Posted in Legislation

Update on First 4 ME / LD 1760

Bridget Barden, the Vice-Chair of FCCAM and Chair of FCCAM’s Public Policy Committee was able to attend the recent public hearing on LD 1760 “An Act to Support Children’s Healthy Development and School Readiness” and provide in-person testimony expressing FCCAM’s support of this bill.

This bill creates the First 4 ME Early Care and Education Program under the Department of Health and Human Services to provide comprehensive, high-quality early child care and education services for at-risk children under 6 years of age who have not entered kindergarten and the children’s parents by funding projects that integrate comprehensive resources and services with traditional center-based and family child care settings.

Here is the testimony:

Testimony of Bridget Barden On Behalf of the Family Child Care Association of Maine Before the Committee on Health and Human Services Regarding LD 1760 An Act to Support Children’s Healthy Development and School Readiness”

13 February 2020,

Senator Gratwick, Representative Hymanson, and distinguished members of the Health and Human Services Committee, my name is Bridget Barden, and I am the Vice-Chair of the Family Child Care Association of Maine. I am here today on behalf of our membership to ask that you support the passing of LD 1760 An Act To Support Children’s Healthy Development and School Readiness.

We believe that strong communities are built on strong foundations and those foundations are made when communities have a stable, sustainable workforce. In order to support families and their children, we believe that quality, accessible child care is a pillar of that foundation. The current lack of affordable, accessible, and quality early care and education programs is hurting our communities. Parents are tasked with leaving their children in care that they deem to be substandard or are being forced to leave the workforce to stay home and care for their children. Parents leaving the workforce can have a trickle down effect on the economy of our communities. 

LD 1760 offers communities the opportunity to define themselves and their goals to support quality early care and education. Allowing each community to define what supports they need and how they can attain them gives this bill a unique capacity to support programs of all sizes, types, and demographics. 

Family child care providers can find access to professional development opportunities to be challenging, as they work long hours, often alone. The framework of LD 1760 offers a coaching model, which allows for specialists to come into their homes to help support them in their own professional development plan. Having a specialist come to their programs ensures that they are able to offer quality child care to the children in their communities. 

With the ever present need for early educators in our state, family child care offers an opportunity for not only more people to become early educators, but also to become business owners, which adds to the economic development of their community. When children are adequately prepared for school, the whole community benefits. 

Thank you for your time and attention to this bill.


If you missed our previous post sharing a provider’s experiences with Elevate ME, a program in the Skowhegan area that First 4 ME is modeled after, click here.


You can stay informed on legislation that impacts child care through informational posts on this website, through FCCAM’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and in the “Public Policy” section of the top menu.

Posted in Legislation

First4ME

You might have heard that there is going to be a hearing on Thursday, Feb. 13th in August on LD 1760 / First4ME a public-private partnership model for early care and education and workforce development. 

The bill is modeled after the national Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships. Maine currently has a partnership between the Maine Early Learning Investment Group (MELIG) and Educare Central Maine (ECM) that follows the model. MELIG’s selected the Skowhegan community in Somerset County, as its first Elevate Maine partnership initiative. Its objectives are to elevate early education to the highest in standards and practice, to elevate student achievement for optimal success in school and beyond and to elevate the quality of Maine’s workforce. 

While we can read the language of the bill and research it’s background, it’s nice to be able to hear a first hand experience from a fellow provider that has participated in this type of partnership model.

Chrissie Davis, the Chair of the Family Child Care Association of Maine (FCCAM), has been a provider for the Home Start/Elevate Maine pilot project in Central Maine for 5 years. Here is a brief look at her thoughts about her engagement with the pilot.

I am so thankful that I decided to participate in Elevate Maine. I have developed a wonderful professional relationship with my Coach who comes to my home weekly to support my work with children, their families and my professional development. I receive support for curriculum implementation, child assessments, child nutrition, understanding stages of development, supporting children’s individual needs, strategies for learning environment organization and children’s behavior management, to name a few. My Coach also assists me in working with parents to strengthen the home-school connection and assist them in understanding the complicated state child care subsidy system. I also receive additional financial support for indoor and outdoor materials and supplies and have access to specialists in education, health, nutrition, disabilities and family engagement. Elevate Maine has offered connections to other family and center Providers through joint learning communities. In short, Elevate Maine supports all facets of quality, professionalizes FCC, and helps us develop our small businesses.

