Posted in Business Practice

That Staff Handbook……

There continues to be questions about the “Staff Handbook” required in the current Family Child Care Licensing Rule. The Professional Learning Committee has a variety of resources around staff available on this site. They can be found through the “Menu” under “Business Toolkit ” and “Licensing Rule (FCC)”.

Let’s start with the “Staff” part of the 3 checklists found in the “Licensing Rule (FCC)”. This list is the minimum required in the FCC Licensing Rule. For sole providers this can all be covered in your general Parent Handbook. You do not need a separate staff handbook that way. The purpose of the Staff Handbook is to be sure responsibilities are clearly stated for staff. The Staff Handbook does not need to be shared with your parents. For these with Staff you may also find you have this covered in your Parent Handbook. If so, copy it for your separate Staff Handbook.

Policies and implementation required:
i. Mandated reporting,
ii. Child guidance,
iii. Child illness,
iv. Fire drill procedures,
v. Emergency and disaster procedures,
vi. Staff Member qualifications and training,
vii. Supervision of Staff Members/interns
viii. Reporting licensing violations,
ix. Inclusionary practices for Children with disabilities,
x. Safe sleep policy,
xi. Serious injury and Child death reporting,
xii. Expulsion and suspension prevention,
xiii. Interpretation for English Language Learners,
xiv. Release of Children, and
xv. Transportation of Children (if applicable).
A personnel record must be kept for all Staff Members.
a. Name, current street and mailing address, birth date and current telephone number;
c. Dates of employment and termination of Staff Members. Reasons for termination must be kept in the personnel record for a minimum of one year;
d. A statement signed and dated by each Staff Member certifying that the most current licensing rule has been read and understood;
e. A statement signed and dated by each Staff Member, certifying that the Provider ‘s personnel policies, admission policies, and Parent handbook have been read and understood;
f. Documentation of any disciplinary action;
g.Documentation of completed background checks in the form of a Provider Letter of Eligibility, issued by the Department, that specifies the Staff Member is Eligible for employment.
The Provider must document all orientation and training of all Staff Members by proof of completion from a qualified on-line or in-person source.
Staff Members must be properly immunized and provide documentation of immunizations to the Provider.
Staff members must receive written instructions regarding Child Abuse or Neglect reporting that contains a summary of the State of Maine Child abuse reporting statute and a statement that they will not be discharged or disciplined solely because they have made a Child Abuse or Neglect report.
Immunization records must be maintained to ensure proper medical treatment is determined and given in the event of a disease outbreak or public health emergency.

On this website, the “Business Toolkit” is where you will find most of the resources you want for both parent and staff agreements. For parents go to the landing page to start. For staff go directly to the drop down menu.

The “Staff Contract/Handbook” contains just about everything a small family child care owner needs to support hiring, staff meetings, contractual language and complying with the FCC Licensing Rule for a Staff Handbook around program policies. Language samples runs from a simple 1 page policy awareness and signature to sections that cover everything in more detail. As each program is unique, you will have to do some clicking and scanning of the shared resources the PLC has gathered from a variety of providers to find what works best for you. Adjust to meet your specific needs.

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Interpretation for English Language Learners

The Professional Learning Committee continues to review the FCC and Facility Licensing Rules as part of gathering resources to support providers. As part of this review we hit upon the requirement in the staff handbook that requires interpretation for English Language Learners.

This is not an area we have seen providers raising many questions about, but are also not seeing it addressed in policies we are seeing. We are wondering if providers have not picked up on it, as we had not in our previous readings of the Licensing Rule?

The diversity of Maine’s communities, whether urban or rural, continues to grow. This diversity is also being seen in the child care workforce, whether it’s staff or new programs being opened. With community changes providers are seeing the diversity of the children in care changing. The question becomes how we as small business owners address this diversity within our programs. Providing the service of child care we know that working with the child’s family is a major part of that we do. We want our client families to understand we are open to working together. Add in that best business practice tells us we should address our working practices within our policies. The PLC reached out to MRTQ PDN DC Marnie Morneault to discuss concerns of English Language Learners and some of the impact on providers and programs. As part of this discussion Licensing was also asked to clarify if the interpretation requirement was just for staff, as that was the only place we found it clearly required. Their response was that interpretation covered more than staff. It covered our work with children and communication with their parents/legal guardians. With this clarity the PLC felt it was important to provide sample language providers could use in their handbook covering interpretation.

The question became: “How do we make it clear that we welcome diversity and meet interpretation needs for English Language Learners (ELLs)?”

You might also see or be familiar with ELLs being referred to as: limited English proficient (LEP), Dual Language Learners (DLLs), home language, or primary language. In the past English as Second Language (ESL) was commonly used. That has changed with the recognition that many who are learning English already speak several other languages, so English would not be a “second” language.

What is language interpreting and translation?

Language interpreting is the conversion of one spoken language into another, where translation covers written language. Interpreting and translation also apply to the context of signed languages and tactile writing systems like Braille.

