Frequently Asked Questions about VT Registered and Licensed Family Child Care Home Regulations

This page is organized in same way of the Child Care Licensing Regulations: Registered and Licensed Family Child Care Programs. If you have a question about a regulation, look for the section the regulation is in, and then look for the regulation.

Section 1 – Introduction
Section 2 – General Provisions

Section 3 – Administration and Operation

Section 4 – Parent/Family Engagement in Their Children’s Care
Section 5 – Health, Safety and Nutrition

Section 6 – Teaching and Learning

Section 7 – Program Personnel/Staffing

Appendix A – Signs and Symptoms of Illness Chart
Appendix B – Regarding Cribs

Section 1 – Introduction

Section 2 – General Provisions

How does it work if CDD needs to interview staff?

This question relates to FCCH rule 2.3.1.3. If appropriate to the situation, a licensing field specialist may call in advance of a licensing visit and schedule a time to ensure staff will be present and the program has sufficient staff for coverage.  When situations require it, a licensing field specialist will visit unannounced.  Typically, this is because the situation requires the licensing field specialist start with observations.  During this type of visit, a licensing field specialist may have a few clarification questions for staff and will use a quiet moment to ask these questions.  The children always come first like any other licensing visit and a licensing field specialist will wait for an appropriate time to talk with staff.

My spouse works remotely from our home for their job. Will this be a problem?   

This question relates to FCCH rule 2.3.2.5.  This will be assessed by your Licenser.  It becomes a concern when spouses or household members with employment that is home based have increased traffic in/out of the home by others not associated with the child car business.  For example, a spouse who works separate from the child care program at a job that is computer based with no clients or customers coming to the home is not a second business of concern to the Division.

What kind of emergency might require a provisional license? 

This question relates to FCCH rule 2.3.6.2.1. Typically, an emergency that would impact the program’s ability to maintain substantial compliance may be a flood or water damage.  Less common emergency may be a fire.

What is a reasonable amount of liability insurance? 

This question relates to FCCH rule 2.3.7.6. It means the typical amount offered for liability insurance.  When you contact an agent about child care liability insurance, they will tell you the typical amount. 

What are all of the applicable requirements of the Vermont Division of Fire Safety and of the U.S.A with Diabilities Act? 

This question relates to FCCH rule 2.3.7.8. This applies to applicants and would be a conversation between the Licenser and the applicant based on the type of home and concerns identified and required to be addressed during the application process.  Common examples include things like accessible to the home and safe exit routes for an emergency evacuation.

What amount of time constitutes a "timely decision?" 

This question relates to FCCH rule 2.3.7.16. In the event the Division may be considering denying licensure, the Licenser will have already had a conversation with the applicant.  In terms of issuing a license, this is often able to happen with two weeks from when the Division receives a full and complete application.  Depending on the time of year and number of applications being received, this may be slightly longer or shorter. 

Section 3 – Administration and Operation

Is the evacuation drill on top of the fire drill? 

This question relates to FCCH rule 3.6.2.2. No, an evacuation drill and fire drill are two words that mean the same thing for a FCCH program.  This requirement remains the same.

How long do I have to shelter in place for? 

This question relates to FCCH rule 3.6.1.1. The bullet that references sheltering in place requires plans for “an extended period of time.”  Because this is not specific, you will need to decide what is appropriate.  Emergency planning classes and online resources will be able to provide guidance to support you in developing your plan.  During a compliance visit, a Licenser may ask to see your plan and may raise concerns if your plan is minimal, for example one jug of water and 2 cans of food, but your program will be in compliance as long as you indeed have a plan as required by this rule.

Do parents need to sign their children in and out or is that something I can do? 

This question relates to FCCH rule 3.3.3.  This licensing rule requires attendance is maintained to include documenting the time children arrived and left.  The licensing rule doesn’t say who has to actually record the information.  The FCCP, Family Child Care Assistant, or Substitute may be the one to sign children in and out.  If parents are asked to sign their child in and at, it is important to remember that parents may forget especially if they are in a hurry.  The FCCP may need to do it when the parent forgets to ensure compliance is maintained to this rule.    

Section 4 – Parent/Family Engagement in Their Children’s Care

 

Section 5 – Health, Safety and Nutrition

Do the parents need to wash hands at drop off and pick up? 

This question is related to FCCH rule 5.2.1.1. The intent of this rule is that anyone staying would wash their hands.  So it isn’t expected that parents who are picking up and dropping off their children would wash their hands.  If parents are going to stay to assist/volunteer, then the rule would apply to them as it does anyone else spending this kind of time in the program.

We currently do not have documentation of our children’s well-care exams so do they need to have a health exam within 45 days from 9/1/2016? 

