Posted in Business Practice, DHHS / OCFS

REGISTER for the ECE Workforce Salary Supplement Program & Provider Transition Grant

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) is pleased to announce registration is now open for the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program and the Provider Transition Grants.

Registration for both programs are within one form and funds will be distributed at the same time each month.

Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program

In April 2022, Governor Mills signed the supplemental budget which included salary supplements to increase the pay for early childhood educators employed in licensed child care facilities and family child care programs. The budget provides more than $12 million in ongoing state General Fund dollars to increase pay for early childhood educators providing direct care to strengthen the Early Care and Education system across Maine.

  • The first payments to the workforce will be issued in October 2022 and, as with the ARPA grant, these salary supplement payments must be paid directly to the early childhood workforce. These supplemental payments are required for all providers to receive and pass through to their eligible staff.
  • In addition to the $200 staff supplements, 7.65% additional funds will be added to cover the cost associated with the staff supplements in the providers’ monthly payments.

Providers who have previously received ARPA Child Care Stabilization grant payments WILL receive an email with a link and an access code to their personal registration form. Providers will need to have the following information ready for all eligible staff to update their information in the registration form:

  • Confirm program information within form is up to date,
  • The names of all staff,
  • The staff’s individual email addresses, and
  • The staff’s career lattice level from Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ).
  • Providers must be open and providing direct child care on a regular basis at the time of registration
  • Programs must have a valid Vendor Code with OCFS

Upon submitting the program information, providers will receive an access code via email that will allow them to gain entrance to the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program.

Provider Transition Grants

OCFS will begin distributing the Provider Transition grants in October 2022 to licensed child care providers to help stabilize and support child care in Maine. The grants will be administered for 8-months. This support comes from the federal American Rescue Plan’s supplemental Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Discretionary Funds.

  • The first 4 months (September, October, November and December), programs will be eligible to receive $50 per licensed capacity.
  • The last 4-months (January, February, March and April) programs will be eligible to receive $25 per licensed capacity. 

All licensed child care providers may register for the first installment of grants if they are providing direct child care by September 1, 2022. Future payments will be automatic. Registration after October will be on a rolling basis. Programs approved will only be required to apply once.

The following link is to a webinar containing guidance and detailed instructions for how to complete the registration. Also below are the webinar’s PowerPoint slides. Please review both the webinar and the slides carefully prior to beginning the registration. gram+Webinar/1_19z3x0ek

The Early Childhood Workforce Wage Supplement program and the Provider Transition grant registration may be found here:

Please visit the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program website at: salary-supplement-program

For questions or more information, please contact:

Posted in DHHS / OCFS

ARPA Extension for Child Care Providers!

DHHS announced Sept. 15, 2022 that the Office of Child and Family Services will begin providing a Provider Transition Grant for licensed child care providers to help further stabilize and support child care providers in Maine using remaining ARPA funding.  

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) will begin distributing the grants in October of 2022 to licensed child care providers to help further stabilize and support child care services in Maine. The grants will be administered over a period of eight months.      

For the months of October 2022 through January 2023, programs will be eligible to receive $50 per slot based on licensed capacity.  From February 2023 through May 2023, programs will be eligible to receive $25 per slot based on licensed capacity.

Funds will be distributed at the same time as the monthly Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program with first installments issued in October. Note, this means beginning in October and ending after May of 2023, providers will receive one lump sum that includes both the salary supplements and the grants described in this memo. 

Additional information from OCFS will be forthcoming along with the registration for the Early Childhood Educator Workforce Salary Supplement Program.

These funds are intended to be used in accordance with the guidelines set forth under the ARPA stabilization grant.  Please view those guidelines here:

Posted in DHHS / OCFS, ECE Information

Maine’s Child Care Plan

material from September 2021 Updates for the Child Care Plan for Maine ~~~

FCCAM PLC has pulled sections that we feel providers need to be aware of as they may impact your small business. You can read the complete seven page plan: Child Care Plan for Maine.

“Maine recognizes the importance of quality, accessible, affordable child care to support working families. The benefit of quality child care is multifold – it supports working parents to provide for their families while children benefit educationally, socially, and emotionally from a caring, nurturing environment. From an economic perspective, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston states, “Research demonstrates child care problems lower worker productivity and cost U.S. employers and working parents billions of dollars annually. Furthermore, job stability and family income directly affect a child’s social, physical, and emotional health.” This Child Care Plan for Maine summarizes the system landscape pre-pandemic and the supports implemented to providers and families during the pandemic. Our focus then turns to recovery and the strategies that will be implemented to support Maine families, children, and child care providers toward a sustainable recovery and brighter future. This plan contains updates based on Federal guidance and the State’s disbursement of funds since May.”