Looking beyond the child considering a child’s parents and/or your staff, they may have good conversational fluency in English, but may not be able to understand, discuss or read information proficiently in English. They may be reluctant to request or accept professional interpreting and translation services due to fear of costs, inconvenience, or concerns about confidentiality. We felt these barriers needed to be consider in development of policy language. Providers may already be addressing inclusion within a number of policies around children’s rights, parental communications, their program’s curriculum meeting individual child needs. Through continuing discussion specifically around language, the PLC thought it made sense for providers to add in simple, specific language that clearly mentioned working with English Language Learners. Working with Marnie we have 2 language versions that should meet that need.

If you have your handbook all updated for the new Licensing Rule, you can add this language as an addendum. If you print off your handbook you can now print off this language as a separate sheet and hand it out to parents. If you do your handbook online, it’s easier to make changes in the set-up. Make the change and then send an email with the link, verbally tell and/or note on your parent information board.

English Language Learners Policy (Families):

At ___ childcare we accept learners from all ethnic backgrounds.  The primary language we communicate in is ____.  If you communicate more comfortably in another language, please let us know.  We will make every effort to make our materials and communications accessible for you in your home language.  We will also incorporate your child’s language and culture into our visuals and communications as much as possible. 

English Language Learners Policy (Staff):

At ____childcare we employ staff from all ethnic backgrounds.  The primary language we communicate in is ______.  If you communicate more comfortably in another language, please let us know.  We will make every effort to make our materials and communications accessible for you in your home language.  

Additional resources for providers looking for more information on this topic:

Dual Language Learners: Considerations and Strategies (Head Start/ECLKC)

Dual Language Learners Resources | Early Childhood  (The National Center on Early Childhood Development)

Planned Language Approach: Tips for Getting Started (Head Start/ECLKC)

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information

A Conversation with Licensing Around the FCC Rule

The Professional Learning Committee recently met with Licensing Supervisors, Pattie Collins and Jennifer Welch. This meeting was a chance to ask about the process behind the FCC Licensing Rule and to get clarification on regulations that have been raising questions among providers old and new.

We started out passing along some simple editing notes providers had shared with us:

  • Section 8/Training A(10):  “Transportation of Children (if the individual will be responsible for the transportation of children; required biannually thereafter) 

This training is required every 2 years, not twice a year. “biannually” is an editing error and will be corrected in the final printing.

  • Section 2-G misnumbering after 8

We pointed out our note on this in the “Licensing Rule”. They were aware of this and noted it was listed for correction.

Then we asked for clarification around the changes for immunizations. The changes having to do with immunizations are driven by the new Maine Vaccine Exemptions Law which requires all DOE and DHHS rules to be amended to fit under this law in regards to only medical exemptions being acceptable for lack of immunization by Sept 1, 2021. This exemption applies to both children attending child care and adults providing child care. So yes,

  • All children need to have complete immunization records on file, even school-age.
  • All adults providing care need to be immunized and their records also on file.

Maine Child Care Immunization Standards

Maine-AAP vaccination exemption form for child care.

“Properly immunized” for adults means Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccination (Tdap) and Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) for those born after 1956..  More information about adult vaccination schedules can be found here: Adult Immunization Schedule by Vaccine and Age Group | CDC

Next we discussed what was meant by a provider handbook for staff vs a manual in Licensing Requirements and Procedures 2:G7. This requirement is causing a lot of anger/frustration among providers that are sole providers and we wanted to be sure the information we have been and will provide is correct.

We shared examples from FCCAM’s “Licensing Rule” and from a provider’s business website. The examples are for a sole provider without staff or volunteers who closes when they cannot provide care. Language samples also covered what would happen if that changes. Individual policies included provider/staff/house member as appropriate when referring to who had responsibility to carry out a policy. What Licensing made clear is that sole providers do not need a separate staff handbook or manual as long as they make it clear to parents that they work alone, they will comply with regulations about staff if that changes, and their policies clearly state who has responsibility to carry out the policy as required in rule.

In reading the Licensing Rule, you will notice that many of the policies listed for the parent handbook and the staff handbook are duplicated. If you have one handbook you need to be sure to have a policy for everything listed for the staff manual as well. 

If you have staff and your parent handbook is written in such a way that this policy also applies to staff, you can use your parent handbook.  If your current parent handbook does not have the required policies, you can either add the additional policies needed or if you feel the policies are really only meant for employees to see then create a smaller separate handbook for staff.  

Again, providers need to be sure to have a policy for everything listed for the staff manual. Policies shared with parents need to be clear about who has responsibility within the policy language. With that a separate manual is not needed.

From a quick review of the Licensing Rule Toolkit, Licensing felt the general format appeared to covering the Rule, Licensing’s responses and FCCAM resources. We also explained that the PLC is taking opportunities to raise awareness of best practices by adding suggestions for providers to add to Rule requirements for items such as the sunscreen policy by including bug spray also.

We shared our inclusion of the spreadsheets for 3 checklists that providers seem to be asking for: Records need / Handbook / and Staff

Licensing informed us that Licensing Specialists are informing fcc providers of the website and the Licensing Rule tool.