More Providers and the children and families they serve should have access to similar supports to promote the health and school readiness of children and grow a quality workforce.

Posted in Legislation

Legislative Session Update

The Executive Director of MaineAEYC, Tara Williams, has shared information from Maine Children’s Alliance’s last legislative update on the budget vote and final bill enactments. The Public Policy Committee of FCCAM wanted to share information about the bills we have been active on this legislative session.

Maine State Budget

  • Friday, June 14th, the Maine Legislature passed an almost $8 billion-dollar two-year state budget.
  • Monday, June 17th Governor Mills signed the budget.

Budget

  • $125 million for voter-approved Medicaid expansion
  • $111 million for K-12 education
  • $17 million more for public colleges and universities
  • seeks to move the state toward a $40,000 minimum public PreK-12 teacher salary
  • hires dozens more child protection workers.

Special Appropriations Table

This session Legislators introduced 1,846 bills. The 241 bills that passed in the House and Senate were placed on the Special Appropriations Table waiting on a decision on funding by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. If funded the bill will be enacted. Members of the Appropriations Committee began meeting on Sunday, June 16th, to review the bills on the Special Appropriations Table. 

Following negotiations between the Governor and legislative leadership, there was approximately $6 million dollars available to support the 241 bills. (The 241 bill needed about $820million to all be funded.) Members of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee completed voting on the bills each caucus had prioritized shortly after midnight, June 19th.

Of the bills the Public Policy Committee has informed you on through postings on this website, through our Facebook page and through email, LD 997, the social emotional bill sponsored by Senator Cathy Breen, was the only one out of this legislative session that will be funded.

Child Care Bond

The work on the bond including the proposed $5 million for low-interest loans and grants for child care programs has not been completed yet.

Posted in Legislation

Update on Early Childhood Education and Care Bills

FCCAM Public Policy Committee received an update on the status of 2019 legislation and budget sent out to collaboration partners of Right from the Start.

The state budget will not cover all the bills moved forward from committees. There will be some hard decisions needing to be made among the bills passed by the legislature and placed on the Special Appropriations Table.

Here are the early childhood education and care bills that are believed will make it to the Special Appropriations Table or sent directly for Governor’s signature:

As always, providers are encouraged to become informed about the bills around early childhood education and care. Once informed reach out to your elected officials to be sure they are aware of your interest in specific bills.

Follow this action alert link to send a message to legislators on the Appropriations Committee and leadership:  https://secure.everyaction.com/1hdrpJDGFUa7NHqnNCzHkA2

Posted in Legislation

LD 1584 ~ ECE Workforce Bill Gets a Public Hearing 5/9/19

A public hearing has been scheduled for LD 1584An Act To Attract, Build and Retain an Early Childhood Education Workforce through Increased Training, Education and Career Pathway” on Thursday, May 9th.

This is an Early Childhood Education workforce bill that establishes career pathways, supports career and technical education centers (CTE), an ECE apprenticeship program, funds scholarships, and focuses on compensation with salary supplements. FCCAM has been providing input specifically around family child care to MaineAEYC and the Right from the Start Coalition as they moved forward with this bill

Summary of LD 1584

If bill passes it would:
•    Expand early childhood education programs at career and technical education centers
•    Expand the apprenticeship program registered with the Department of Labor for those working in the field of early care and education
•    Provide comprehensive scholarships for early childhood educators and providers working with children up to age five
•    Provide education and experience-based salary supplements for early childhood educators and providers working with young children up to age five who are employed in licensed centers and family child care 
•    Build comprehensive articulation agreements & stackable credentials for early childhood educators in Maine to improve recruitment and retention of a highly-qualified workforce

FCCAM believes this bill begins to address the early childhood workforce shortage. Public investment needs to occur to help reverse the decline in the number of family child care professionals. Family child care professionals need to be able to support themselves and their families. For many making less than $15 per hour means they are struggling, as much as many of the families they serve, in making ends meet.

