Posted in DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information, Legislation

Child Care Provider Stabilization Grants

notice from OCFS ~

Congress approved the Child Care Stabilization Grants appropriated in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) (Public Law 117-2) signed into law on March 11, 2021. The nationwide funding includes $23.975 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to provide grants to providers assist with stabilizing child care across the nation.
Maine has received $73 million from that total for ARP Act Stabilization Grant funds. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) will distribute the grants to child care providers to stabilize Maine’s child care market.

Who is eligible?

All licensed child care providers and Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) license-exempt, nonrelative providers are eligible to apply. Approved grantees will receive monthly payments. Total payments are based on the following:

  • Licensed capacity
    • $100 per licensed slot per month
    • license-exempt, nonrelative providers will be reimbursed based on capacity of 2 slots
  • Additional funds for higher quality levels
    • Step 1- $50 per month
    • Step 2 – $100 per month
    • Step 3- $150 per month
    • Step 4- $200 per month
  • CSP providers
    • $150 per month
  • Providing nontraditional hours of care
    • 6PM to 6AM or weekend hours will receive $100 per month
  • Staff bonuses
    • $200 per staff per month and funds must be paid directly to staff

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Providers must be open and providing direct child care on a regular basis at time of the application.
  • Programs must be in compliance with licensing rules.
  • Programs must have a valid Vender Code with OCFS.
  • All program staff must be active members in the Maine Roads to Quality.
  • Licensed programs must be active in the Quality for ME Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS)
  • All owners, directors, and staff have completed the State approved health and safety training within 90 days of hire.

What are allowable uses of funds?

Grant funds are meant to cover COVID-related costs for the following:

  • Personnel costs – include but not limited to
    • Hazard pay or bonuses to staff
    • Sign on bonuses
    • Increased staff wages
  • Rent, utilities, facilities maintenance, and insurance
  • Reduction in family cost (i.e. registration fees, weekly child care cost for private pay parents)
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning, and other health and safety needs
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Goods and services
  • Mental health services
  • Paying for past expenses

Who do I contact?

For questions regarding your status on any of following contact:

  • License status please contact your Children’s Licensing and Investigation Services Licensing Specialist
  • For information on Vendor Codes contact Vickie Bussey at (207) 624-7909 or Vickie.Bussey@maine.gov
  • CCSP provider status contact OCFS CCSP at 1-877-680-5866 or Augusta: (207) 624- 7999 or email: CCSP.DHHS@Maine.gov
  • Quality for ME certificate status contact Vickie Bussey at (207) 624-7909 or Vickie.Bussey@maine.gov
  • Maine Roads to Quality Registry contact MRTQ at 1-888-900-0055 or mrtq.registry@maine.edu
  • Health and safety training status for yourself or your staff contact Vickie Bussey at (207) 624-7909 or Vickie.Bussey@maine.gov
Stay tuned for updates on when and how to apply!
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 Business Practice, ECE Information

Quality Initiatives Awards

Sharing from Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network ~

Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN) is partnering with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services (DHHS OCFS) to offer Quality Improvement Awards (QIA) and Quality Improvement Mini-Grants (QIMG) to early childhood and out-of-school time programs in Maine. The funding period is July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021; awards are first-come, first-served until funds are expended.

Quality Improvement Mini-Grants must be spent on purchases aligned with the appropriate accreditation standard and must be approved by an MRTQ PDN Accreditation Facilitator.

Quality Improvement Awards: This funding is for programs moving from Step 1 to Step 2 and/or Step 2 to Step 3 with Quality for ME.

  • Programs moving from Step 1 to Step 2 are eligible for a one-time award of $300.
  • Programs moving from Step 2 to Step 3 are eligible for a one-time award of $400.

For Frequently Asked Questions and Instructions around QIAs: CLICK HERE

Quality Improvement Mini-Grants: This funding is for programs that are currently in an accreditation cohort (for at least six months) OR that have submitted for their final accreditation observation, OR that have maintained a Step 4 during the funding period.

  • Programs are eligible for a one-time mini-grant of $1,500.
  • The amount is the same regardless of the type of program.
  • Purchases must be linked to accreditation standards and approved by an MRTQ PDN Accreditation Facilitator.

For Frequently Asked Questions and Instructions around QIMGs: CLICK HERE


Not a member of the MRTQ Registry? It’s easy to join online and it’s FREE. Click HERE to go directly to the page on the MRTQ website where you can join.