Under Section 7(F)(1) The Provider and All 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. This requirement was consistent in Rules prior to 2017, but not in the 2017 Rule. This requirement on education level is not Maine statute, so it is possible to get a waiver. 

Licensing wants to be sure that providers are aware that they need to be registered with Maine Roads to Quality and each program must sign up for the Maine Quality Rating System.  

The PLC and Licensing then talked about the process that happened for this Rule and should be happening for Rule proposals. There has been a good deal of questioning about provider input and the timeline for this Rule, especially with everything providers have dealt with this past year around COVID.

Let’s start with why Licensing doesn’t answer question about the proposed Rule. Legally, once the public is informed of the proposed Rule Licensing can only take questions during the public comment period through the process in place (email address set up for comments/question) until the Rule is in effect. They cannot respond directly to those questions about the Rule only about the rule making process until after Rule is in effect. 

Each Administration can impose additional restrictions on development of rules.  

Federal requirements can also impact stakeholder engagement because of shortened or limited timelines. 

In building any new Rule outdated requirements need to be removed or adapted to comply with current child care standards. 

The Rule is impacted by statutes from across Maine law.

In Maine there are 3 Rules that cover the child care system: FCC, Facility (which will combine Centers and Nursery schools once in effect) and Background Checks. The Background Checks Rule is separate because of how it is covered in state law/statutes. 

The best practice is to have Rule revision every couple of years, with ongoing review. The Department goal is to have all Rules – FCC and Facility all align and that all three rules are updated on a regular basis. This would support consistency. Alignment has not been the previous practice. 

Our conversation with Licensing was only able to touch on a few items. While we picked the ones raising the most questions, please remember there are many other changes to the Rule as well, and you are best served by reading the Rule.

If you haven’t gotten to 2(G)(8 and 10), please be aware you need a new policy around mandated reporting. Just listing you are a mandated reporter is no longer enough.

We hope this post has clarified some areas of concern. Please know you can reach out to the PLC at any time.

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Licensing Rule Meets FCCAM’s Business Toolkit

The Professional Learning Committee (PLC) maintains a Business ToolKit as a part of this website. From the start the purpose behind the Business Toolkit has been to provide family child care providers with a go to place for resource links, tips and templates to support the business end of strong, professional, sustainable family child care programs. From feedback on the usage of the Toolkit and questions arising around the 12/30/2020 release of the proposed Family Child Care Licensing Rule the PLC know there was the need for support specific to this proposed Rule. How best to accomplish this became the question…

From past experience with revision of FCC Licensing Rules, the PLC is not expecting significant changes to what we received in the 12/30/2020 draft as Maine needs to meet Federal standards by Sept. 2021. Once adoption is finalized the Rule is immediately in effect., so the PLC encourages providers to begin to comply with the changes required by this Rule now.

After spending hours going over these proposed changes it was decided to address the Licensing Rule as a stand alone part of the Business Toolkit. The Licensing Rule has been copied word for word and is now posted on the website. This structure allows us to provide links directly within the Rule language at the point of the requirement. Direct links to the each section/or grouped subsections is provided. The link will be either the Section title or the first subsection of the grouping.

We have included Suggestions, Tips, and Reminders throughout as appropriate. These will usually be denoted with: ** and a color block.

Linked templates/documents can be used as is, or adapted to best meet your program needs.

The PLC feels we have gathered enough linked resources at this time to activate the new Licensing Rule section. We will continue to gather resources to provide more options for programs. If you find a specific need we have not addressed please email us:

We will be correcting the copied language for any changes when the Rule is formally adopted into law, noting any changes.

It is important for every provider and staff to read through the proposed Licensing Rule to develop an overall understanding and awareness of what their unique program needs are in meeting the Rule. This Licensing Rule resource is our best effort to support you in your work.
Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Now for Sections 7 Through 16 ……..

The purpose of our posting is just to point out the changes we have found in our first few read throughs of the proposed 10-148 CMR Ch. 33 Family Child Care Provider Licensing Rule published December 30, 2020. FCCAM is not making any statement of support or disagreement by the listing or omission of any proposed change .

Section 7. Staff-Child Ratios, Supervision, and Qualifications

B/4 – In determining the number of Children for which a Provider is Licensed, the Department may factor in the needs of Children and Adults who reside in the home. The number of Children allowed may be restricted by the Department when any of the following circumstances are present:

  • Space is limited or unusually configured;
  • The Provider has physical limitations affecting their ability to care for Children; or
  • There is a Child or Children who require exceptional amounts of care due to a health or other condition.

C/3/c – Special events occurring at the Provider 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.

D/1/a/ii – A Provider or Staff Member must be physically present outside when Children under the age of eight are outdoors.

D/1/a/iii – If Children over the age of eight are outside, and a Provider or Staff Member is not physically present, the play area must be enclosed by fencing.

D/2 – During napping and/or sleeping hours, the Provider or Staff Member must be awake and supervising all Children, and Child-staff ratios must be maintained. Dimmed, but adequate, lighting to allow visual supervision of all Children must be maintained at all times.

E – Crisis plan. The Provider must develop and follow a written plan for obtaining help in an emergency when only one provider is present, or when staff-Child ratios are exceeded.