Healthy wages supports quality child care programs.

A healthy child care system supports a healthy Maine economy.

Family child care professionals are an important part of the child care system in Maine.

The child care workforce is the workforce behind the workforce!


Please consider write personal testimony in support of this bill. It’s pretty easy to do with the new online submission format.


This bill is being heard by the IDEA committee, so here is how to start your testimony , plus a general testimony template:

Testimony of ___(your name)___

(you can add Member of FCCAM here if you are one of our members)

before the Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business

in support of L.D. 1584 “An Act To Attract, Build and Retain an Early Childhood Education Workforce through Increased Training, Education and Career Pathways”  

(Date)

Senator Herbig, Representative Daughtry, and distinguished members of the Committee On Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business, my name is _____ and I’m __what is your work or role connected to young children___.  I strongly support this proposal to develop career pathways for early educators, including professional supports, and a focus on compensation.

(add a few sentences about personal experiences around wages, education, workforce issues…..)

Maine’s children and families need a strong, sustainable child care system. Without quality child care programs, parents cannot work. Without workers, our state and local economies suffer. We need effective strategies to recruit and retain a strong early childhood workforce. LD1584 will grow our early childhood workforce supporting Maine’s future prosperity.

Signature

Business name

Posted in Legislation

4 Upcoming Public Preschool Bills (updated 5/14/19)

Update: LD 1043 was the Public Pre-K bill that moved forward. Following public hearing 5/6/19 LD 1043 was voted: OTP -AM. Workshop session has not been scheduled as of this posting.


Let’s look briefly at these 4 bills………

LD 1043 changes the start date to 2020/21 school year for all school administrative units to have public preschool programs for children 4 years old. It requires The Department of Education (DOE) will be required to include in their recommendations: the standards that public preschool programs must meet; the process for approval of partnership with community-based early childhood programs; and levels of funding for public preschool programs.

FCCAM is submitting written testimony on LD 1043 separately from the other bills. We are in support of this bill. We believe all children deserve access to quality early childhood education. We are encouraging that DOE and individual school districts look for creative solutions to offering public preschool through partnering with community-based ece programs like Head-Start, centers and family child care. We also feel that part of this is per pupil payment not classroom payment.

PUBLIC HEARINGS: Wednesday, May 1st

The first of these 4 bills that have something to do with Public Preschool will have a public hearing in the morning session at 9 AM.

LD 712 An Act To Fully Fund After-school and Preschool Programs in the School Funding Formula, Increase the Economically Disadvantaged Student Factor in the School Funding Formula and Increase the School Construction Debt Service Limit
Lead Sponsor: Representative Michael Brennan

The remaining 3 bills will have their public hearings during the afternoon session that starts at 1 PM.

LD 468An Act To Require That the State Fund on an Ongoing Basis a Minimum of 50 Percent of the Costs Associated with Public Preschool Programs
Lead Sponsor: Representative Richard Farnsworth

LD 1428An Act To Require the State To Fund 50 Percent of Public Preschool Programs
Lead Sponsor: Senator Rebecca Millett

LD 1043An Act To Establish Universal Public Preschool Programs
Lead Sponsor: Representative Victoria Kornfield

Let’s look briefly at these 4 bills………

LD 1043 changes the start date to 2020/21 school year for all school administrative units to have public preschool programs for children 4 years old. It requires The Department of Education (DOE) will be required to include in their recommendations: the standards that public preschool programs must meet; the process for approval of partnership with community-based early childhood programs; and levels of funding for public preschool programs.

FCCAM is submitting written testimony on LD 1043 separately from the other bills. We are in support of this bill. We believe all children deserve access to quality early childhood education. We are encouraging that DOE and individual school districts look for creative solutions to offering public preschool through partnering with community-based ece programs like Head-Start, centers and family child care. We also feel that part of this is per pupil payment not classroom payment.

