2018 Summer Child Care Licensing Newsletter

31 August 2018

Information in this newsletter:

Message from the Child Care Licensing Director

I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer and having lots of fun with your children!  Our Licensing team has been busy this spring and summer.  We have worked with various community partners and approved many variances to support hiring efforts; collaborated to support child care capacity building work; and held several Meet and Greets around the state for you to be able to ask your regulatory questions, connect in person with one of our licensing technicians, and meet your licensor.  Licensors have been continuing to complete the first licensing compliance visit for many providers and programs since the revised regulations went into effect almost two years ago.  During these licensing compliance visits, licensors have provided technical assistance as needed.  Technicians have issued staff in all program types their Fingerprint Authorization Certificates, and you all have been busy submitting to fingerprinting.
I have appreciated connecting with many of you by phone or email, at the Meet and Greets or other community meetings in which I have attended, or during a licensing visit in which I shadowed a licensor for the day.  You have all done amazing work to achieve compliance with revised and/or new regulations, in supporting each other, and with assisting our Licensing team.  I personally want to thank those of you who have assisted with our interview panels for hiring licensing staff, reviewing modifications and a resource tool we have been working on for licensed applicants, developing criteria for programs to create and provide their own orientation, and for discussing a new BFIS function related to fingerprint permissions.  The collaboration has been valuable and has definitely helped us develop more effective processes and systems.  Thank you to all who have participated in one or more of these projects this spring and summer.
This summer, the Licensing Unit has experienced some staffing changes.  Three of our licensors are starting new positions in the public school system: licensors Vicki Burgess, Danielle Palmer and Jenn Taylor.   Kimberlie Buxton joined our team as a licensor on July 9th and her training is well underway.  We have also received 3 new licensor positions.  We have posted for Danielle and Jenn's positions and the 3 new licensor positions.  We anticipate having the 5 licensor positions filled by mid October at which time we will post a new territory list on our CDD website (http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/whos_who).  We will also be re-aligning territory assignment for our licensing technicians at the same time.

Please remember to direct background clearance questions to your assigned licensing technician (http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/whos_who) and all other regulatory questions to the Licensor on Duty line at 1 (800) 649-2642 option 3.  The line continues to be well used so please leave a message.  Calls are returned within a few hours each day.  Good news, we are in the process of setting up a Licensor on Duty email account!  Soon you will be able to email or call with regulatory questions!
I look forward to fall as we achieve yet another milestone in the regulation revision process and hire and orient several new licensors.
Respectfully Submitted
Christel Michaud
Director of Child Care Licensing

Required Orientation Options

Many of you have been waiting patiently to hear about how to create and provide your staff with your own Orientation that meets CBCCPP and FCCH rule 7.1.3 and ASP rule 5.31. 

Before I share some exciting news, I want to remind you that the Vermont Orientation training provided by Better Kid Care continues to be available on-line for free until 12/31/2018 after which there will be a $10 fee which is paid at the time an individual registers for the training (http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/professional-development/requirements).  If you have difficulty accessing the training, please contact your Northern Lights at CCV Resource Advisor for assistance.  Resource Advisors serve more than one area so find the listing closest to your town (https://northernlightscdc.org/about-vnl/contact-us/).

Also, I have learned that not all staff are entering their BFIS Quality and Credential account number when beginning the Vermont Orientation training by Better Kid Care.  Without the staff member's BFIS Quality and Credential account number, credit cannot be given for having completed the training.  If staff don't know their BFIS Quality and Credential account number, I encourage them to learn about their account and how to identify their account number by viewing the "BFIS Credential Account Power Point" on our CDD website (http://dcf.vermont.gov/childcare/providers/bfis).

A reminder that whether staff complete the Vermont Orientation training provided by Better Kid Care or an orientation created and provided by you as an employer, either option requires staff to complete the on-line Child Abuse and Neglect Mandatory Reporting training.  This separate, required training is accessible at http://dcf.vermont.gov/protection/reporting/mandated

Now I'd like to tell you about the option you have for creating an orientation training for your staff as an alternative to having them attend the one offered by Better Kid Care.  A committee of providers and licensing staff developed the criteria for this option.  Staff within the Division's Systems Development Unit assisted with identifying resources that you may find helpful to use as part of creating your own orientation training for your staff.  Please access the orientation criteria, a template form you may use to document that staff have completed this training requirement, and a resource list on the Division's website at (http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/forms-child-care-providers, called Vermont Child Care Regulations Required Orientation Template and can be found under "Staff/Volunteer Forms").  Please note that this option is not a training option that can be submitted to Northern Lights at CCV for training hours.
Please mark your calendars that the orientation training is required to be completed no later than 9/30/2018 for all required staff.  This extension from the 8/31/2018 deadline is to allow some additional time now that this new orientation training option has been provided. 