F/5 – Staff Members must be properly immunized and provide documentation of immunizations to the Provider.

Section 8. Training

B/3 – All Providers and Staff Members must register with Maine’s Professional Development Network.

Section 9. Child Guidance (clarifying language)

Section 10. Rights of Children and Parents (This section is back within the Rule.)

A. – Rights of children. Children receiving childcare from Providers have the following rights.

  • Children must be free from emotional, physical, sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • Each Child has the right to freedom from harmful actions or practices that are detrimental to the Child’s welfare, and to practices that are potentially harmful to the Child.
  • Each Child has a right to an environment that meets the health and safety standards in this rule.
  • Each Child must be provided childcare services without regard to race, age, national origin, religion, disability, sex or family composition.
  • Children must be treated with dignity, consideration and respect in full recognition of their individuality. This includes the use of Developmentally Appropriate practices by the Provider and Staff Members.
  • Each Child has the right to the implementation of any plan of service that has been developed for that Child in conjunction with community or state agencies by the Provider.
  • Each Child has a right to Developmentally Appropriate activities, materials, and equipment.
  • Children with disabilities have the right to reasonable modifications to Provider policies and practices.

B. – Rights of parents and legal guardians of children receiving child care from Providers.

  • A Child’s Parent or Legal Guardian must be fully informed of items or services which are included in the rate they pay for childcare services.
  • A Child’s Parent or Legal Guardian has the right to be fully informed of findings of the most recent inspection conducted by the Department. The Provider must inform Children’s Parents or Legal Guardians that the licensing inspection results are public information and inspection results must be posted in a prominent place on the Premises.
  • Parents or Legal Guardians must be notified by the Provider within two business days of any actions taken against the Provider by the Department, including but not limited to, decisions to issue conditional Licenses, refusal to renew a License, or to impose fines or other sanctions.

Section 11. Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect

D – Hotline number posted. The Provider must ensure that the telephone number of the Department’s Child Protective Intake hotline is posted in a readily accessible central location on the Premises.

Section 12. Health and Medical

A/1/c – No Child may be required to be immunized if religious, philosophical or medical reasons are documented. Effective September 1, 2021, exemption from immunization requirements are limited to medical reasons. The Child’s physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant must provide documentation that immunization is medically inadvisable.

A/2 – Unimmunized Children and Staff Members. The Family Child Care Provider must maintain a list of all unimmunized Children and Staff Members, regardless of age. In the event of a disease outbreak as defined by CDC reporting standards, a Child not immunized must be excluded from the Family Child Care Provider in accordance with CDC guidance or until the Child receives the necessary immunization or proof of immunity is on record.

B – Evaluation requirements. When the Department has reasonable cause to believe that an Applicant, Provider or Staff Member may be unable to provide safe care for Children, the Department may request a report from a qualified professional or an appropriate official that includes the evaluator’s determination of the person’s ability to safely care for Children.

  1. A physical examination or other evaluation is not required if the Applicant, Provider, or Staff Member states in writing that it is contrary to the person’s religious teachings and practice.
  2. If the Applicant, Provider, or Staff Member refuses to be evaluated, the Department shall determine whether sufficient evidence exists to ensure that the person can safely care for Children.

C – Health care consultation.

  1. The Provider must have a manual of written guidelines for the prevention and control of communicable diseases and other appropriate health practices for childcare.
  2. The Provider must ensure that the manual be available to and read by all Staff Members.

D – Health monitoring. The Provider must observe Children in care each day at the time of arrival and throughout the Child’s stay for obvious signs of illness such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or skin rashes. In the event of an apparent illness of a Child, the Provider must comply with the guidance in the manual described in Section 14(C)(1) above.

When a Provider knows or suspects that a Child has contracted a notifiable disease or condition, the Provider must notify the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MECDC). The Provider must notify the MECDC immediately by phone for Category 1 conditions, and within 48 hours for Category 2 conditions. MECDC contacts: Phone: 1-800-821-5821 (24 hours a day); FAX: 1-800-293-7534 (24 hours a day); or TTY: Maine relay 711 (24 hours a day). For a list of Category 1 and 2 notifiable diseases and conditions, see 10-144 CMR Chapter 258, Rules for the Control of Notifiable Conditions, Chapter 2(I).

K – Emergency procedures. Providers must have a procedure for responding to situations when an immediate emergency medical response is required. Staff-Child ratio must be maintained during all medical emergencies. Staff Members may be called in as necessary to maintain the required ratio. Every Staff Member must be trained to manage an emergency until emergency medical care becomes available.

Section 13 Drinking Water and Wastewater (clarifying language)

Section 14 Environment and Safety

A/9 – A Provider may Lock the main entrance of their home and/or the Premises to prevent access from the exterior, provided that the door can be freely opened from the interior and there is a means to inform the Provider of the arrival of Parents/Legal Guardians or other visitors.