LD 712, 1428, and 468, all have to do with funding. LD 468 requires ongoing funding at 50% for public preschool. LD 1428 saying that if funds for essential programs and services do not provide the funding necessary to reach the minimum of 50%, the State is directed to use other funding sources. LD 712 increases funding for economically disadvantaged students, include after-school programs, and raises the maximum debt limit for school construction projects.

FCCAM is writing 1 letter of support for all 3 of these funding bills. (We will be submitting the same letter twice, because of the split in morning and afternoon hearings and the structure of the online submission process.) If Maine is going to have public preschool than it needs to be adequately and equally funded. This funding also needs to be ongoing. We know that the positive return on monies invested in early childhood education is significant. Using tax dollars to invest in public preschool, means needing a mixed delivery system offering quality programs that will meet the needs of all Maine’s 4 year olds.


We encourage you to write testimony on any of these bills. Not sure writing testimony? Check out this previous post.


Maine now requires submission of written testimony be online. The process is pretty easy. Click on committee, date of hearing then bill(s). Then add testimony into the text box. To be sure you do not lose your work we suggest to add testimony by file or copy and paste into the text box.

Posted in Legislation

New On-line Process to Submit Testimony on Bills!

Beginning April 22, 2019 the Maine Legislature will no longer accept testimony through e-mail. 

With the large numbers of individual testimonies being submitted by emails to committee clerks, the Legislature has created a new process to submit testimony online. With this change, if you plan to provide testimony in-person you should not use the online system.


How to use this new submission process:

  • Access the page to submit testimony online
  • Choose the committee
  • Choose the date/time of the public hearing
  • Check the bill for which you plan to provide testimony from the list provided.
  • Cut and paste your testimony or attach a file.
  • Supply your name, town/organization, and email address.

For your convenience, a new submission form will be available 24/7 through the Maine Legislature’s website athttps://www.mainelegislature.org/testimony. This system will automate the distribution of electronic testimony to the committee members, analyst and clerk. Testimony will continue to be included in the public record for committee meetings. Do not include personal information that you do not want made public. Testimony emailed directly to the committee clerk will not be included in the public record or posted to the web page.

If you are planning to attend the hearing and provide paper copies, please do not submit your testimony electronically.

Links to the new submission form will be available on both the home page and committee pages.

For questions or assistance, please contact the Legislative Information Office at 287-1692.

Maine’s citizens are engaging beyond just voting. Our voices are being heard on specific bills through our written testimonies.

Posted in Legislation

3 More Bills to Know About

There are 3 bills heading to committee and public hearing that the FCCAM’s Public Policy Committee is currently following. We do not have the hearing date for all 3 at this time, but wanted providers to have the time to: digest the bills; be aware of the thoughts raised in Public Policy Committee discussions; and have time to write their own personal testimony regarding their stance on a particular bill.

L.D. 997 ~ An Act To Promote Social and Emotional Learning and Development for Young Children

Our first bill is before the JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS and now has a PUBLIC HEARING scheduled for Monday, April 1, 2019, 1:00 PM, Cross Building, Room 208 // FCCAM Public Policy Committee will be submitting written testimony in favor of this bill.

This bill requires the Commissioner of Education to implement, beginning September 1, 2020, a statewide voluntary early childhood consultation program to provide support, guidance and training to families, early care and education teachers and providers working in public elementary schools, child care facilities, family child care settings and Head Start programs serving infants and young children who are experiencing challenging behaviors that put them at risk of learning difficulties and removal from early learning settings. The bill requires the Department of Education to design and implement the program and to report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over education matters on the implementation of the statewide voluntary early childhood consultation program.

Additional information/notes:

  • Important that it is voluntary and free.
  • State will be designing the program in consultation with Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and key stakeholders. If the program is modeled after one in Connecticut, we believe it will possibly follow SAMHSA programs. Example: Project LAUNCH
  • Consults would provide tools and skills for the programs that utilize it to work with children with challenging behaviors. Team effort includes provider, family, educational specialist and mental health consultants.
  • Recognizes needs of rural communities
  • Maine Roads To Quality has 1 person who is trained in Mental Health.
  • Maine has 2nd highest expulsion rates in the country.
  • Licensing requires providers to now have expulsion policy. Good to have support providers can incorporate into their policy.
  • Where does CDS fall in this?