News on Licensing Site Visits

For the past 2 years licensing has provided technical assistance during first compliance visits since 9/1/2016; trainings on the revised regulations; a variety of supports (e.g. new guidance manuals, frequently asked questions, licensing newsletters, Meet and Greets); and many, many calls to the Licensor on Duty line or to your licensing technician.  We still have a few more first compliance visits left to do. As we finish these, we begin to shift from a technical assistance focus to an enforcement focus.  What does this mean for you and your program?

  • Staff needing more time to meet revised qualifications should have variance requests submitted to the Division.  A program director or FCCP may be able to submit one variance request for multiple staff.  Licensing staff will support you with your variance request to ensure all the required information is provided.  Please be sure that staff have all their completed education and experience documented in their BFIS Quality and Credential accounts along with a current IPDP that shows how they will achieve compliance.  ("Child Care Licensing Variance" fact sheet is available on the Division's website at http://dcf.vermont.gov/childcare/providers/bfis.) 
  • Ensure you and your staff have submitted to fingerprinting.  Vermont Crime Information Center is sending the Division fingerprint results within 2 – 3 weeks from when an individual has submitted to fingerprinting.  All results received each week are then entered into BFIS.  If our Administrative Services Coordinator, Robin Rielly, contacts you or your staff regarding an issue with fingerprints being processed; it is expected that the issue is addressed in order to comply with the fingerprinting requirement.  Per CBCPP rule, FCCH rule and ASP rule 18.79; your program's BFIS account is required to be accurate with changes documented within 5 working days.  Congratulations to all who make up the 66% of all staff and individuals required to comply with fingerprinting who have completed the fingerprinting requirement with results received by the Division and entered into BFIS!
  • I recommend doing another read through of the regulations to ensure you have made all needed modifications to your processes and/or paperwork and have completed all required trainings.  Then complete any final things needed to be in full compliance with the revised licensing regulations.  Any licensing compliance visits completed after your first one since 9/1/2016 will have non-compliance cited for those items you haven't addressed.
  • It is always a beneficial practice to periodically read a couple sections of the regulations.  For example, you may want to read sections relevant for summer time such as field trips, swimming, and outside play during the spring.  Or take a few minutes to read sections relevant to business practices or family relations.  Some programs divide up the different sections of the regulations among staff and everyone becomes an expert on their section working as a team to ensure regulatory compliance.  Now that we have the guidance manuals, remember to see if there is resources in the guidance manual when you are reviewing a particular regulation or section of regulations.

Congratulations to each and every one of you for what you have accomplished in the last 2 years. 
Please remember to direct background clearance questions to your assigned licensing technician (http://dcf.vermont.gov/cdd/whos_who) and all other regulatory questions to the Licensor on Duty line at 1 (800) 649-2642 option 3.  The line continues to be well used so please leave a message.  Calls are returned within a few hours each day.  Good news, we are in the process of setting up a Licensor on Duty email account!  Soon you will be able to email or call with regulatory questions!

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Center Based Child Care and Preschool Program (CBCCPP) Specific Questions:

Family Child Care Home (FCCH) Program Specific Question:

Results from 2017 Annual Immunization Survey

Vermont law requires that all regulated center-based and family child care facilities submit an annual Health Department survey on immunization coverage.  The 2017-18 Immunization Survey was conducted through the Department for Children and Families, Child Development Division (CDD), in collaboration with the Health Department Immunization Program.  In 2017-18, 89% of all regulated child care programs completed the report – an increase from 87% in 2016-17.

The 982 programs reporting represent 17,023 children younger than age five (approximately 56% of all Vermont children that age) and not enrolled in school, receiving full or part-time care. A limitation of the data is that children may be enrolled in, and reported by, more than one child care program.

Vaccination coverage for licensed child care facilities can be viewed here. This spreadsheet is organized by the child care facility name but may be ordered differently (e.g. by town, highest to lowest percentage, etc.) by first clicking on the "edit anyway" button, and then sort using the arrows at the top of each column.

Key Findings
For children younger than five years of age enrolled in Vermont regulated child care programs:

  • Vaccination coverage improved in 2017-18 for all individual vaccines, with the greatest gain of 0.6% in DTaP since last year.
  • 93.1% met all vaccine requirements for their age, at the time of the survey, an improvement of 0.5% from the prior year.
  • 4.0% were provisionally admitted – these children were not up-to-date on all required vaccines and did not have a signed exemption. In 2016-17 the percentage was 4.8.
  • 2.7% had a non-medical (religious) exemption.The rate of non-medical exemptions was 4.3% in 2015-16 when both religious and philosophical non-medical exemptions were allowed.
  • 0.2% have a medical exemption, the same percentage as school age children.
  • The vaccine with the lowest overall coverage rate was varicella (chickenpox) at 95.8%.
  • The vaccines with the highest overall coverage rate was MMR at 96.6%.

Annual immunization coverage data for each licensed child care facility, and total immunization coverage for all regulated child care programs (combined and by program type), are posted on the Health Department website. This fulfills the legislative requirement that coverage data is publicly available. 

The 2018 Immunization Survey will be emailed to child care programs serving children under the age of 6 years in November.