent posting by Tom Copeland on the question. We’ve pulled the following information from that post, as it’s newer information that providers need to be aware of:

“…there are changes coming in the insurance industry because of COVID-19.

Watch out for a new “Communicable Disease Exclusion” endorsement to your policy that says your policy does not apply to communicable diseases. Such an endorsement will say that your policy doesn’t cover ”bodily injury” or “property damage” arising out of the actual or alleged transmission of a communicable disease that might affect staff or ”others that may be infected.”

Such endorsements can be added to your policy at any time. Watch for them or ask your insurance agent if your policy has this new endorsement. …”

Posted in Uncategorized

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Applications for PUA will open on Friday, May 1.

4/28/2020: Department of Labor to Accept Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Applications May 1

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), created through the federal CARES Act, provides unemployment coverage for self-employed family child care providers. PUA will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits through December 26, 2020. Expanded coverage under PUA will be available to workers whose employment was affected by
COVID-19 between February 2, 2020 and December 26, 2020.

Beginning Friday, people who have been self-employed should do the following:

  • Create a ReEmployME account
  • Verify your email address in ReEmployME – click on the Benefit Maintenance menu and follow the instructions to receive a confirming email
  • Sign up for direct deposit – also through the Benefit Maintenance menu. This is faster than the debit card option
  • File your PUA claim – through the Unemployment Claim menu
  • File your weekly certification for any weeks after your loss of employment
  • Continue filing your weekly certification every week

Frequently Asked Questions on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Process:

  1. How do I file for unemployment benefits under this new program?
    A. If you have already applied for benefits and been denied due because of insufficient
    earnings, do NOT reapply. Your claim is in the system and will automatically transfer to PUA.
    Continue filing your weekly certification.
    B. If you are self-employed and you tried to file for unemployment benefits before PUA was
    launched, you must log-in to your online account and update your claim with your self-attestation of earnings. Continue filing your weekly certification.
    C. If you are self-employed and have not yet filed a claim, visit www.maine.gov/unemployment and fill out the streamlined application form for PUA. Submit your weekly certification each week thereafter.
  2. How do I “self-attest” my earnings to file as a self-employed person?
    If you are self-employed person filing for unemployment insurance under PUA, you will be
    asked to attest to the amount of your earnings for either 2018 or 2019. To expediate claims, supporting documentation of your earnings are NOT required at this time, but must be provided later. The Department will alert you when these documents need to be uploaded.
    Please Note: This program is subject to audits by the federal Office of the Inspector General, so claimants are advised to provide accurate information to the best of their ability.
  3. How soon will I receive benefit payments?
    If your PUA claim does not require further review by the unemployment program, you should begin receiving benefits in seven days or less from your initial filing.
  4. How much will I receive?
    PUA benefits start at 50% of the average weekly state unemployment benefit for self-employed and those who do not meet monetary eligibility for regular unemployment. This is $172/week. If you are self-employed, once we are able to verify documented earnings, PUA benefits will be adjusted, retroactively. The maximum benefit available under PUA is $445/week. In addition, anyone who receives a PUA benefit also receives the full $600 additional weekly benefit from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program which is available through July 25, 2020.
SELF-EMPLOYMENT DOCUMENTATION

What documentation will I need to submit for my self-employment? Because wages of people who are self-employed are not reported to the Department, documentation of earnings will be required. PUA benefits will begin in advance of this documentation – do not submit paperwork at this time. The Department will notify people who are self-employed when it is time to submit the documentation.

Listed below are sample scenarios and the documentation that will be required.

A. I owned a business in 2019 and have filed my federal tax return for 2019: 2019 Form 1040 and appropriate schedule, so Schedule C – Profit or Loss from business (sole proprietorship)

B. I owned a single business and filed my federal tax return in 2018 but have not filed my 2019 taxes: 2018 Form 1040 and appropriate schedule, so Schedule C – Profit or Loss from business (sole proprietorship)

Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information

Latest Information on COVID-19 for Maine’s Child Care Providers

FCCAM has received many emails and messages about the topic of payments while being closed. We hope this statement from the Attorney General helps provide you guidance with making decisions for your business moving forward. 

The Maine Attorney General has released a new statement on Child Care Providers Closing and Family Payments – 3/19/2020

“The Office of the Attorney General is receiving questions about whether a daycare provider may legally shut down and continue to charge while it is closed during this emergency. The answer to this question will depend on the agreements reached between the daycare provider and the consumer. If there is a written contract that covers emergency closure, the contract will likely govern. If there is no written contract, or the written contract does not cover emergency closures, there may be an implied contract arising from the pre-existing course of dealing. For example, if in the absence of a specific agreement a consumer pays a daycare provider that is closed for a snow day, that pre-existing course of dealing may mean payment would be required during this emergency.

There are emergency relief provisions being put in place by the state and federal governments. You should look to those measures for relief for unemployment and business losses. Hopefully these measures will alleviate the burden on both day care providers and those that need their services…

….Finally, it is being incorrectly reported that the Office of the Attorney General is investigating the actions of the child care industry in response to the COVID-19 emergency. This is simply not true. While the office has received calls from consumers with questions specific to their daycare provider, we are dealing with these in the same way the office deals with any consumer complaint about a specific service they receive.”

News Center Maine Article             Bangor Daily News Article 
 


FCCAM Board members Chrissie Davis and Sasha Shunk attended a Statewide call this afternoon 3/19/2020 with 14 other key stakeholders in early childhood. They learned, licensing has granted 3 temporary child care licenses for the Department of Corrections. 3 hospitals are in discussion about receiving an emergency license. One currently licensed family child care provider in Maine has received a ratio/capacity waiver. Understanding these guidelines should help put our members at ease with. It is important to note, nobody is caring for 20 kids in their homes under these emergency guidelines


Is Your Program Closed?
Licensing has reported 19% of programs in Maine have closed. If you have closed, please contact your licensor so they can update their files. 