This question is related to FCCH rule 5.1.2.  No, children do not need to have a new exam.  Or can they get a print out from the doctor about their last exam – regardless of when that was?  Documentation from an exam within the past year will be sufficient to meet this licensing rule.  The Division will be providing a sample document that may be used.  It is not required to use any particular form.  What is important is whether there is medicine or health information of which you should be aware while caring for a child.  This may be as simple as a one or two sentence statement by the child’s doctor at the foot of a current immunization record that includes the date of the last well-care exam and the doctor’s signature.  Compliance will be expected to have been achieved no later than 9/1/2017 for all children enrolled. 

Should I be contacting children’s doctors’ offices directly for a copy of health exams? 

No, parents should be contacting their child’s doctor’s office and request the information be sent to the parent to bring to you or be sent directly to you.

Will there be forms to help us start implementing the daily checks and things we need to add into our contracts? 

The question relates to FCCH rule 5.3.2.  The Division will provide a sample document.  It is not required to use the Division’s sample document.  It may be as simple as a note book where you write the date, child’s name, description, and parent’s information.  Or it could be a similar type note saved in a file on an IPad which is available for review during a licensing visit.

Does the type of cot or rest mat matter? 

This question is related to FCCH rule 5.4.1.4. This licensing rule requires that a cot or mat be non-porous which means it can be cleaned.  Mats are often vinyl and cots often are a coated mesh material that is able to be cleaned.  The rule also clarifies that children may not nap directly on the nonporous covering which means they need to have something like a blanket or sleeping bag.

I have a dog and a cat.  What do the rules about pets mean? 

This question is related to FCCH rule 5.10.1.14.4.  This licensing rule is saying that pets may not be on surfaces where food is prepared like counter tops or where food is served like on the table where children eat.  Realistically dogs are not allowed on counter tops and tables.  Cats will need to be trained to not jump onto the counter tops and table.  This would also include caged animals like gerbils and hamsters.  The second part to this rule requires pets like cats and dogs to be kept separate from children’s eating area when they are eating.  Sometimes this is when a dog may be put outside or a cat in another room.  Some people use a crate with their dog and meal time is a good time to use the crate.  The intent of this rule is to prevent cross contamination and to ensure that pets are not interfering with children eating.  There is also a safety element.  Sometimes fighting over food may result in a child being bitten.

Do I need to date and label foods not for use for the child care? 

This question is related to FCCH rule 5.10.2.3.2.  The intent of this rule is that foods being served to child care children are in containers that are dated and labeled.  The label may indicate that the food is for a particular child or for use in the child care program.  This is one way to ensure food is safe to serve when you are operating a business that provides food.  Foods in their original container will already have an expiration date on it and will be all set.  Lunch boxes stored in the refrigerator with food that goes home at the end of each day is fine.  The lunch box should have the child or family’s name on it.

Section 6 – Teaching and Learning

Who can be counted in staff/child ratios and be left alone with children?

  • FCCP Rule 7.2.1 clarifies that staff and anyone having unsupervised access with children are required to complete fingerprinting.  This would include a spouse that assists with coverage when the FCCP is present and/or has left the home.  Spouses who work outside the home and never assist with the care of children will not be required to complete the fingerprinting portion (step two) of the background check process.  This is re-enforced by FCCP Rule 7.2.4 which states no person shall be left alone with children without the approval of the Division which will include fingerprinting.
  • Registered FCCP Rule 6.2.1.5 requires the FCCP and staff to be in compliance with the staff:child ratio charts in Registered FCCP Rule 6.2.1.6 or Registered FCCP Rule 6.2.1.7.  The definition of staff (FCCP Rule 2.2.47) says all persons employed by or substituting at the FCCH as a FCCP, Family Child Care Assistant, classroom aide, or trainee.
  • FCCP Rule 7.7.2 states that volunteers may not be counted in staff:child ratio and may not be left alone with children.  A parent may be left alone with their own child(ren) whether they are volunteering or not.  The only time a parent may not be left alone with their child is if there is a court order on file at the FCCH that states this (see FCCP Rules 3.3.4.1 and 3.5.4).
  • FCCP Rules 6.2.2.5 – 6.2.2.9 apply to both registered and licensed FCCH programs.
  • FCCP Rule 6.2.2.7 says that partner staff may not be counted in staff:child ratio and may not be left alone with children.  By definition (FCCP Rule 2.2.32), this means a person employed by another entity, other than the FCCH, who works with a child or group of children within the FCCH.  An example of partner staff may be a physical or speech therapist.

Section 7 – Program Personnel/Staffing

How long do I have to meet the qualification requirements?

It has been over 15 years since the regulations have been updated.  A regulated child care program is a business that supports children’s learning, growth, and development.  Research shows that education impacts the quality of care and education adults provide children.  The Child Development Division made some tough decisions about how to increase the minimum standard for qualifications appropriately. 

