This article covers what a small family child care provider must include in a contract with parents under the Maryland State Board of Education regulations.
NOTE: This article does not cover “large” family child care homes, commercial child care homes, or general contract law requirements.
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A small family child care is one:
- that is operated out of the provider’s primary residence;
- where the provider cares for 1-8 children;
- where the provider is not related to all children in care; and,
- where the provider provides care on a regular basis of 20 or more hours per month.
- fee schedule,
- child discipline policy,
- presence of any pet animals,
- use of volunteers (if applicable), and
- sleeping arrangements (if overnight care is provided).
Read the Regulation: Code of Md. Regulations, 13A.15.03.03
The fee schedule includes how much time the child will be in the provider's care and how much the parent will pay. Note that prior approval must be obtained from the state before you can provide care regularly for more than 14 hours in any 24-hour period.
Child Discipline Policy
Read the Regulation: Code of Md. Regulations, 13A.15.07.04
A provider may NOT:
- subject a child to abuse, neglect, mental injury, or injurious treatment;
- force a child to eat or drink;
- punish a child for refusing to eat or drink;
- withhold food or beverages as punishment;
- deliberately inflict physical pain, including spanking, hitting, shaking, or any other means of physical discipline;
- enforce acts which result in physical pain;
- fail to attend to a child’s physical needs;
- subject a child to verbal abuse intended to cause mental distress, such as shouting, cursing, shaming, or ridiculing;
- use other inappropriate methods that create undue discomfort, such as, but not limited to:
- washing a child’s mouth with soap;
- putting pepper or other spicy or distasteful items in a child’s mouth;
- requiring a child to stand on one foot; or,
- tying a child to another object.
Presence of any Pet Animals
Use of volunteers
The disclosure of the presence of any volunteers must be in your written agreement. A volunteer is any person 13 years or older, who is not enrolled as a child in care at the family child care home, and who works in the child care home without compensation. Volunteer does not mean an additional adult or a substitute.
Read the Regulation: Code of Md. Regulations, 13A.15.01.02(B)(36)
For children under 5, furnishings must be provided for naps. Children younger than 12 months must have a crib available. Children between 1-5 years old must have a bed or cot provided.
If overnight care is to be provided to the child, the sleeping arrangements must be detailed in the agreement and approved by the child's parents. Each child in overnight care must:
- Sleep in a separate bed or crib that is appropriate to the child's age, size, and needs; and
- Have separate clean linens and toiletries.
Each room used for sleeping must have an emergency escape route floor plan posted obviously.
Use of substitutes
Maryland law requires the provider to notify the parents when a substitute provider will care for the children. Note that the substitute may not present a risk to the health, safety, or welfare of the children. Disclosure of the name and qualifications of potential substitutes in the agreement can help reduce concerns from parents.
Maryland law requires you to:
- complete emergency and disaster planning training;
- alert any substitute to emergency evacuation procedures;
- prepare and maintain a written emergency and disaster plan.
Including this in the agreement may help parents feel more comfortable leaving their child(ren) in the provider's care, and more confident in an emergency.
Maryland law requires that provider's document, on or before the date of a child’s admission to care, that the child’s parent was given, or advised how to obtain, information concerning:
- consumer education on child care; and
- how to file a complaint with the State against a child care provider.
Read the Regulations: Code of Md. Regulations, 13A.15.03.03