B/1 – Children in attendance for more than four hours and over the age of 12 months shall have a minimum of 60 minutes outdoors daily, barring weather that presents a risk to Children in accordance with Child Care Weather Watch and the Air Quality Index as provided below. Gross motor activity will be substituted for outdoor time when weather does not permit outdoor time. Infants must go outside at least once daily in accordance with Child Care Weather Watch and Air Quality Index

B/3 – Provider must monitor the local air quality index as reported by the United States Environmental “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” (USG) or higher, Children must be kept indoors.

C/1 – Providers will have an annual screening for potential lead hazards due to chipped and/or peeling paint. (exemptions follow in the Rule)

D – Carbon monoxide. Providers must be equipped with a working carbon monoxide detection system.

E/1 – A minimum temperature of at least 65o Fahrenheit measured within two feet of the floor must be maintained in spaces occupied by Children.

F/2/a – Windows should be open when outside temperature and air quality allow.

H/1/c – There must be an exit from the playground other than through a building.

Section 15 Swimming and Wading (Organized differently, but majority of material appears the same)

K –

Non – swimmers. All Non-swimmers must be clearly identified as Non-swimmers in a way that is visually and easily recognized by Providers, Staff Members, water safety attendants and Certified Lifeguards as applicable.

Section 16 Food and Kitchen Facilities

A – clarity around food options, portions, drinking water

D – Provider Responsibilities

  • Providers or Staff Members who are ill must not work in the food preparation area. Providers or Staff Members with open sores that cannot be covered must not handle or prepare food.
  • Children may be allowed in meal preparation areas only when under the direct supervision of a Provider and there is no danger of injury from kitchen equipment.
  • Children must be within sight and sound of the Provider during meal and snack times.
  • Any food served to one Child must not be re-served to another Child.

The following section have clarifying language:

F – Food Preparation

G – Equipment and Utensils

H – Kitchen facilities

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Let’s Take a Quick Look at These Proposed FCC Rule Changes…….Section 1 thru 6

The purpose of our posting is just to point out the changes we have found in our first few read throughs of the proposed 10-148 CMR Ch. 33 Family Child Care Provider Licensing Rule published December 30, 2020. FCCAM is not making any statement of support or disagreement by the listing or omission of any proposed change .

Providers want to read through the “Definitions”. There are significant changes there with changes to older definitions, deleted and new additions.

Section 2. Licensing Requirements and Procedures

Providers should make note of the usage of “Child’s Parents/Legal Guardians”. These were also changed in “Definitions”. When Providers are making changes to their contact/handbook policies they might want to align their language to this.

G. Administrations/4 – A copy of the Provider handbook will be made available to all Parents or Legal Guardians at the time of enrollment. The handbook must contain, at a minimum:

  • Ages of Children served;
  • Hours of operation and daily schedule;
  • Numbers of Children served;
  • Specific focus if applicable, such as educational focus, religious focus, Montessori, after-school, summer recreation, teaching site, etc.;
  • Opportunities for Parent/Legal Guardian involvement;
  • A description of the Child guidance methods used by Staff Members;
  • Services offered, such as: basic childcare, care for Children with special needs, part-time care, Infant/toddler care, pre-school care, school-age care, etc.;
  • Fees (if any) including charges for late pick-up of Children;
  • Vacation policy;
  • Terms of any contract or placement agreements;
  • The rights of Children;
  • Emergency procedures and relocation information;
  • Incident reporting and mandatory reporting of Child Abuse or Neglect;
  • Expulsion and suspension practices;
  • Management of communicable illnesses;
  • Medication administration;
  • Annual calendar of closure dates (if applicable);
  • Resources available for developmental screenings; and
  • Reporting of Child death and serious injury.

G/7 – The Provider must maintain a staff manual that addresses the following:

a. Policies and their implementation. This must include, at a minimum, policies for the following:

  • Mandated reporting, Child guidance,
  • Child illness,
  • Fire drill procedures,
  • Emergency and disaster procedures,
  • Staff Member qualifications and training,
  • Supervision of Staff Members/interns
  • Reporting licensing violations,
  • Inclusionary practices for Children with disabilities,
  • Safe sleep policy,
  • Serious injury and Child death reporting,
  • Expulsion and suspension prevention,
  • Interpretation for English Language Learners,
  • Release of Children, and
  • Transportation of Children (if applicable).

G/8 – The Provider must adopt a written policy for handling all suspected instances of Child Abuse or Neglect in accordance with Maine statute.

G/10 – The Provider must develop a written policy to follow if an allegation of Child Abuse or Neglect is made against the Provider, any Staff Member, or Household Member in the Provider’s home.

G/12 – The Provider must register for Maine’s Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Section 3. Fees

B – Change in License. The fee to issue a revised License is $10.00. An application to revise a License is required when an Applicant seeks to increase the capacity of the Provider or the Applicant requests approval for construction, or a heating system requires replacement.

Section 4. Inspections and Investigations

C. Elements of an inspection. In order to determine compliance with this rule, the Provider must provide access to all records and any part of the Premises occupied or used by Children.

  • The Department may speak with Children, Parents, and providers during inspections.
  • The Department may photograph any part of the Premises or make a photographic record of documents. The Department will provide copies of photographs upon request.