LD 1012 An Act To Provide Stable Funding and Support for Child Care Providers

At this time there is no scheduled public hearing or workshops for this bill. // FCCAM supports the ideal of this bill. There is effort underway to gather more information around questions discussions have raised.

  • It establishes graduated quality differential rates for steps 2 to 4 in the 4-step child care quality rating system currently required by law;
  • It requires that contracts with providers of child care services prioritize infants, toddlers and preschool children up to 4 years of age in a variety of ways;
  • It directs the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a shared services program for providers of child care services to realize efficiencies and achieve financial sustainability by sharing administrative and program services and costs.

This bill amends the child care services provisions (subsidy):

Additional Information/notes:

  • FCCAM likes that “Continuity of care” is a main piece or focus and stated right off.
  • Special increase in differential rates for infants might encourage more providers to provide infant care. There is a significant need for both regular and subsidized infant care across Maine.
  • What does “additional training” look like? Is it already aligned with the required training programs providing subsidy care currently have to take?
  • How does age assigned care slots work as child ages?
  • Concern with the age 4 language, as question how that works with a child who turns 5 before entering public school as a Kindergartner.
  • Question sharing of services and how that will work with family child care providers. Is it modeled off the original Shared Services Leah Parker established under grant. Or are we looking at establishing resources referral centers that are only accessible to providers that have contracted to provide subsidized care?

LD 1043 An Act To Establish Universal Public Preschool Programs

UPDATE: Public Hearing May 1st / 1 PM

At this time there is no scheduled public hearing or workshops for this bill. // FCCAM supports the ideal of every child having access to quality child care and early childhood education. There is ongoing discussion about what public preschool will look like and where family child care will fit in.

The topic for the April 8th online FCC Community of Practice (facilitated by Tammy Dwyer of MRTQ) is: Public Pre-K. Registration link for the CoP will be posted in the sidebar once available.

This bill specifies that it is the goal of the State to ensure that public preschool programs for children 4 years of age are offered by all school administrative units by the 2020-2021 school year. In order to achieve that goal, this bill requires the Department of Education to develop recommendations and report back to the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs by January 1, 2020. Recommendations must include:

  • Standards for public preschool programs;
  • A process for approval and certification of programs not operated by a school administrative unit, including, but not limited to, a Head Start program or other program affiliated with the school administrative unit; and
  • Funding for public preschool programs.

The Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs may report out legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 129th Legislature to implement the recommendations in the report.

Additional Information/notes:

  • Family child care must be explicitly mentioned in this bill.
  • REQUIRE the school departments who take this money ensure a portion will be used to include FCC providers through community collaboration as part of the solution to providing public Pre-K.
    • FCC provider could be required to meet the state requirements of having the required teaching degree.
    • Nationally accreditation could be required.
    • Could FCC provider work as subcontractor under supervision of school system, thus not requiring Step 4 on QRIS, teaching degree or national accreditation?
    • Funding to support FCC providers meet increased requirements such as degree, accreditation.
Posted in Legislation

LD 222 Discussion Continues…….

(*updated 2/12/19 with FCCAM testimony)

While the original intent of LD 222 was to stop all child care programs from charging families when they are closed, the bill as it will be heard on Feb 13th covers programs providing subsidized care. FCCAM has not been able to confirm if there will be any amendments to LD 222, or if the bill will be pulled.

FCCAM has concerns with any bill that would control the right of a provider to develop their own fee structure. We will be providing written testimony for the Feb. 13th public hearing opposing LD 222.

For those providing subsidized care they know first hand the negative impact this bill would have. For those who do not provide subsidized care FCCAM’s Public Policy Committee would like to provide you with some additional information around what the impact will be to your peers.

We start the search on the Maine’s Child Care Subsidy Program home page. Scrolling down to access the Child Care Subsidy Program Rules. 