Unemployment News

On March 17, Governor Mills and the Legislature enacted bipartisan legislation to increase flexibility in Maine’s unemployment benefits program. It expands eligibility for benefits to people who are affected by COVID-19 but have not lost their job. The full text of the legislation can be found at: Here

For any Provider with Staff: For more on the Emergency Bill for more flexibility on Unemployment due to COVID-19 Here

FCCAM is aware of the challenges that providers face as self-employed business owners, most of you are not eligible for unemployment. We are advocating options for you. You are seen, you are heard, you are understood. 


Trainings around COVID impact on child care businesses:

Tom Copeland is currently hosting 2 webinars (3/23 & 3/24) focused on the financial side of COVID-19. Both webinars are full. You can register here to receive a recording of the webinar.

Early Childhood Investigations Webinars has Early Childhood Investigations Webinars is offering a recording of their Urgent: Bracing for COVID-19 webinar (3/20) which is also full. Register here to receive a link to that.

FCCAM will also share information they receive from any Board and committee members that have been able to register for these webinars.

You can find additional resources on this website using the top menu under “COVID-19”.

Our Voices are Stronger Together! Join FCCAM Today!
Posted in Business Practice

Managing an Infectious Disease as a Child Care Provider

This post is in response to questions that are being asked by providers around Maine in regards to the Coronavirus. We have gathered resources from a variety of respected organizations that have access to professionals, specialists and research around health and safety. All information shared on this site is done so to allow providers to make informed decisions that are right for their individual programs.

You can access all the gathered resources through the website menu under “COVID-19”. You will find a drop down list that includes a variety of informational resources that support your efforts to maintain a healthy environment and provide families with appropriate information on infectious diseases.


Seasonal influenza is a serious respiratory illness that we recognize as requiring specific management to keep children healthy. A pandemic flu is one where the population lacks immunity and it spreads rapidly across the globe because of this. Our established seasonal flu management and preparation can minimize the effects of a flu pandemic. It is important to understand that Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is just such a novel virus. We should already have measures in place that address how we, in general, will handle this type of respiratory illness within our program. 

As with other respiratory illnesses, certain populations of children may be at increased risk of severe infection, such as children with underlying health conditions. At this time there is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19.

With any illness that reaches pandemic status, we will need to specifically act on additional actions that child care programs are directed to follow. At this time we do not know the if, when or what of these additional actions which is why it is important for providers to be informed about the agencies which will have the primarily responsibility on the federal/state/local level for activating additional actions. 

Center for Disease Control (CDC) – currently (3/6/2020) the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States, but individual risk is dependent on exposure.

World Health Organization

Maine CDC


Let’s look at what you can do right now:
  • Within your program, you/staff and children should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection, including cleaning hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based (60% minimum) hand sanitizer.
  • Practice the best way to catch coughs and sneezes 
  • Review your policy around illnesses and reshare with families. If needed, update to include respiratory illnesses and not just fever.
  • Update all contact information for families
  • Step up your daily health checks. 
  • Review cleaning practices to be sure are meeting the recommended sanitizing and disinfecting requirements
  • Share information you receive from reliable sources with families 

Future action:

  • Include a pandemic illness response plan as part of your Emergency Preparedness Plans

Symptoms are similar to the seasonal flu and can include:  

Infectious Disease Outbreak Control

During the course of an identified outbreak of any reportable illness at the facility, a child or staff member should be excluded if it is suspected that the child or staff member is contributing to transmission of the illness at the program, is not adequately immunized when there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease, or the circulating pathogen poses an increased risk to the individual. The child or staff member should be readmitted when the primary provider who made the initial determination to exclude decides that the risk of transmission is no longer present.

Families and staff should be notified if two or more unrelated persons affiliated with the facility are infected with a vaccine-preventable or infectious disease. Your program will need to notify all families and staff who have come in contact with the child or children. This notification should include:

  • The names, both the common and the medical name, of the diagnosed disease to which the child was exposed, whether there is one case or an outbreak, and the nature of the exposure (such as a child or staff member in a shared room or facility)
  • Signs and symptoms of the disease for which the parent/guardian should observe
  • Mode of transmission of the disease
  • Period of communicability and how long to watch for signs and symptoms of the disease
  • Disease-prevention measures recommended by the health department (if appropriate)
  • Control measures implemented at the facility

The notice should not identify the child or staff who has the infec­tious disease.

There are certain illnesses that are considered “reportable illnesses.” Your program will need to follow health guidelines to notify families and staff about the occurrence of these types of illnesses.

Planning for Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza

  • Develop a plan for keeping children who become ill at the child care facility away from other children until the family arrives, such as a fixed place for holding children who are ill in an area of their usual caregiving room or in a separate room where interactions with unexposed children and staff will be limited
  • Establish and enforce guidelines for excluding children with infectious diseases from attending the child care facility
  • Maintain adequate supplies of items to control the spread of infection
  • Maintain accurate records when children or staff are ill with details regarding their symptoms and/or the kind of illness (especially when influenza was verified through testing)
  • Practice daily health checks of children and adults each day for illness
  • Determine guidelines to support staff members to remain home if they think they might be ill and a mechanism to provide paid sick leave so they can stay home until completely well without losing wages.

Review emergency contact numbers with families regularly. 


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