Fall 2021 Child Care Licensing Newsletter

15 October 2021

Fall is here with leaves changing colors, school back in session, and the smell of apple pie in the air.  As we continue to navigate COVID-19, many are thankful for a greater sense of normalcy.  We are excited to share information that supports your continued work with children and families.
 
Here are some important highlights, tips, and reminders:

Emergency Rules

We have received concerns regarding discriminatory practices and staffing challenges. After careful consideration, we have filed an emergency rule addressing non-discrimination that will take effect Monday, October 18, 2021. We are also in the process of seeking approval for an emergency rule addressing staff qualifications and staff-to-child ratios.

  • For ASPs, there will be a new rule added that prevents discriminatory enrollment practices. This regulation already exists for CBCCPPs and FCCHs (CBCCPP rule 3.5 and FCCH rule 3.4). In addition, ASP rule 8.6 will have additional requirements added that clarify that the environment, materials, and experiences must respect and reflect children's and the community's culture.
  • For all provider types, the variance rule (ASP rule 18.66 and CBCCPP and FCCH rule 2.7.1) will be modified to prevent the Division from allowing variances to rules that prevent discriminatory practices.
  • For CBCCPPs, we have proposed revisions to CBCCPP rule 6.2.1.3 regarding ratios and groups sizes and to CBCCPP rule 6.2.2 regarding mixed age groups. These revisions are designed to better meet staffing and children's needs. For example, children enrolled in kindergarten will have a 1:13 ratio and groups size of 26 like school age children. 
  • In addition, we have proposed revisions to the teacher associate qualifications (CBCCPP rule 7.3.2.2) and to the program director qualifications for medium sized CBCCPPs (CBCCPP rule 7.3.1.3) to better support staffing challenges. The revisions will be like the pre-2016 teacher associate qualifications and the pre-2016 program director qualifications for a medium sized CBCCPP.  If you'd like to file a variance for these revisions to take effect immediately, please complete the Child Care Licensing Expeditated Variance Request form and email it to ahs.dcfcddchildcarelicensing@vermont.gov. When completing the form, please save it to your computer first. You will want to avoid completing it within your web browser. For additional assistance, please see the Fillable PDF Tips page.

Infant/Child CPR and Pediatric First Aid

We are re-implementing the fully on-line option to complete Infant/Child CPR and Pediatric First Aid.  Effective immediately and until further notice, you may choose a fully online Infant/Child CPR and Pediatric First Aid training offered by an approved training organization (American Heart Association, American Red Cross, or American Health and Safety Institute). Documentation will be verified and entered in your BFIS Quality and Credential Account by Northern Lights at CCV staff. This also applies to new staff that do not have certification in Infant/Child CPR and Pediatric First Aid.

Background Clearances

  • A reminder to superintendents and headmasters that 16 V.S.A. § 256(a)(1) allows you to use the fingerprint supported background clearance completed by the Child Development Division (CDD) for staff working in a CDD licensed facility.
  • We wanted to thank eight staff from within the Child Development Division and from Economic Services Division who assisted Lacey and Tracy with processing background clearances to eliminate the backlog while we recruited and trained new Child Care Business Technicians. We also wanted to thank you, for your patience while we filled these vacancies.

Child Care Licensing Staff Updates

  • We had some additional changes within our Child Care Business Technician (Technician) team. We have hired Jacek Deptula to remain with us permanently. In addition, Tiffany Le is back with us after having stepped away from the position briefly.  Jacek and Tiffany have joined Lacey Osborne and Tracy Ferrell.
  • We have also filled our two vacant Licensing Field Specialist (Licensor) positions. A few weeks ago, we welcomed Robin Rielly and Lora Miele to our team. They have begun their training and will continue with this over the next few months before they are independent in the field.
  • We have hired Angela Dwyer, a temporary employee continuing to assist us with processing background clearances. Angela's email address will include @partner.vermont.gov. Please note that it looks slightly different than our licensing staff's email addresses which just use @vermont.gov.

Territory Assignments for Technicians and Licensors

We have adjusted territory assignments for Technicians and Licensors. We have updated the alphabetical list of towns and the visual color-coded map of Vermont with who is assigned to which town. The alphabetical list of towns also provides licensing staff's contact information.  You can continue to use our Licensor on Duty line (ahs.dcfcddchildcarelicensing@vermont.gov / (802) 649-2642 option 3) to reach a Technician or Licensor, submit Record Check Authorization forms, ask regulatory questions, and more.

Emergency Preparedness

  • A couple months ago, we revised the Emergency Response Guide for Child Care Programs. Your emergency response and recovery plan is required to be reviewed annually. We encourage you to use the new guide and template as they will help you strengthen your plan. Remember, it's crucial that staff, families, and volunteers are familiar with your program's emergency response and recovery plan. 
  • Did you know that we cited evacuation drills not being practiced monthly as one of the top violations this past year? Division of Fire Safety identifies the act of practicing emergency evacuations as a critical method for saving lives when a building is on fire. Young children (preschool age and younger) are apt to hide in this type of emergency, making monthly emergency evacuation drills that much more important. 

Child Care Financial Assistance Program Update

A regulated provider may submit a request for approval to use S (sick) codes when billing for any child that is absent due to a positive COVID-19 test or is in quarantine due to direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person. S codes may also be requested if a classroom or program is forced to close due to a positive test or is required to quarantine a staff member. This request is required to be submitted using the CDD issued form for this purpose. To get a copy of this form, please contact your local CCFAP Eligibility Specialist.