This article looks at Massachusetts regulations and policies for licensed family child care providers. All information will be presented in English, however regulations can be found in Spanish and Portuguese by visiting this page.
DEEC FCC Regulations 2010
Can you say this in English, please?
In the field of family child care, there are people from many backgrounds. Experience, education, and motivation is different for every provider. While the regulations and policies that have to be followed are available online and in print when requested, it can be difficult to pin point exactly what the State is looking for.
This is especially true for regulations that are purposefully ambiguous. Why would the State do that? It is frustrating for many providers who just want to be following the legal requirements for their business. The purpose for ambiguous regulations is so that the DEEC, Department of Early Education and Care, can apply the regulations as stringently as possible in the best interest of the children involved.
HEY! I thought you were going to do this in English?
Sorry. The rule that works in one home to provide the safest environment, might not work in another home. The rules need to be just a little flexible so that the greatest amount of caution can be applied, as needed.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of regulations, but they are really the basics for providing a safe and healthy environment for young children. If you have ventured down the path for higher levels of QRIS or NAFCC accreditation, then you know there is plenty of room for more stringent rules, guidelines, and policies.
I'd like to make a list of the current regulations (November 2016) that is easily read. It is not meant as a replacement of the official regulations and should not be used as the sole resource for setting up your child care. As a provider, it is your responsibility to know, understand, and adhere to these regulations. Your license is proof of your agreement and ability to provide a safe and healthy environment for young children. Any variance from that agreement could lead to non-compliance reports, suspension of license, revoking of license, or a 51A report made to DCF.
These are the sections of 606 CMR 7
7.03 Licensure and Approval
7.05 Interactions Among Educators and Children
7.06 Curriculum and Progress Reports
7.07 Physical Facility Requirements
7.08 Family Involvement
7.09 Educator Qualifications and Development
7.10 Ratios, Group Sizes and Supervision
7.11 Health and Safety
7.12 Nutrition and Food Service
7.14 Applicability and Effective Date
The following is an abbreviated version of a single section of family child care regulations.
7.03 Licensure and Approval
7.03: Licensure and Approval. There are the rules.
(1) Application for Licensure. You are responsible for following these rules. These rules are written to provide all children with a fair opportunity to do their best. You will only get a license if you do all of these things. Put a copy of all of these things in your FCC files so that your licensor can easily look through them when they visit.
(a) You have to put the health and safety of the children first. You need to read, know, and understand the full version of the regulations.
(b) You have to take Potential Provider's Meeting within 12 months of submitting your application. You have to take it before you apply for your license.
(c) You have to put all of the following papers in the same envelope with your license application:
1. 102 CMR 1.05(1) You have to do a background check (CORI + fingerprinting). Any adults regularly at your house or that live with you will also need to do a background check.
2. You have to do activities with the children that the children are able to do and help them to learn. You need to have something that shows you are doing activities with the children, like a curriculum plan or calendar.
3. If a building inspector, fire inspector, or water source inspector provides a report to you, then you have to keep a copy in your FCC files. This includes heaters, fire places, and lead testing.
4. Make a parent handbook that includes all of the information listed in section 7.08(6). Keep a copy of your parent handbook in your FCC files. Give every parent a copy of the parent handbook.
5. Keep a file for each child. Include all of the information liste(d in section 7.04(7).
6. Register for a Tax ID number. (Note: Depending on how you file taxes, you can use your social security number in place of a Tax ID. Contact your accountant or tax specialist to determine what is best for you. Keep in mind, many parents request a Tax ID or social security number for their own taxes.)
7. You need to keep a file for volunteers that help in your child care. Their file needs to include: proof of orientation you gave them, how you supervise them, how they are trained, record of their service hours (including date, hours, and responsibilities), written notice/policy that volunteers will not be left alone with children, and a copy of their background check.
(2) Licensed Capacity. You cannot go over the maximum number of children listed on your license. Your assistants cannot go over their approved number of children for their license.
(3) Renewal. You have to turn in your renewal forms at least 30 days before your license expires. Your license will stay valid until you renewal visit so long as your paperwork is in on time. You must have a renewal visit to keep your license. You need to review the regulations (Hey! You're doing that right now! Yeah!), have all paperwork, files, and inspections must be up to date.
(4) Pilot or Demonstration Projects and Variances
(a) Pilot or Demonstration Project. If you want to do something different from what the regulations say, then you have to ask for permission in writing before doing it. DEEC might do a visit or ask for additional paperwork before approving or denying your request. If they let you do it, then you can only do it for the length of your license. If you do something different from the regulations without permission from DEEC, then they will cite you for non-compliance or end your special project.
(b) Variances during State of Emergency. DEEC can issue a special set of regulations/policy to follow in the case of an emergency. They will write to you, provide the information online, or broadcast the information. They will help you to understand and follow the regulations during the emergency.
(5) Additional Requirements for Family Child Care.
(a) Documents Required for Licensure. There are things you need to write down or make copies of for your FCC files.
1. copies of the lead paint disclosure statement
2. certification of current training in CPR and first aid
3. your physical and immunizations
(b) Duration of a License. A license lasts for 3 years, unless you are told differently.
(c) Determining Capacity. Your children and guests count in your ratio, depending on their age.
1. your children who are not yet in kindergarten count
2. your children who are home schooled, regardless of age
3. your children that are under the age of 10, if they are there for more than 3 consecutive hours on weekdays
4. any child that is not yours and under 14 and at your house during child care hours
5. if you provide overnight care, every person under the age of 18 is part of your ratio
(d) License Status. If you voluntarily stop doing child care, you can mail your license back to DEEC. If you do that, then you have to request to get it back when you want to start working again. They might do a new inspection before giving it back. You have to get the license back to restart doing child care in your home.
(e) Location of Care. Family child care has to take place in a fully functioning, permanent residence where a person or people live.
1. You or someone you know must live in the home.
2. If no one lives in the home, then one of these there things must be true:
a. The child care space must be on the same property as your single family home, where you live full time.
b. You live full time in one side of a duplex and the child care is in the other side of the duplex.
c. You live full time in one part of a triple decker, there can be only one apartment on each level of the building, and the child care space is in one of the apartments in the same building. The building cannot have more than 3 levels.
(f) A family child care licensee may not hold more than one family child care license.