Early Learning Center Family Handbook - Family Focus

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Early Learning Center Family Handbook - Family Focus Powered By Docstoc
					          Children’s Services
                           Early Learning Centers

                       Family Handbook

Revised October 2010
                                          TABLE OF CONTENTS
Mission Statement………………………………………………………………….. 4

Vision………………………………………………………………………………. 4


Organizational Structure…………………………………………………………… 5

Board of Directors…………………………………………………………………. 6

Child Care Advisory Boards………………………………………………………..6

Child Care Facilities………………………………………………………………. 7

Staff-Child Ratios…………………………………………………………………. 8

Hours of Operation………………………………………………………………… 8

Family Involvement……………………………………………………………...…9

Admissions/Enrollment………………………………………….………………… 9

Program Expectations……………………………………………………………… 10

Child Behavior and Discipline………………………………………………………10

Waiting List………………………………………………………………………... 11

Fees/Payments/Attendance………………………………………………………… 11

Fee Reduction……………………………………………………………………… 13

Tax Credits and Receipts…………………………………………………...……… 13

Preparation for Child Care………………………………………………………… 13

Items You Should Bring………………………………………………………….…13

Other: Smoking, Firearms, Handicap Parking………………………………………15

Transportation & Morning Drop Off………………………………………………. 15

Evening Pick Up…………………………………………………………………… 15

Rest Periods…………………………………………………………………………15


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Curriculum and Assessment……………………………………………………...…16

Program Assessment………………………………………………………………..20

Health, Safety and First Aid……………………………………………………….. 21

Incident Reports……………………………………………………………………. 23

Confidentiality/Mandated Reporting………………………………………………. 23

Nutrition……………………………………………………………………………. 23


Bottle Feeding………………………………………………………………………24


Transportation of Children: Field Trips…………………………………………… 25

Withdrawal From Program/Termination of Enrollment…………………………… 26

Non-Discrimination Policy………………………………………………………… 26

Grievance/Appeal Process………………………………………………………… 26

Frequently Asked Questions………………………………………………………..27

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Family Focus would like to take this opportunity to welcome you and your children to our programs.
Family Focus programs are designed to provide a safe and supervised environment for children from
six (6) weeks of age through grade 5.

Founded in 1985, Family Focus (formerly known as Bath-Brunswick Child Care Services) has grown
from an agency operating two center based child care programs with 15 staff to its current size and
scope with 50+/- employees. Family Focus‟ programs have been developed to meet community
needs and operate in collaboration with other organizations, schools and businesses in the area. The
agency prides itself on the quality of the programs designed to meet the needs of children and
families, particularly those who are low-income, at-risk or who have special needs.

                                          MISSION STATEMENT

Family Focus partners with families to provide high-quality care and education to meet the individual
needs of our children. We are committed to preparing children for future success through
credentialed staff, nurturing environments and research based curriculum.


“We are a strong and vital link in the community‟s network that meets the needs of children and


Our goal at Family Focus is to provide the best possible developmental care for children in their
parent‟s absence. Our staff works hard to create an environment and program that consistently meets
the developmental needs of children. We provide a supportive and caring child/teacher community
with stimulating experiences conducive to learning. We work to help children develop a positive
self-concept, independence and understanding of their own needs and relationships with others. We
foster growth in large and fine motor competence, a sense of responsibility for one‟s actions, and
above all, the confidence, skills and curiosity to explore actively and communicate with others. With
these general, developmental goals in mind, we make the following program plans:

   Children are grouped in order to encourage the valuable interplay and learning that happens when
    children play together.

   Children are free to choose their own materials and activities based upon their own interests and
    developmental level. For young children who are not yet able to make their own decisions, a
    variety of materials are supplied.

   The day is organized into a schedule that is familiar and routine for children without being rigid.
    Younger children‟s schedules reflect their individual needs.

   A balance of indoor and outdoor time is provided for all children, with a wide variety of
    appropriate materials and activities available in both areas.

In addition, all the programs seek to:

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   Offer children a base of warmth and security provided by caring adults.

   Consider family perspectives, beliefs, and values.

   Reinforce community values such as mutual respect, cooperation, and communication.

   Introduce children to a wide variety of activities and new skills while encouraging risk-taking in a
    safe environment.

   Encourage creativity.