All providers and staff are expected to meet the qualifications despite how many years someone has been in the profession.  FCCP and FCCH staff have one year to meet qualifications.  If more time is needed at the end of this time, a variance may be submitted.  Solid variance requests will explain how come you need more time, how much time you will need, and how you will use this extra time.

The place to begin thinking about a plan for meeting qualifications and if you have questions about options that will help support compliance with qualifications, please refer to the Child Development Division’s website (http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/professional-development) and/or reach out to Vermont Northern Lights.  Now is also the best time to send up-to-date resumes, high school diplomas, college transcripts, and degree information to Northern Lights using their Professional Development Verification Cover Sheet (http://dcf.vermont.gov/sites/dcf/files/CDD/Forms/pd_verification_form.pdf).  Find Northern Lights staff emails and other information on their website http://northernlightscdc.org/ or call 802-885-8374 (Amelia) or 802-828-2876 (Nancy).  As you learn about the many options available to use to achieve compliance with qualifications, you may have questions about money available to support the cost.  Please refer to the Child Development Division’s website for grant options (http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/providers/grants/pd). 

Whether you need to get a high school diploma, a college degree, or complete some college coursework; start with learning about how what you have done over the years will help you reach your goal.  Then develop a plan.  The Child Development Division will spend the next year for FCCH programs and the next two years for CBCCPP programs providing technical assistance to support compliance being achieved.  Please remember that this extra time is for staff already employed prior to 9/1/2016.  New staff hired after 9/1/2016 are required to meet the qualifications at the time of employment.

What position title does my partner/spouse fit into when covering for me in my FCCH? 

  • If your spouse is assisting you for compliance with staff:child ratios, then your spouse is working as a Family Child Care Assistant and needs to meet qualifications per FCCH Rule 7.3.3 and meet annual professional development requirements in the rules in section 7.4 of FCCH Rules.
  • If you spouse is covering in your absence or in the absence of your Family Child Care Assistant, then your spouse is working as a Substitute and needs to meet qualifications per FCCH Rule 7.3.6 and the requires in the rules in section 7.6 of FCCH Rules.  In addition to this, if you have a licensed FCCH and your spouse has substituted for more than 30 days within a year he/she is required to meet the qualifications for the position for which they cover per licensed FCCH Rule 7.6.12.
  • If your spouse is not being counted in ratio at any time and is never left alone with children, then he/she does not need to meet qualifications or annual professional development requirements.  In this situation, your spouse may be present with the children and may play with the children as long as yourself as the FCCP and/or other staff are present and maintaining responsibility and supervision of the children.

What may be used to meet annual professional development requirements?

FCCH Rule 7.4.3 identifies the criteria professional development needs to meet.  College courses, workshops, online training options, conferences, and etcetera are some examples of what may be used to complete annual professional development.  Most 3 credit college courses are equivalent to 45 clock hours.  When documentation of any type is sent to Vermont Northern Lights to be added to your BFIS Quality and Credential Account, use this Verification Cover Sheet (http://dcf.vermont.gov/sites/dcf/files/CDD/Forms/pd_verification_form.pdf) to know what is needed for professional development to be verified and entered.  Under each type of documentation listed on the Verification Cover Sheet, it lists what is needed to be included in the documentation.  If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Vermont Northern Lights by accessing their website http://northernlightscdc.org/.

What if I need to obtain my high school diploma? Where do I begin?

There are adult education and literacy organizations across Vermont that available to assist you with obtaining a high school diploma.  They have two programs that assist with this: 

  • High School Completion Program (HSCP) in which you create your plan in partnership with a Vermont Adult Learning Plan Manager, with approval from your local high school. Starting with your high school transcript as a baseline, you can integrate courses, workshops, internships, projects as well as paid employment into your graduation plan based on your individual skills, needs and goals. You can even take college courses for free while pursing your high school diploma. The result… a high school diploma from your local high school!
  • General Educational Development (GED) is a high school equivalency test that measures skills required by high schools and requested by colleges and employers. This includes 4 tests: Science, Social Studies, Mathematical Reasoning, and Reasoning Through Language Arts.

To learn which program is best suited for helping you obtain your high school diploma, please go to the Vermont Agency of Education website at http://education.vermont.gov/student-support/adult-education/local-services. There are 10 full-service centers and several satellite centers across the state. To find the center closest to you, go to the website and scroll down to the list of counties. Click on your county or the county closest to you and you will be given the contact information for the organization in that area. There are four different organizations that work with the Agency of Education to provide these services.

Appendix A – Signs and Symptoms of Illness Chart

Appendix B – Regarding Cribs

Child Development Division

Deputy Commissioner Reeva Murphy
DCF - Child Development Division
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-1040
Phone: (802) 241-3110 or 1-800-649-2642
Fax: (802) 241-0846

http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd

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