An Act To Amend Certain Laws Governing Child Care Providers
Sec. 1. 22 MRSA §3736, sub-§4 is enacted to read:
Sec. 2. 22 MRSA §8301-A, sub-§1-A, as amended by PL 2009, c. 211, Pt. B, §§20 and 21, is further amended to read:
(1) A house or other place in which a person maintains or otherwise carries out a regular program, for consideration, for any part of a day providing care and protection for 13 or more children under 13 years of age; or
(2) Any location or locations operated as a single child care program or by a person or persons when there are more than 12 children being cared for.
(1) No session conducted for the children is longer than 3 1/2 hours in length;
(2) No more than 2 sessions are conducted per day;
(3) Each child in attendance at the nursery school attends only one session per day; and
(4) No hot meal is served to the children.
"Nursery school" does not include any facility operated as a child care center or small child care facility licensed under subsection 2, a youth camp licensed under section 2495 or a public or private school in the nature of a kindergarten approved by the Commissioner of Education, in accordance with Title 20-A.
Sec. 3. 22 MRSA §8301-A, sub-§2, as amended by PL 2005, c. 640, §2, is further amended to read:
Sec. 4. 22 MRSA §8301-A, sub-§3, as amended by PL 2005, c. 640, §3, is further amended to read:
Sec. 5. 22 MRSA §8301-A, sub-§4, as amended by PL 2005, c. 530, §7, is further amended to read:
Sec. 6. 22 MRSA §8302-A, sub-§§3 to 5 are enacted to read:
Sec. 7. 22 MRSA §8303-A, sub-§1, as enacted by PL 2009, c. 590, §6, is amended to read:
Sec. 8. 22 MRSA §8309 is enacted to read:
§ 8309. Inspections
Sec. 9. Department of Health and Human Services to create appeals board; provider bill of rights. The Department of Health and Human Services shall draft legislation to create an appeals board that consists of members who are not appointed by or employed by the department to hear appeals of licensing decisions and any other decisions of the department disputed by a licensee or certificate holder or applicant for license or certification under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, chapter 1673. Membership of the appeals board must include members who represent child care facility and family child care provider interests in the State. The department shall develop a child care provider bill of rights that details the rights of family child care providers and child care facilities under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, chapter 1673 as privately owned independent businesses able to conduct reasonable business practices outside of the area of the regulated activity. No later than December 6, 2017, the department shall submit recommended legislation to create the appeals board and the child care provider bill of rights to the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services. The joint standing committee may report out a bill based upon the recommended legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 128th Legislature.
This bill makes various changes to the laws governing child care facilities and family child care providers, including:
1. Allowing a parent who receives a child care subsidy to make up the difference between the amount of the subsidy and the total cost of child care without losing the subsidy;
2. Defining an infant as a child 6 weeks of age or older and under 12 months of age and a toddler as a child 12 months of age or older and under 36 months of age;
3. Allowing a person to care for up to 4 children in the person's home without that person's being required to become certified as a family child care provider;
4. Creating a license or certification renewal with a term of 5 years for a child care facility or family child care provider that has been in operation and licensed or certified in good standing for at least 5 consecutive years;
5. Directing the Department of Health and Human Services upon a complaint to investigate only that complaint unless there is reasonable cause to suspect another violation;
6. Providing a period of up to 90 days for a person to work as a staff member for a child care facility or family child care provider without the completion of a criminal background check while a criminal background check is being conducted;
7. Allowing for exceptions to department rules involving child to staff ratios, the ages of children and infants and toddlers in cases of extenuating circumstances due to an unexpected staff member absence or parent drop-off of a child at the facility or provider or due to the particular needs of an individual child;
8. Requiring department rules to be narrowly based upon the health and safety of the children and not to unreasonably interfere with facility or provider business operations in which the health and safety of the children are not involved;
9. Requiring in the instance of the department's declining to renew a license or certification of a child care facility or family child care provider that the renewal fee paid by the facility or provider be refunded;
10. Detailing inspection and post-inspection processes including the posting of information regarding a child care facility or family child care provider by the department on a publicly accessible website; and
11. Directing the department to develop recommended legislation to create an appeals board composed of members not employed or appointed by the department to review department decisions regarding child care facilities and family child care providers and to develop a child care provider bill of rights.