Section 5. Record Management and Retention

A/3 – Record of actual hours worked and breaks daily. This record must be available for inspection by the Department and be kept on site for three years.

A/5 – A record of fire drills for the preceding three years must be available for inspection…

A/7 – Providers that offer swimming and wading activities must keep a written record of the type, date, time and duration of the water safety emergency procedures training and drills required in Section 15 of this Rule.

A/8 – The Provider must draft and follow a records management and retention policy, which must include provisions for access to Child records by Legal Guardians.

C – Inspection of records. Records must be made available for inspection by Providers and Staff Members upon request by the Department.

D/1/u – Written permission from the Parent/Legal Guardian for use of sunscreen;

H – Code compliance. The Provider must maintain, and provide to the Department on request, documentation that indicates that the Provider complies with local codes and ordinances, including zoning, or a statement from the locality that no approval is required.

Section 6. Reporting Requirements

A – Provider changes. Providers must notify the Department in writing of any of the following changes or occurrences within 24 hours of occurrence. …..

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Just Who Is a License-exempt Provider?

Discussions continue around legally providing care within your home in Maine. Within these discussions the resources provided to add to the discussion have not all been timely. Part of the mission of the Family Child Care Association of Maine is to provide timely and accurate information when questions are raised around family child care. In our effort to support all legally operating family child care providers in Maine we reached out to licensing to get an answer that is up to date. We also want to clearly state that FCCAM feels that all legal in-home care options are an important part of the child care system in Maine.

Here is the information we received:

A family child care provider can care for up to 2 children not living in the home and remain unlicensed.  Maine Statute says a person can care for their own children living in their home and up to 2 children not living in their home for compensation and not be required to be licensed.  Once an individual cares for 3 or more children not living in their home they require licensure. 

FCCAM’s understanding is that an individual can have more than 2 children under contract for care, but only 2 can be receiving care within the home at the same time. For those looking at families wanting part-time care this can be important. This works the same way for licensed providers who provide care for clients needing part-time. It about juggling multiple children within the same careslot, so you are always within legal child/adult ratio.

Individuals providing care for up to 2 children are legal, but are not really labeled within the system by licensing unless they accept subsidy payments.

An individual providing care to up to 2 children not living in their home and accepting subsidy payments for one or both of those children, is referred to as a license-exempt (LE) provider by the state.

While the state does not label individual providers not accepting subsidy payments, FCCAM encourages any individual that is operating legally without needing to be licensed to refer to themselves as license-exempted. You are operating legally under state statutes. You are not licensed because you do not need to be. You are not operating illegally as an unlicensed provider caring for 3 or more children (not your own) at the same time.

FCCAM asked specifically about when the need for background checks and monitoring came into play for license-exempt providers.

Under the most recent Reauthorization of the Block Grant, a license-exempt (LE) provider that receives subsidy funds does have to complete Health and Safety training, needs to have background checks done and now needs to have a monitoring inspection annually to make sure they are meeting the basic health and safety requirements.  There are more requirements now then there used to be, these are just a few of them. 

An individual can reach out to the Child Care Subsidy Program to get a copy of the checklist that they send out to LE providers providing details of what is now required. 

The Health and Safety training is a 6 hr training you can access through Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ). You will need to be on the registry for that. You can find out how to access from this post.

Monitoring inspections are now posted for the public to see as part of the Child Care Choices site.

One more piece of information ~ a licensed-exempt provider who is accepting subsidy payment can also participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

Posted in DHHS / OCFS

Unified Child Care Licensing Rule

Are you aware that the Office of Child and Family Services, Children’s Licensing and Investigation Services is actively drafting a Unified Child Care Licensing Rule with the intent of updating and clarifying current regulations and to meet federal requirements of the Child Care Development Block Grant?

FCCAM received a notification asking for feedback on a small subset of items. We looked at each question from the same prospective we viewed the work on the Family Child Care Provider Licensing Rule adopted July 5, 2018, that Licensing Rules are and should remain minimum health and safety standards. They need to be able to be evaluated objectively and while being clear need to allow for the diversity of philosophies in child care and thus the programs offering care.

Here are the questions and our Board’s responses.

1. What would your recommendations be for minimum staff qualification requirements and/or additional qualification requirements for direct care staff and directors? Given the current difficulties with hiring staff, what are your thoughts on requiring all staff to have a minimum of a High School Diploma or GED?

While many see staffing to be primarily an area for concern for centers, more family child care programs are hiring staff. FCCAM agrees that as a minimum requirement a High School Diploma or GED is not unreasonable. This should be grandfathered for current providers in good standing that do not have their high school diploma or GED.

2. For Child Care Centers, would you be in favor of lowering the minimum age for staff to sixteen (16), if able to work only under direct supervision of someone eighteen (18) years and older?

This would align with the 2018 Family Child Care Provider Licensing Rule. We do not see where centers would not benefit in the same way as family child care does. Discussion remains among Family Child Care providers about having the ability to hire 14 and 15 year olds as assistants. They would be supervised by someone 18 yrs or older and not considered in the ratio. The thought is this might be a positive step in building interest in early education from a student’s freshman year of high school. At age 16 yrs, they would still work under direct supervision, but would count in maintaining child/adult ratio.