   Foster the assumption of responsibility through choices and the ownership of space.

These goals are realized by recognizing children‟s developmental needs, communicating with
parents, and employing qualified and professional staff.


CHILDREN’S SERVICES offers center-based care in Bath and Brunswick for children six weeks of age
through entrance into Kindergarten. Pre-school children with special needs are mainstreamed into these
centers where they may receive therapeutic services designed to meet their identified goals.

School age children are served in programs located within their school. There are currently four school-age
programs; Bowdoinham Community School, Harpswell Island School Williams-Cone School in Topsham, and
Woodside Elementary School in Topsham. These programs are open during the school year. including winter
and spring vacations. Winter, spring, and summer vacation care is also available at regional sites.

State Vouchers and Subsidies are accepted in all programs.

FAMILY SERVICES offers family centered home visitation for parent education and family support through
in Sagadahoc and Cumberland Counties through the Parent Program, a home visitation program for parents of
children with special needs or those in need of additional support.

COMMUNITY SERVICES provides support to parents, providers and other community members through the
Child and Adult Care Food Program and through participation in other collaborative groups such as ACCESS
and Success by 6.

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                                          BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board of Directors concerns itself with questions of policy having to do with the long-range
operation of the corporation and with its overall philosophy. Board members work with the
Executive Director to define goals of the programs, to establish priorities for the agency as a whole,
and to formulate policies. In addition, Board members keep informed about the operation of the
programs so they can address matters that require attention.

The membership of the Board of Directors includes staff representatives, parents of children currently
or formerly involved with the programs, and community members who have an interest in and
commitment to seeing that affordable, quality services are available to parents.

Board meetings are held every month. Board agendas, a list of Board members, and a schedule of
meetings are available to all parents.

                                      CHILD CARE ADVISORY BOARDS

The Bath and Brunswick Early Learning Centers, and school age programs seeking accreditation,
have Child Care Advisory Boards that meet regularly. The Child Care Advisory Board is a group of
parents, family members, and staff interested in maintaining a quality program. It is an advisory
group, not a policy group, functioning to support and help in making the best possible child care
programs available to families in our community.

Meetings are posted in advance but you may also see the Program Manager for more information.
Families are encouraged to join the Board or attend meetings; their input is very valuable.

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                                          CHILD CARE FACILITIES

         Bath Center (50 Children – 6 weeks to 5 years)
          2 Davenport Circle * Bath, ME 04530                                  386-1662
              o Infants (6 weeks – 30 months)
              o Toddlers (13 months – 36 months)
              o Pre-schoolers (36 months – kindergarten)
         Pre-K at Dike-Newell (Up to 20 Children 4 to 5 years)                841-2261
          3 Wright Drive * Bath, ME 04530

         Brunswick Preschool Center (50 Children – 6 weeks to 5 years)        725-9702
          44 Water Street * Brunswick, ME 04011
             o Infants (6 weeks – 30 months)
             o Toddlers (13 months – 36 months)
             o Preschoolers (36 months – kindergarten)

         Bowdoinham School Age Program (26 Children – K-5th grade)            666-8242
          23 Cemetery Road * Bowdoinham, ME 04008

         Harpswell School Age Program (26 Children- K – 5th grade)            721-0821
          308 Harpswell Is. Road * Harpswell, ME 04079

         Hawthorne School Age Program (26 Children – K – 5th grade)           841-2451
          46 Federal Street * Brunswick, ME 04011

         Topsham Williams-Cone School Age Program (26 Children-K-5th grade) 729-7224
          19 Perkins Street * Topsham, ME 04086

         Topsham Woodside School Age Program (26 children – K-5th grade)      607-1301
          44 Barrows Drive * Topsham, ME 04086

         Administrative Office                                   386-1662 Phone
          2 Davenport Circle                                      386-1116 Fax
          Bath, ME 04530

                                   CHILD CARE CENTER EXTENSION NUMBERS

BATH CENTER                 386-1662             BRUNSWICK CENTER              725-9702

Program Manager             ext 103              Program Manager               ext 10

Infant Room                 ext 138              Infant Room                   ext 13

Toddler Room                ext 131              Toddler Room                  ext 11

Preschool 1                 ext 130              Preschool 1                   ext 15

Preschool 2                 ext 133              Preschool 2                   ext 17