Section 9 explains how payment is made, however there is additional information in earlier sections that relate to payment, so let’s start there:

2.02.3 Subsidy is approved for enrollment hours as specified in Section 9, Enrollment, and cannot exceed fifty (50) hours per week without prior approval of the Department.
2.03 The subsidy payment is set by the Department based on a biennial Market Rate Survey required by federal law (45 CFR 98.42). The Sliding Fee Scale is determined by the Department adjusted for family size and income. Together the Parent fee and the Subsidy payment may not exceed the Child Care Provider’s rate for their other clients for comparable care and may not exceed the Market Rate. Together they constitute payment to the provider for Child Care Services. See Standard 7.07, Special Child Care Provider Fees

3.06 Students Needing Child Care
3.06.1 The eligibility for services will continue uninterrupted for a child of a Student during a normal summer vacation period (about 15 weeks). Student must be enrolled for benefits to continue.
3.06.2 Child Care Subsidy Services will continue following a scheduled break in attendance upon receipt of an updated school schedule and documentation of satisfactory progress and attendance by the Student. See Standard 4.05.3.
3.06.3 It is the Student’s responsibility:
a. To recruit a Child Care Provider who is willing to forego
payment for a summer vacation period
when the Student is
neither Employed nor looking for work; or
b. To recruit a new Child Care Provider upon his or her return to school,
c. To contact DHHS thirty (30) calendar days prior to resuming
enrollment to re-determine eligibility and rewrite or update the
subsidy agreement.

4.01.2 Per Diem Employment
Income eligible parent who is employed in the public or private
sector on a per diem basis and is not self-employed may be eligible for child care subsidy if the following criteria are met:
a. The Parent is responsible to recruit a Child Care Provider who
is willing to forgo payment until pay stubs verifying the hours worked have been submitted
to the Department.
b. The Parent must submit pay stubs to the Department for all
hours requesting Child Care Subsidy on a biweekly basis.

Failure to do so will result in nonpayment of child care
subsidy.

7.06.6 The agreed upon maximum payment to the Child Care Provider for Child Care Subsidy will:
a. Be the total of the Subsidy payment and the Parent fee.
b. Will not exceed the Department established Market Rate or the Child Care Provider’s rate, whichever is less.
c. Will not exceed the rate charged to the Child Care Provider’s other Parents for equivalent Child Care Services.

8.06.2 Billing Period
Child Care Providers will bill the Department on a biweekly basis
as agreed upon by the Department and the Child Care Provider.
The billing period will be stipulated in the Provider Agreement.
8.06.3 Payment Timing
When the Child Care Provider’s bill is correctly completed and
submitted to the Department within the time frame stipulated in the Provider Agreement, the Department will pay the Child Care
Provider within ten (10) working days of receiving the Child Care
Provider’s request for payment.

Now for Section 9.

9.01.2 The Department will reimburse providers for Child Care Services based on the number of hours the Parent qualifies for subsidy and the number of hours the child is in care.

Currently payment is made only for hours of direct care. This payment structure is one barrier to more providers accepting clients using subsidy.

9.02.5 In order to maintain continuity of Child Care Services, and if it is the established practice of a licensed or certified Child Care Provider to charge the general public for such periods of time, the Department will pay the provider for holidays, and up to one week of provider vacation time. 

This language is clear that 1 week of vacation care will be covered, as well as, paid holidays that are part of the established practice of the provider. Subsidy cannot be charged if the general public client is not.

If a provider takes additional vacation weeks they cannot charge subsidy families for that care. They can charge their general public client. Providers may be closed for vacation, but they often have still have business expenses. Providers can chose to receive payment 52 weeks a year or change their fee structure to have vacation week fees instead divided over the non-vacation weeks. For providers accepting subsidy, if child is not in care they do not get paid and cannot adjust their rates. Rates are set by the state for each county.

So, how does FCCAM see this bill impacting providers?

If LD 222 is passed as written, providers who take families receiving subsidy support would not get paid for currently accepted holidays and any week of vacation they take. This would be an added financial burden on providers. Subsidized care payments are already paid at a lower percentage than a counties market rate (average). Family child care providers are working to provide financial support to their families. They cannot absorb additional income lose. For subsidy there is no option to adjust rates.