3. Do you feel that a fifteen (15) year old should be allowed to work under direct supervision of someone that is eighteen (18) years or older in a Family Child Care? If so, what specific guidelines would they need to meet?

As per our response to question 2, FCCAM supports age 16 yrs for working under the direct supervision of someone 18 yrs or older and being counted in the child/adult ratio. If there was consideration of lowering the age we would recommend to consider age 14 yrs (if a freshman in high school). They would need to meet what is currently set out in the 2018 FCC Licensing Rule, but until age 16 yrs would not considered in the ratio. The thought is this might be a positive step in building interest in early education from a student’s freshman year of high school.

4. In school-age only programs, licensed for fifty (50) or more children, should the children be grouped into age categories such as Kindergarten – Second grade and Third grade through Fifth grade?

FCCAM feels strongly that centers need to be the primary voice here. We would add that there is value in mixed ages. We do believe the environment/physical facility has a role in this. In any mixed ages program there needs to be materials and equipment that meets the needs of all ages present. There also needs to be appropriate space for all ages present.

5. Do you have recommendations for a minimum amount of outdoor play time daily?

FCCAM finds this to be a good example of where less specific language works best. We feel the language used in the 2018 FCC Licensing Rule works well: Children must have regular time for outdoor play, barring weather that presents a risk to children. Indoor physical activity will be substituted for outdoor time when weather does not permit outdoor time.

6. Do you have any recommendations regarding safety on playgrounds?

FCCAM worked hard on reviewing and pushing back around the many issues/concerns that arose regarding playground safety in the 2018 FCC Licensing Rule. We understand centers are different environmentally, but would like to see language that allows mixing of ages within the outside space as long as ratio for each age group is met when full classes are out. With smaller groups at drop-off and pick-up should be looked at differently and have ratio similar to a fcc home. We are aware that representatives of centers have been working to develop language that will address concerns and needs regarding ratios and usage of outside playgrounds. They are the experts and should be the voices listened to for specific language for centers. FCCAM would not want to see any changes that would change the 2018 FCC Licensing Rule language for fcc playground safety.

7. Do you have any recommendations for mealtime requirements?

Again language in 2018 FCC Licensing Rule is broad enough to cover the different approaches of programs around food offering. This language should work for centers also.

8. Should the rule include a requirement for tummy time/floor time for infants, and should the rule include a limitation of time in infant equipment, such as swings, exersaucers or bouncy seats?

Yes. The 2018 FCC Licensing Rule states: infant or toddler’s position must be changed at least each half hour, when the child is awake. NAFCC accreditation limits time in equipment to no more than 20 minutes at a time. The 2018 FCC Licensing Rule does not specifically require tummy time/floor time. There is vague language about tummy time in NAFCC accreditation: when they are awake and alert, non-crawling infants spend short periods (3-5 minutes) in each half day, with the provider in supervised time on their tummies. Time may be increased as the infant develops and gains more head and neck control. If the state is looking to add specific language around tummy time, FCCAM finds the accreditation language is reasonable and would be a suggestion for language around this question.

9. Should swaddling be allowed in Child Care settings, and if so, up to what age?

This is not restricted in 2018 FCC Licensing Rule. FCCAM feels this should remain program and guardian choice. If the state has concerns and wishes to cover swaddling that could be done by having a requirement to be included as part of policies, that parents have to sign off on just like required under Section 5: Records, part C 11.

10. Do you have any recommendations regarding swimming and wading?

Language in 2018 FCC Licensing Rule covers it.

If you would like to include feedback about another area of rule that was not addressed above or would like to include feedback regarding changes you recommend be included or removed in rule, please feel free to include in your response.

Currently the FCC Licensing Rule requires 12 hrs of training annually. CPR/First Aid can now be included to meet that total. FCCAM was concerned with this change in the 2018 FCC Licensing Rule. We support an increase in required annual training hours to support improvement in the quality of care for children. Center staff are required to earn more hours, prorated to hours worked for those working part-time. NAFCC requires 30 hours for fcc providers in accredited program. While it would be a big jump in required training to move to 30 hrs, the Unified Child Care Licensing Rule would be a good place to require equal training hours for center staff and family child care providers. Currently it is possible to attend free trainings offered online and/or face-to-face monthly around the state. It would be reasonable to require 24 hrs of annual training. This change would impact the higher level QRIS requirements, but where that is undergoing changes the impact should be easily handled.

FCCAM Public Policy Committee also had a joint conference call with MaineAEYC to discussion the thoughts of both associations. Our thought are similar on most questions.

We are also aware that for some of our members the idea of having to earn more than 12 hours of training is going to lead to some further discussion around why we have raised this within our response. If the state does expect to address training hours we will be asking for specific feedback from members, so we can move the discussion forward and best serve family child care professionals.

Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

Licensing Infractions

As licensed family child care professionals in Maine, we have agreed to follow the Licensing Rule. This post is to inform providers of infractions following the adoption of the 2017 FCC Licensing Rule. We are sharing the list so providers are aware of what is happening within Maine in the over 900 licensed family child care programs. As professionals offering quality care to children it’s important to stay informed of licensing changes and update our business practices accordingly.