Kitchen                     ext 137              Kitchen                       ext 14

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                                              STAFF – CHILD RATIOS

AGE                                   Staff to             Maximum
                                      Child Ratio          Group Size

6 wks to 12 months                    1:4                  12
13 to 36 months                       1:5                  15
30 months to 42 months                1:7                  21
36 months to 6 years                  1:8                  24 or
                                      1:10                 20
6 to 15 years                         1:13                 N/A

                                              HOURS OF OPERATION

Administrative Office       8:30 am – 4:00 pm       Monday - Friday
Bath Center                  6:30 am – 5:00 pm      Monday – Friday

Dike-Newell                 6:30 am – 11:35 am      Monday – Thursday

Brunswick Centers            6:30 am – 5:00 pm      Monday – Friday
MSAD 75 School Age Programs
     When School is in Session
                    6:30 am – 8:45 am               Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
                            6:30 am – 9:45 am       Wednesday
                            3:15 pm – 6:00 pm       Monday – Friday
Brunswick School Age Programs
       When School is in Session
                      6:30 am until school start and school end until 5:30 pm Monday - Friday
         School Vacations
                            6:30 am – 6:00 pm       Monday – Friday

         Summer Vacation
                            7:00 am – 5:30 pm       Monday – Friday

Brunswick School Age Programs
       When School is in Session
                      6:30 am until school start and school end until 5:30 pm Monday - Friday

The Administrative Office and Programs are closed: New Year‟s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President‟s
Day, Patriot‟s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran‟s Day, Thanksgiving, Day
after Thanksgiving, December Break (typically week of Christmas), and on days when events or weather
require closure as determined by the Executive Director or their designee.

PLEASE NOTE: We reserve the right to close all or some centers due to inclement weather if we believe it
is in the best interest of the children‟s and staff‟s safety. If Family Focus closes their programs, we will be
listed on the WCSH closing list. This list can be found on Channel 6 or on their web site,

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                                           FAMILY INVOLVEMENT
Family Focus supports families and family involvement and is always open to input from families about how
to better meet their needs. Some of the ways we promote family participation include:
   Families are included on the Board of Directors of the agency.
   Families are encouraged to join their Center‟s Advisory Board.
   Exchanges of information between families and staff are encouraged at the end of the day, both informally
    and through posted memos.
   Infants and toddlers will be sent home each day with a record of their napping, eating, and diapering
   Conferences with staff can be scheduled at any time during the year, and are formally schedule twice a
    year. We encourage you to share information about things at home to be considered in your child‟s
   If we identify a possible need that your child could use outside assistance with we will discuss this with
    you privately and work with you to form a plan of action to seek services that can help your child. We
    will respect you wishes in this area, but hope you would work with us in the best interest of helping your
    child to be ready to succeed at school.
   You know your child best. Please feel free to share your ideas on goals for your child and plans for
    activities and services. We will work with you to help you obtain any services you feel your child may
    need. We are aware of many community resources and will help you to find them.
   Families are encouraged to visit the program during the day whenever possible. Family volunteers are
    greatly appreciated.
 Our goal is to have a positive relationship with you and a partnership in caring for your child.
  Occasionally conflicts between people do arise. If you have a conflict with your child‟s teacher that you
  are unable to resolve by communicating directly with them, please discuss the situation with the program
  manager. If this does not solve the issue please contact the Executive Director. If the problem is still
  unresolved please follow the grievance procedure.
 Families are asked to assist us with our NAEYC Accreditation process, at a minimum ensuring they fill
  out the family survey - please ask us questions if there is something you are unsure of.
   If families have a primary language other than English and need assistance with communicating with us,
    please notify the Program Manager and we will try to make arrangements for assistance.
Family help and/or involvement may be requested occasionally. It is important for staff and families
to have good communication, so we look forward to greeting you as you pick up/drop off your child


Family Focus does not discriminate, nor do we refuse services to those clients with special needs who will
benefit from our programs. Admissions decisions are generally made on a first-come, first-serve basis, with
consideration given to restrictions placed upon us by funding sources, program openings, the age of the child
in question, etc.
Children are encouraged to enroll in our programs a minimum of three days per week. It is harder for the
children to adjust to being part of a group when they attend for shorter periods of time.
All enrollments are provisional for a two-week period. The program reserves the right, for itself and for
families, to terminate the enrollment of any child whose needs, as determined by staff or families, cannot be
met by our program.