FCCAM sees LD 222 providing an additional barrier for families receiving subsidy finding quality child care. Currently, there are not enough providers willing to provide services for families receiving subsidy because of both payment level, but also just dealing with the system in general.

FCCAM believes all families entering into a contract with a child care provider should be made aware of paid holidays, health days and any vacation time a provider will be taking. Providers should have a written policy with their complete fee structure that is shared with families as part of the registration process. It is then up to the family to decide if they are able to work with the provider’s schedule and fee structure.

FCCAM questions the legality of the original intent of LD 222 to stop child care providers from collecting payment from any family when said provider is unavailable to provide care.

FCCAM will be providing written testimony for the public hearing on Feb 13, 2019 opposing LD 222. FCCAM has tried to provide basic information, through this site, to help providers make their own decision on the value of LD 222. The Public Policy Committee strongly encourages all family child care providers to add their voice by sending in personal testimony.

We have included a link to a general template for written testimony to the Health and Human Services Committee.

Template for written testimony for a Public Hearing

Your testimony can be emailed as an attachment (word or pdf) to: Rowland E. Robinson, Health and Human Services Committee Clerk, rowland.robinson@legislature.maine.gov

Posted in Legislation

LD 222 (HP185) “An Act To Prohibit Child Care Providers from Requiring Payment during Vacation Closures”

There has been a good amount of discussion among providers upon hearing of this bill that is coming before the Health and Human Services Committee on the afternoon of Feb. 13th. Following is information available from the State of Maine legislative site on this bill.

Presented by Representative Michael PERKINS

Michael.Perkins@legislature.maine.gov
93 Willey Point, Oakland, ME 04963 
Work: (207) 465-4835 Cell: (207) 716-6968 Home: (207) 716-6968 
Seat Number: 57 House District: 77
Town(s): Oakland (Part) / Sidney 

Cosponsored by Representatives: FAULKINGHAM of Winter Harbor, HEAD of Bethel, HUTCHINS of Penobscot, JAVNER of Chester, NADEAU of Winslow, PICKETT of Dixfield, SKOLFIELD of Weld.

What does LD 222 change?

This is a repeal of sections of 22 MRSA around the usage of state or federal funds to reimburse for child care services. The summary indicates that if adopted LD 222 would stop providers from charging any fee for any period of time they are closed for vacation. It would also stop the reimbursing of recipients of child care services for any period of time their provider is closed because the provider is on vacation.

Here is the exact language as printed:

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
Sec. 1. 22 MRSA §3737, sub-§1, as enacted by PL 1993, c. 158, §2, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
1. Prohibitions on payments. The department may not make:
A. Cash payments to recipients for child care services provided under this chapter, except when those payments represent reimbursement for services already provided to the recipient; or
B. Payments to providers of child care services or recipients for child care services provided under this chapter for any period of time the provider is closed because the provider is on vacation.

Sec. 2. 22 MRSA §8301-A, sub-§10 is enacted to read:
10. Vacation. A certified family child care provider, a licensed child care facility or a person who provides day care in that person’s home for one or 2 children whose care is paid for by state or federal funds may not charge any fee for any period of time the provider is closed because the provider is on vacation.

Sec. 3. 22 MRSA §8402, sub-§3, ¶G is enacted to read:
G. The nursery school may not charge any fee for any period of time the nursery school is closed because the provider is on vacation.



As written, it appears this bill would impact all legally operating providers of child care that provide care to families receiving subsidy.

A member of FCCAM’s Board recently spoke to Rep. Perkins to see if we could get more information around the purpose/intent of his original LR. From our conversation, the reason behind Rep. Perkins original LR was to help families that have to pay for care when their provider is closed and also find themselves having to pay additional fees for care during that time by another individual. Representative Perkin represented the original intent of his bill was to cover all families with children in care, not just those receiving state or federal reimbursement for care. From our discussion his concern appears to be around the financial hardship families can be found in when having to pay double for a single week of care.

Rep. Perkins seemed open to further discussion on LD 222 and FCCAM’s Public Policy Committee will be looking into this bill further and possible avenues of addressing the issue it raises.