As part of FCCAM’s mission to support family child care professionals in Maine, we have provided samples/templates forms that align with the 2017 FCC Licensing Rule in our Business Toolkit . Whether a member of FCCAM or not you have free access to the toolkit and all the materials within it. Please adapt them to fit the needs of your program.

Sighted Infractions:

*Infractions in this list have been documented occurring across the state.

  • Over licensed capacity / Ratios
  • CPR/First Aid certified provider not present
  • No phone on premises
  • Cribs, play yards do not meet CPSC safety standards
  • Soft or loose bedding, pillows, etc. in cribs or play yards containing infants 12 months or younger
  • No working thermometer in refrigerator and freezer
  • Diaper mat present in kitchen or food prep area
  • Unsafe firearms and ammunition storage
  • Swimming pool is accessible
  • No supervision during meal and snack times
  • Written emergency plan
  • Fire Drill record
  • Falsification of records
  • Incomplete:
    • immunization records for children
    • Emergency medical authorization for a child
    • Child’s known allergies and medical conditions
    • Documentation of medical necessity (illness/accidents/serious injury)
    • Documentation of why information is missing from a child’s file
  • No documentation that background checks were requested prior to date of hire
  • Did not report information of possible threat to health/safety/welfare of children presented by developments regarding the provider, applicant or other persons living in or employed at the child care
  • No record of reporting child abuse or neglect
  • Not reporting known child abuse or neglect
  • Not reporting unsatisfactory water test
  • Not reporting wastewater system failure
  • No documentation of annual water test for providers who have wells
  • No documentation of 5 year water test for providers who have wells
  • Use of bottled water per bottled water agreement not followed
  • Maine Lead Poisoning Control Act not met
  • Strings and cords longer than 6″ observed (non-educational/recreational with under adult supervision)
  • Infant/Toddler choking hazards: toys, foods
  • Lack required six inches of loose surfacing if outdoor equipment is over 36″ high
  • Fencing not present where required
  • Need records of pet vaccinations, visual pet/animal waste, indoor waste and/or strong animal odors
  • Lack water safety course for off-site swimming
  • No supervision during off-site swimming
  • Vehicle for off site transportation does not meet requirements
  • Lack transportation training
  • Nighttime sections of Rule not complied with:
    • Rooms above 1st floor need 2 exits, one direct to outside
    • Smoke detectors on floors where children sleep
    • No waterbeds for children under 36 months old
    • No child under age 5 left unattended in bathtub
Posted in Professional Development

12 Hours of Training…… Let’s Get to It!

Providers in Maine are very lucky to have a variety of options for earning the required 12 hours of training annually for licensing. For those participating in the state’s QRIS -Quality for ME, getting the additional required training hours for each level is also very doable.

  • Attend face-to-face full-day conferences that are offered generally in the Fall and the Spring, with discounts for members of FCCAM and MaineAEYC.
  • Take online training through Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ).
  • Local provider network groups that providers have founded over the years or are part of the CoP program facilitated by MRTQ.
  • Monthly online CoP just for family child care providers using Zoom (how to join a zoom meeting/call)
  • Online trainings that provide certificates, cover a wide range of topics and are mostly FREE. FCCAM has linked to many of the organizations offering these training under “Training” in the top menu.

This variety of opportunities handles the most common barriers we hear about:

  • time of training,
  • travel distance,
  • cost and
  • training topic relevance.

As providers our time is truly limited. Tight budgets mean thinking twice on spending $ for trainings. Yes, the cost is tax deductible, but it can be hard to see $ going for something you see no value in. Getting comfortable with using technology to access online training will allow us each to focus on trainings that support the practices of our program and the individual needs of the children in care, not just earning those 12 hours, at both a cost and a convenient time.

FCCAM can help with getting comfortable using online trainings. We’ve put specific directions under “Training”/”Online Training Sites”. You will find specific organizations broken out in the drop-down menu. There are specific directions for setting up individual accounts and then accessing trainings. Still not sure, email us to arrange for a call to help you further.

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Example of past trainings presented through edWed early childhood education groups. These groups are open to everyone. You just need to sign up for the group.

Messy Science: Using Art to Promote Scientific Reasoning

Creative, Arts-Based STEM Learning in Early Childhood

Supporting Preschool Science Learning Through Music


TIP#1: Registering for online training webinars means you will receive links to an archived version. Don’t worry about the time of the live webinar. These archived versions also have the certificates available and the best part is they can be viewed whenever it works for you. You get access to topics of interest to you, variety in training, FREE and at a time it works for you. If you have weak wifi access at home, check out your local library.

TIP#2: Get a set of headphones (or earbuds). Having headphones means only you will hear the training. This frees up more times to take the trainings, like rest time. Is also great if you take trainings at a location outside your home, like local library, waiting room for dance lessons, etc. Headphones with a microphone also are great for live trainings like the Online CoP that use a platform like Zoom for active participation. These microphones cut out background noise from the participants side.