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                                            PROGRAM EXPECTATIONS

Enrollment in the program assumes an understanding that you will abide by the guidelines listed as follows:
Family Expectations of the Program
Families may expect that:
   1. Their children are cared for in a safe, supportive environment.
   2. They may visit with the Program Manager about concerns related to their child or program.
   3. They will be told about any inappropriate behavior on the part of their child, and to visit with the
        Program Manager/staff in order to bring about improvement of the situation.
   4. They will be informed promptly if their school-age child does not arrive at the program site after
        school when expected.
   5. They will be regularly informed by the staff about program activities.
Program Expectations of the Families
The program expects that the Families will:
   1. Pay fees on time as explained in the fees and payment procedures.
   2. Keep the child‟s records up-to-date.
   3. Pick up children on time.
   4. Forward changes of address and phone numbers to the program site and the administrative office.
   5. Follow the health and medication policies as explained in the Illness/Medication Procedures Section.
   6. Contact the program if their child will not be attending as scheduled.
   7. Pay attention to any communication from site staff regarding their child‟s behavior and cooperate in
       efforts to bring about improvement to the situation.
   8. Inform staff about any special needs of their children.
Children’s Expectations of the Program
Children may expect:
    1. To have a safe, supportive, and consistent environment.
    2. To use program equipment, materials, and facilities on an equal basis.
    3. To receive respectful treatment.
    4. To receive discipline that is appropriate and non-punitive.
    5. To receive nurturing care from staff members who are actively involved with them.
Program Expectation of Children
The program expects that the children will:
   1. Have fun, be friendly, be safe, be honest, and be respectful to staff and others.
   2. Be responsible for their actions.
   3. Respect the rules that guide them while at the program.
   4. Remain with the group and program staff at all times.
   5. Take care of materials and equipment properly.
   6. Arrive at the program promptly.

                                          CHILD BEHAVIOR AND DISCIPLINE

    It is the goal of our program to support children‟s experiences to promote growth into happy, responsible,
    and respectful individuals. Children learn to cooperate through play and activity with their peers. Staff
    use positive teaching techniques to increase children‟s respect for themselves, and for the rights of other
    people. We support them in understanding and accepting responsibility for their own actions. When
    conflicts over the rights of other people and property develop, it is our goal to work with the individual
    children, listening to what each has to say and helping to resolve the conflict through effective

          If a conflict continues for a period of time, a child may be denied participation in the particular
           activity where the conflict arises.

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          If there is still an unresolved conflict, families will be asked to meet with staff for ideas on solving
           the conflict.

          If a problem continues, families will be asked to keep the child home for a few days until the child
           is ready to participate.

          If all these earlier attempts fail, families will be asked to remove the child from the program.

It is our policy never to use corporal punishment to resolve a conflict. Similarly, we cannot allow others
(including children) to do so within the programs.

If we believe that a conflict is occurring because of a behavior that we may be able to seek help with, families
will be asked to work with us on a referral to an outside agency like Child Development Services (CDS), the
Center for Community Inclusion and Disabilities Studies (CCIDS), Sweetser, or our Family Services Parent
Program. These agencies are able to provide screenings and resources to assist us with your children. We will
work with families and outside professionals as a team to implement teaching and learning activities, including
Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs), Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and other individual
plans as needed.

If your child already has a plan in place we ask that you include us as a part of your child‟s development team
so that we can ensure the most positive experience that includes the continuity of your child‟s plan. We
believe that regular conferences with all parties involved ensure the best experience for your child.

                                                 WAITING LIST

Children entering our programs will usually be on the waiting list for a period of time prior to enrollment. The
amount of time on the list will vary depending on the age of the child and the funding source contract
requirements. Expectant parents are encouraged to put their name on the waiting list even if it will be awhile
before a space is needed.

Children are placed on the waiting list based on the date the request is received. We do give priority to
children of our staff and siblings of children already enrolled in the child care program.

Openings in the program can come at any time during the year, however, many openings occur in the summer
in the preschool as children become eligible to enter school and in the school age programs as older school age
children enter the sixth grade.

