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
This is one of the shortest sections of regulations. I changed almost nothing, because it is fairly straightforward. If you are having difficulty with any of the regulations in this section, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to help come up with a solution that fits your needs.
The following is an abbreviated version of a single section of family child care regulations.
7.05 Interactions Among Educators and Children.
The following requirements apply to all programs, including family child care, small group and school age and large group and school age child care.
(1) You must pay attention to and care for each child's individual needs. Help them to develop self-esteem, express themselves, independence, social skills, and school readiness.
(2) You must be nurturing and responsive to the children.
- frequently expressing warmth to individual children through behaviors such as holding babies, social conversations (including response to babies’ vocalizations), joint laughter, eye contact, and smiles, and communicating at children’s eye level;
- providing attentive, consistent, comforting, and culturally sensitive care;
- being consistent and predictable in their physical and emotional care of children, and when implementing program rules and expectations;
- recognizing signs of stress in children’s behavior and responding with appropriate stress-reducing activities.
(3) You have to support their development of self-esteem, independence, and self-regulation by:
- demonstrating courtesy and respect when interacting with children and adults;
- encouraging appropriate expression of emotions, both positive (e.g. joy, pleasure, excitement) and negative (e.g., anger, frustration and sadness);
- providing opportunities for children to develop self-help skills as they are ready; encouraging children’s efforts, work and accomplishments;
- assuring that all children have equal opportunities to take part in all activities and use all materials;
- offering opportunities for children to make choices and decisions.
(4) You must help children develop social skills by:
- promoting interaction and language use among children and between children and adults by talking to and with children frequently;
- encouraging children to share experiences and ideas;
- modeling cooperation, problem-solving strategies and responsible behavior for children;
- assisting children in learning social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and working together;
- encouraging children to listen to, help, and support each other;
- providing guidance to assist children in resolving conflicts, finding solutions to problems, and making decisions.
- helping children to understand and respect people different from themselves;
- helping children learn to respect each other’s possessions and work;
- helping children to learn effective ways to deal with bullying, teasing, or other forms of intolerance.
(5) You must discipline through guidance. You must have positive and consistent responses to behavior. You must base your guidance on the child's abilities and needs.
- encouraging self-control and using positive child guidance techniques such as recognizing and reinforcing children’s appropriate behaviors, having reasonable and positive expectations, setting clear and consistent limits, and redirecting;
- helping children learn social, communication, and emotional regulation skills they can use in place of challenging behaviors;
- using environmental modifications, activity modifications, adult or peer support, and other teaching strategies to encourage appropriate behavior and prevent challenging behaviors;
- intervening quickly when children are physically aggressive with one another and helping them develop more positive strategies for resolving conflict;
- explaining rules and procedures and the reasons for them to children, and where appropriate and feasible, allowing children to participate in the establishment of program rules, policies and procedures;
- discussing behavior management techniques among staff to promote consistency.
(6) You need to have a way to communicate well with each child. This could be spoken language, pictures, sign language, ACC, etc.
(7) The guidance you give must be for the purpose of helping the child grow and develop. You must be protect the group and individual children.
(8) Do NOT do these things. The following practices are strictly prohibited:
- spanking or other corporal punishment of children;
- subjecting children to cruel or severe punishment such as humiliation, verbal or physical abuse, neglect, or abusive treatment including any type of physical hitting inflicted in any manner upon the body, shaking, threats, or derogatory remarks;
- depriving children of outdoor time, meals or snacks; force feeding children or otherwise making them eat against their will, or in any way using food as a consequence;
- disciplining a child for soiling, wetting, or not using the toilet; forcing a child to remain in soiled clothing or to remain on the toilet, or using any other unusual or excessive practices for toileting;
- confining a child to a swing, high chair, crib, playpen or any other piece of equipment for an extended period of time in lieu of supervision; and
- excessive time-out. Time-out may not exceed one minute for each year of the child's age and must take place within an educator’s view.