Initiatives implemented beginning in state fiscal year 2021:

  • Providers participating in the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP):
    • Receive a weekly stipend of $100 per infant on CCSP.
    • Receive a 10% quality bump payment for infants and toddlers served through CCSP.
  • OCFS, in an attempt to boost the recruitment and retention of early child care educators, began:
    • Covering the cost of licensing fees for both family child care providers and facilities.
    • Offering several quality awards in partnership with Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN) with new Registry member awards, newly licensed mini-grants, moving up a quality level award, reimbursement for the cost of accreditation, and maintaining accreditation mini-grants.
    • Partnering with Maine Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) to create TEACH scholarship program.
  • OCFS also began efforts to enhance the Child Care Choices website to improve the availability and accessibility of information about providers for families who may be seeking child care.
1 Total includes camps, CCSP licensed exempt resources, child care facilities and family child care providers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immense impact on the national child care system, however the numbers in Maine’s are more positive. “As of September 2021, Maine has 96% of the pre-COVID licensed programs open and operating. In addition, the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) has seen a steady increase in total families and children receiving CCSP over the last four months. Currently 3,013 families representing 4,596 children are served by the program.”

Stabilization and support of providers has occurred (and continues) through multiple funding sources:

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, May of 2020, Maine received $10.9 million in CCDBG funding

  • grants provided directly to providers to cover COVID-19 related costs and build capacity,
  • providing child care subsidy for essential workers (regardless of income eligibility)
  • waiving parent fees for low income families receiving traditional CCSP

Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), August of 2020 the Governor allocated $8.4 million

  • grants provided reimbursement to providers for COVID-19 related business expenses (through December of 2020 totaled $2,176,464)

Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRRSA) Act, March of 2021, Maine received $30.5 million in CCDBG funding through CRRSA Act.

OCFS allocated 75% of the funding directly to child care providers through quarterly grants payments. The last payment will be December 2021. Remaining funds were used to expand professional development for providers through the Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ) Professional Development Network (PDN) system, provide mental health and social emotional learning support to children and providers through the Early Childhood Consultation Program (ECCP), waiving copayments for CCSP families through 9/30/22, and reimbursing CCSP providers based on enrollment.

CRRSA funds will also be utilized to establish a Statewide Apprenticeship Program for Child Care Providers, provide Mini-grants and awards for achieving or maintaining accreditation, and/or for completing one of the Maine Credentials (Director, Infant Toddler, Inclusion, Youth Development).

American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), Maine has received an additional $121.9 million through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). The ARP child care funds will be broken up into three sections.

  • Discretionary – $45,752,460
  • Stabilization Subgrants – $73,176,466
  • Match- $2,984,281

Maine has chosen to use funds to support the entire child care delivery system through short-term stabilization and recovery as well as long-term growth and system improvement (subject to change with guidance from ACF). FCCAM PLC has pulled out some parts of the plan we know will directly impact providers:

  • ARPA Child Care Stabilization Grants (for all programs offering care as of Sept. 2021, and on an ongoing rolling basis) monthly payments from October 2021 to September 2022.
  • Waive child care licensing fees for 2 years to support new and existing child care providers
  • Supply a one-time $2,000 stipend (available from 7/1/21-9/30/23) to newly licensed family child care providers focused on increasing access to child care for families in rural and gap areas.
  • Waive Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) parent fees for families at or below 60% of State Median Income to support low income families until 9/30/23
  • Provide a 35% weekly increase of reimbursement to child care providers who take subsidy and are serving children with special needs
  • Reimburse CCSP based on enrollment for 2½ years
  • Translate CCSP materials into identified languages for both families and providers
  • Increase child care quality payments to 3%, 10%, 15% (per QRIS levels) for 2-years to support an increase in high quality programs
  • Build child care information system onto Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System CCWIS
  • Invest in Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) online screening tool for child care providers to screen and refer children to early intervention when delays in development are detected
  • Provide Second Step curriculum for child care to support social emotional learning
  • Expand Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) to measure outcomes in child care and incentive program participation with $500 per program

“In addition to the ARPA funds, OCFS will continue to support child care through ongoing efforts, including the infant/toddler stipend, workforce development through the TEACH scholarship, technical assistance through Maine Roads to Quality, and other efforts.”