                                          FEES/ PAYMENTS / ATTENDANCE

Absences: It would be appreciated if you could notify the center by 9 a.m. if your child will be absent so that
the cook will know how many children to cook for. Children are enrolled in programs for different reasons
and with different schedules to meet the different needs of various families. Some funding sources require that
a child attend a minimum number of hours. If the child is not attending the program as required, staff will
contact the family to inquire if continued care is needed.

Fee Payment: All families are required to pay a fee for the service received. Weekly fees are to be paid on
Monday for the current week. We try to be as accommodating as possible, but unless other arrangements are
made with the administrative office, fees that become over two weeks behind must be brought current before
your child will be able to continue with Family Focus. You will also be responsible for fees while we are
waiting for payment if we hold your child‟s space. Past due fees may result in termination of enrollment.

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There is a $25.00 return check charge. This covers the fee charged to Family Focus by the bank. If more than
three checks are returned, Family Focus may require your future payments be made by money order or cash.
Non-sufficient fund checks are subject to collection through legal means if necessary.

If a family is experiencing a financial crisis they may contact the financial office to inquire about a fee
reduction for a specified period of time.

Annual program costs are determined and then spread out over the course of the weeks of service provided.
Therefore, days for which a child may not be in attendance at the program are already figured into the fee
structure. This means that families must pay the established fee every week, even though some weeks their
child(ren) may miss days due to illness, holidays, lack of transportation, etc. While we realize that this fee
payment policy may be hard for some families to accept initially, we feel that it is the best way to keep fees as
low as possible while providing quality care.

Late Fee Policy: Because of the manner in which staff is arranged and compensated, it is necessary for us to
charge families who pick up their child after the scheduled time of pick up a late fee of $5.00 per fifteen
minutes. You will receive a notice indicating that your account has been charged the late pick up fee.

Vacation Week: Family Focus is closed for one week at the end of December. Families are not charged for
this week.
Should there be an increase in fees you will be notified at least 30 days in advance.
Weekly fee scale
Effective October 1, 2007

The fee scale at Family Focus Child Care Centers is based on the age area (Infants, Toddlers, or Preschool) of
enrollment of the child and cost of the services provided for the age.
Families whose incomes fall below 85% of the SMI are eligible for state subsidy through our “slots” contract
with DHHS or through the Voucher Program as funding is available.

                            AGE AREA     WEEKLY RATE
                      Infants            $200
                      Toddlers           $175
                      Preschool          $160
                      PART TIME – ENROLLED FOR 20-29 HOURS PER WEEK
                      Infants            $150
                      Toddlers           $131.25
                      Preschool          $120
                      Infants            $100
                      Toddlers           $87.50
                      Preschool          $80

There is a limited amount of money available to assist families with exceptional circumstances. A Fee Waiver
form must be completed and is subject to approval by the Executive Director and/or Board.

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                                                FEE REDUCTION
A family applying for a fee reduction must complete a fee reduction application. Upon completion and return
of this form, the Executive Director shall review the application, and return a decision in writing to the family
within ten working days of receipt. The Director shall also notify all families requesting a fee reduction of
their right to appeal any decision made, and the process, which they shall follow in so doing.
In making a fee reduction decision, the following shall be considered:
 Funding sources for the child‟s “slot” and availability of other funds to pay for parent fee.
 Any catastrophic situations within the family unit.
 Extraordinary, unforeseen family expenses.
 Changes in employment.
 Continued, “best interest” of the child (ren) in care.
 Other items related to the specific cases at hand.

Approved fee reductions must:
 Be reviewed at least every 6 months.
 Ensure that all families be responsible for a parent fee unless waived by Board approval.
 Contain a fee reduction which would bring them to a parent fee payment which agrees with what they
   would be charged on the TXX subsidy scale: if they are already being charged this parent fee, the reduced
   fee may be no less than 50% of the subsidized program parent fee.
 Be accompanied by a new CACFP application.
 Contain a “permission to share” information release form.
 Require that parents have applied for all childcare subsidies for which they may be eligible, including the
   TXX program and the voucher program.
 Fee reductions that have been approved will be retroactive only to the date of the application.

                                           TAX CREDIT AND RECEIPTS
Most families should qualify for a tax credit under provisions of the Federal Tax Reform Bill of 1976. You
will receive a statement in January to use for income tax reporting.

