Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Does my child count in ratio?



New Website
As GFC branches out to include FCC Coaching, there will be some changes on the website. For now, all blog posts will be made here. Once the new website is built, posts for parents and families will continue to be made here. Information for family child providers will move to its's own space reserved for educational consulting.


Does my child count in my ratio??

This question should be cut & dry for family child care providers, but it isn't. There are multiple variables that sometimes contradict each other within the regulations. So, let's try to wade through the regs. This list is for day time care, not evening or overnight care.



My understanding of ratio regulations for you own child:

My 0-4 year old
YES
 - The child is on site during child care hours.
 - The child is home schooled.
 - The child has special needs.*
NO
 - The child is off site during child care hours.
 - The child is on site with their parent (not the FCC provider) for less than one hour.**

My 5-9 year old
YES
 - The child is there more than 3 consecutive hours for 5 or more days in a row, not including weekends and holidays, such as: summer vacation, extended school leave for illness or suspension.
 - The child is home schooled.
 - The child has special needs.
NO
 - The child is there less than 3 consecutive hours and the child is there less than 5 days in a row each week.
 - There is a half day of school or no school for less than 5 days in one week, such as: professional day, snow day.
 - The child is on site with their parent (not the FCC provider) for less than one hour during one of the instances listed above where they would count in ratio.

My 10-15 year old
YES
 - The child is home schooled.
 - The child has special needs.

My 16-17 year old
YES
 - The child is home schooled.



* A child with special needs "may include" infants and toddlers on IFSP's for early intervention services. A child with special needs "may include" school age children that have a disability as  determined by evaluation. The qualifications of what would be included is not defined below.  More information on school age definition for special education can be found here and here

** "Child care child" is not defined. "Child" is defined below. There is no distinction between a child that lives in the home verses a child that does not live at the home. Care for the visiting child cannot impact care for other children in care at that time.


Questions

If my child stays home sick from school, do they count in my ratio?
No, usually. 
Your school age child that is 10 or older does not count in your ratio.
Your school age child aged 5-9 does not count on a sick day up to 4 consecutive days. After 4 consecutive days, school age children count in ratio if they are there more than 3 consecutive hours per day.
Your school age child that is age 5-16 that has special needs does count in your ratio.
If your child is less than 5 years old, they count in your ratio - unless they are visiting for less than an hour, are accompanied by a parent that is not the provider, and their presence does not impact the care for other children.

Does my child count in ratio on school vacation weeks?
No, usually. School age children do not count on holidays, if there is a holiday on the vacation week, do not include your own children on that day. School age children count after 4 consecutive days of being present for 3 or more hours each of those days.

My 4 year old goes to half day preschool somewhere else. Do they count in my ratio when they are here?
Yes.

My 5 year old isn't in kindergarten yet, so they are here full time in my preschool program. Do they count as a school age child?
Yes. According to the definitions below, a 5 year old is a preschool child and a kindergarten child. School age child is partially defined as kindergarten children. If you have a license for 6+2, then your 5 year old would count as one of your +2.

I'm having a difficult time helping my 9 year old with homework, because they have behavior issues during academic tasks. It makes it very difficult to keep an eye on the other children. Do they count in my ratio if I'm helping them with homework during child care hours?
Yes. Your care for your own children cannot negatively impact the care for other children. If you are able to do homework during a different part of the day so that their behavior is not negatively impacting the care for other children, then they would not count in your ratio during the school year. Alternately, if the behavior issues during homework were resolved, the child would no longer count in your ratio during the school year.


Relevant Definitions

"Child – Any person under fourteen years of age, or sixteen years of age with special needs."

"Children with Special Needs – Children under sixteen years of age, who, because of temporary or permanent disabilities arising from intellectual, sensory, emotional, physical or environment factors, or other specific learning disabilities, are or would be unable to progress effectively in a regular school program. This may include, but not be limited to, a school age child with disabilities as determined by an evaluation conducted pursuant to M.G.L. c. 71B, § 3, and as defined by the Department of Education in 603 CMR 28.00 et. Seq, or an infant or toddler with an individual family service plan (IFSP) receiving early intervention services."

"Family Child Care –Temporary custody and care provided in a private residence on a regular basis during part or all of the day for no more than ten children younger than fourteen years of age or children under 16 years of age if such children have special needs. Family child care shall not mean an informal cooperative arrangement among neighbors or relatives, or the occasional care of children with or without compensation therefore."

"Fixed Age Group: A group of children within the same age range, such as infants, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarten, and school age."

"Kindergarten Child - A child who is five years old or who will attend first grade the following year in a public or private school."

"Mixed Age Group: A group of children within two consecutive age groups, such as Infant/Toddler, Toddler/Preschool, Preschool/School Age or Kindergarten/School Age."

"Multi-Age Grouping: Ten or fewer children from birth through thirteen years (or sixteen years, if such children have special needs) assigned to a single group"

"Older School Age Child – A child at least nine years old."

"Preschooler/ Preschool Child – Any child at least two years and nine months old but not yet attending first grade."

"School Age Child – a kindergarten child or a child who is attending a public or approved private elementary school"

Relevant Regulations

7.01
"Unless specifically noted within the regulations, all requirements within these regulations apply to all programs providing non-residential services to children under the age of 14 years outside their own homes, regardless of the care setting or the age of the children served."

7.03 (5) (c)
"Determining Capacity.
The following children will be considered to be in the care of educators:
1. every child who lives in the family child care home who is younger than a school age child;
2. every child who lives in the family child care home who is home schooled, regardless of age;
3. every child under the age of ten who lives in the residence and is present for more than three consecutive hours on each of five consecutive days, excluding weekends and holidays;
 4. every person under the age of fourteen who does not live in the residence and is present during the time that child care is being provided;
5. during overnight care, every person under the age of eighteen who is present in the home."

7.10 (4)
"Multi-Age Grouping.
A group of children ranging in age from birth through thirteen years (or sixteen years, if such children have special needs), may be assigned on an ongoing basis to a single group, provided all provisions of 606 CMR 7.10(4) are met. The Multi-Age Grouping ratios and group sizes specified at 606 CMR 7.10(4)(d – h) may be used by:
(a) family child care and small group and school age -child care programs"

7.10(4)(e)
"group size: 7 or 8 children
Minimum Number of Educators Present: 1 educator
Limits on Ages of Children: No more than 3 children under two years of age, including at least one toddler who is walking independently. Additional children must be older than 24 months. All children over capacity of six must be school age."

Relevant Policy

"POLICY STATEMENT:
Visits to the Family Child Care Home
606 CMR 7.10 et seq. specifies the number of children who may be present in the child care home and the means for determining licensed capacity. In addition, children visiting the family child care home will not be counted in determining licensed capacity if the visit lasts less than one hour and the children are accompanied by:
• the parent of a child care child
• a parent who wishes to place a child in the family child care home
• an adult with his/her own children who is visiting for the purpose of dropping off or picking up a child care child
Visitors must not impact the provider's ability to appropriately care for and supervise child care children."


These answers are based on the regulations and policies as they are written in July 2017. This is not legal advice. GFC and/or Alison Barnes are not responsible for any actions taken based on this information.

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