                                          PREPARATION FOR CHILD CARE
Please be sure all of your paperwork is turned in at least three business days before your child‟s first day at
Family Focus. You should prepare your child for care in a positive way. Bring your child for a visit(s) prior
to the enrollment date. Talk about the teachers in the classroom and the children your child met during their
visit and call them by name.

Expect your child to go to the center happy and to have a good time. Your attitude about the center will be
reflected in your child. If you have any insecurity about your child care decision it will be sensed quickly by
your child no matter their age. If there are some separation problems your child‟s teachers are there to help.
In most cases a quick drop-off ritual is best. When you linger it can confuse your child. Separation anxiety is
a normal phase of development. If you are having separation anxiety do not show it to your child, it only
makes it harder on both of you.
                                            ITEMS YOU SHOULD BRING
We encourage children at the program to involve themselves in active play and to explore a variety of media.
Accordingly, we ask parents to send their children in clothing other than their best. Clothing should also be
selected with an eye to safety during active play, and ease of dressing.
Children should have spare clothes at the Center in the event of an accident. For children who are learning
toileting skills, or still in diapers, it is recommended that a number of sets of clothes be on hand. (Please note

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that soiled clothes will be sent home in plastic bags, unwashed. We are prohibited by the Bureau of Health‟s
standards to wash/rinse soiled clothing on the premises.)
Since all children go outdoors every day except when it is raining hard, unbearably cold, or air quality is poor,
please make sure your child is dressed for the weather. Marking all items of clothing is very helpful.
        Drawstrings create a choking hazard, especially long strings in sweatshirt hoods. They should be
        For safety reasons, it is recommended that no backless, toeless, or sling type shoes be worn on the
         playground or on field trips. Summer sandals that have straps around the heel, rather than flapping
         with each step, are safer and less likely to cause tripping.
        Children who are learning or who have just learned to use the toilet will be most successful when
         pants are easy to take down. Elastic waist pants are great for this age group. Overalls can be
         frustrating and take extra time, causing children to have accidents.
        In the winter children need a warm jacket and snow pants, or a warm snowsuit. They will need
         warm boots, a hat or hood, and mittens. Boots that come up under the snow pants legs help keep
         socks dry. (But children should have an extra pair of socks on hand.)
        Slippers are a good idea for the winter time.
        Sunscreen should be labeled with your child‟s name and brought to the center when warm weather
         begins. The sunscreen must have an SPR of 15 or higher.
        When health authorities recommend the use of insect repellents due to a high risk of insect-borne
         disease, only repellant containing DEET are used, and these are applied only on children older than
         two months. Staff apply insect repellant no more than once a day and only with written permission
         and supply. Please label DEET containing repellent with your child‟s name.
Diapered and Toilet Training Children
These children will need a supply of disposable diapers, wet wipes, and other diapering products brought to
the center. Communication should occur between the parents and staff when supplies are low. Only
commercially available diapers or pull-ups are allowed unless a child has a medical reason, documented by
their health provider, that does not permit their use. The National Association for the Education of Young
Children (NAEYC), our accrediting body, has determined that research data show that the additional handling
involved with the use of cloth diapers in child care increases the risk of environmental contamination and
consequent spread of infection. We apologize if this is in conflict with your personal choice and hope you
understand that we are required to follow the criteria to be accredited as a Quality center.
If a child has a note from a medical doctor requiring that they wear a cloth diaper then the diaper must have an
absorbent inner lining completely contained within an outer covering made of waterproof material that
prevents the escape of feces and urine. Both the diaper and the outer covering will be changed as a unit and
immediately placed in a plastic bag, without rinsing, and sent home the same day for laundering.
Infant Food
Family Focus will provide one brand of formula. If families do not wish to use the brand we offer, they must
provide formula for their infant. Bottles must be prepared in advance when your child is brought in. Please
label them with your child‟s name and the date. If you wish to bring in a specific solid food it must be in the
original unopened containers. If you wish to bring in a specific cereal it may be brought in the box and we
will mix it according to your directions.
Food From Home
Family Focus receives funding from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) which requires that all
food served in or brought into the Center meet USDA nutritional guidelines. We know you enjoy the
occasional morning treat for your child of a doughnut or other sweet, please have your child finish this treat
before entering the center.
Special Things From Home For Children in Center Care
Young children often like to have a special blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal from home. We would also
appreciate it if you could bring in some pictures of you, you and your child, any pets, family members or
friends that we might hang up in a special place for your child.

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                              OTHER: SMOKING, FIREARMS, PARKING
Please do not smoke on Family Focus property, we want to teach children healthy habits. Please do not bring
firearms onto Family Focus property, we want everyone to be safe. Please do not park in handicap spaces,
they are needed by our clients with disabilities.

                                 TRANSPORTATION & MORNING DROP OFF
Families are expected to provide transportation to and from the center and to escort children into the building.
Parents are responsible for signing their child in/out each day and making sure the teacher(s) sees that the child
has entered the classroom.
Please have your child wash their hands when they arrive at the center. This is an NAEYC accreditation
standard met to teach children good hygiene habits.
When dropping off your infant, please remove your shoes or place booties over your shoes before entering the
room. Infants crawl everywhere and put things in their mouths. We would like to ensure their space is as
clean as possible.
Children should arrive by 10:00 a.m. Please do not bring your child during nap time, if they must come in late.
Please do not allow your child to run through the center. We say to the children “use your walking feet
inside.” Please do not allow your child to run out of the building without you. The parking lot is not a safe
place for unescorted children.
Please apply suntan lotion to your child prior to dropping them off, when the weather requires it. The children
enjoying spending time outside in the good weather. We will reapply lotion as necessary.

                                              EVENING PICK UP
Children must be picked up by a parent or preauthorized person. Family Focus requires that preauthorized
people be at least 13. Please do not allow siblings or other family members under the age of 13 to pick up
your child. Authorization for someone other than the persons listed on your enrollment form to pick up your
child must be in writing to the program manager and arranged in advance. Identification (driver‟s license,
state ID, or work ID with photo) will be required for anyone, other than parents/guardians, picking up children,
if not recognized by the staff.
If you or a preauthorized person arrives to pick up your child and appear to be under the influence of drugs or
alcohol, we will call another emergency contact person designated to pick up your child.
A long day at child care can be hard on some children. If you are going to be later than normal please call and
let us know so we can reassure your child that you are fine, just running late. Prepare for a pleasant evening at
home by insuring that your child is picked up on time. Anytime your child is picked up late there is a $5.00
late pick-up fee. The fee goes up $5.00 every fifteen minutes you are late.
Please be considerate of your teachers‟ time. Some of our staff have evening classes to get to, family
commitments, some even have second jobs. When you arrive right at closing you may cause them to be late
for their next event. If you want to meet with a teacher please arrive early or ask for a mutually convenient
Please be sure to check your child‟s cubby or file for their belongings. Soiled clothing needs to go home each

                                                REST PERIODS
Infants are on individual schedules and are placed in their cribs to nap as necessary. To reduce the risk of
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) infants, unless otherwise ordered by their physician, will be placed on
their backs to sleep. Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys, or other soft items will not be placed

CB Family Handbook Updated October 2010                                                                         15
in cribs of infants younger than 8 months. If a blanket is used, it will not cover an infants face and will be
tucked around the crib mattress not coming higher than the infant‟s chest.
Infants will be checked while sleeping by staff standing next to their cribs and looking in at them at least three
times each hour they are sleeping (Brunswick) or every five minutes (Bath).

Toddlers and preschoolers will receive a rest period after eating lunch. They will be encouraged to sleep on
their individual cots, mats, or in the case of toddlers less than 18 months, port-a-cribs. If a child is not asleep
after 30 minutes they will be provided with quiet activities at their cot or at tables while others sleep.
If you must pick your child up during nap time, please let your child‟s teacher know so they can arrange for
your child to rest close to an exit.

Infants and Toddlers
Research shows that infants and toddlers develop best when they remain with the same caregiver for at least
nine months. We have set our age groups up to encourage this by having children remain in the infant room
until they are 15 months old and in the toddler room from 15 months until they are 36 months old.
Teacher Changes
Family Focus values their teachers and wants them to stay with us for their entire career. Unfortunately, this
can‟t always happen. Whenever possible we will notify you as soon as we know that a teacher has decided to
leave. We will tell you what we are able or what they are willing to share and request that you respect their
right to privacy if they choose to keep their reasons to themselves.
When a teacher leaves, we will try to hire a new teacher as quickly as possible, though we balance this with
choosing the best possible candidate to prevent another turn over. If possible the new hire will work with the
teacher who is leaving so that the children can get to know the new teacher and see that the teacher who is
leaving is comfortable with the new teacher. We will introduce the new teacher to you and hope you will feel
comfortable welcoming them and getting to know them.
Classroom Changes
We want them to stay little forever, but they just keep growing up. When your child is old enough to move up
to the next age group we will talk to you and together we will create a transition plan. Typically your child
will start by visiting the new classroom for short periods of time each day gradually staying for longer periods
of time until they fully transition. This usually takes about two weeks, but some children transition faster or
slower, they let us know they are ready when they no longer want to leave the new room.
                                          CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT

Family Focus has implemented the Early Learning Guidelines for Preschool and the Infant and Toddler
Guidelines as designed by the State of Maine. We do this by using the Creative Curriculum and Tools of the
Mind, both are research based curriculum.
Infants and Toddlers
The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers & Twos translates research and theory about child development
and learning into practical strategies that support high-quality care for children under age 3. It explains all
aspects of a developmentally appropriate program and leads teachers through the processes of planning and
implementing every aspect of caring for and teaching infants, toddlers, and twos.
Development typically unfolds in progressive steps. Children don't master a particular skill all at once. There is
a sequence of steps to expect as children progress toward reaching developmental objectives. Having a way to
determine each child's developmental level enables you to decide what kinds of experiences will support his or

CB Family Handbook Updated October 2010                                                                           16
her progress. The Developmental Continuum for Infants, Toddlers & Twos describes the progression of typical
development. It includes 21 objectives organized by goals in four areas of development: social/emotional,
physical, cognitive, and language.
Purposeful observation is part of our everyday practice. The Developmental Continuum is the core of the
Assessment System and helps us to evaluate each child's developmental level, to map each child's progress,
and to plan learning experiences based on individual strengths and needs. The assessment portion of The
Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers & Twos is essential to building responsive relationships and to
offering care and experiences that promote each child's development and learning.
This system
     uses the same goals and objectives as The Creative Curriculum for Preschool
     helps teachers observe children intentionally; use what they learn to be respond to children's interests,
        strengths, and needs; and share information with families
     enables teachers to identify children's levels of development in relation to 21 objectives in 4 goal areas
        (found in your enrollment packet)
     links curriculum and assessment to allow teachers to plan appropriate experiences for infants, toddlers,
        and twos while retaining the flexibility to respond to the changing needs and abilities of young
     helps teachers follow the development of children with disabilities and include them in the program
     includes tools that help teachers individualize care for infants, toddlers, and twos

The Creative Curriculum for Preschool is a comprehensive, scientifically-based early childhood curriculum
that has been shown to improve cognitive and social/emotional outcomes in young children. The Creative
Curriculum for Preschool addresses content very specifically. It gives us a framework to content in ways that
respect the developmental stages of preschool children, defines the body of knowledge included in each
content area, and the process skills children use to learn that content.
Literacy: vocabulary and language, phonological awareness, letters, words, print, comprehension, books, and
other texts
Mathematics: numbers, patterns and relationships, geometry and spatial awareness, measurement, and data
collection, organization, and representation
Science: the physical properties of objects, living things, and the earth and the environment
Social Studies: how people live, work, get along with others, shape, and are shaped by their surroundings
The Arts: dance, music, dramatic play, drawing and painting
Technology: tools and their basic operations and uses
Process Skills: observing and exploring; problem solving; and connecting, organizing, communicating, and
representing information.

With an understanding of content and how children learn it, we can expand the opportunities offered to
children to acquire knowledge and understand concepts. We make a direct link between the preschool
curriculum and what children will learn in elementary school. We teach the content of the curriculum with
children's developmental stages in mind, ensuring children are more likely to be successful learners who feel
excited about and challenged by what they are learning.

The Tools of the Mind curriculum for preschool age children is a comprehensive curriculum that presents
content in an integrated, developmental way so that instruction forms a coherent whole. Instructional
strategies used in Tools are a combination of child-initiated activities, teacher scaffolding and explicit
instruction, individualization through multiple levels of scaffolding and on-going use of assessment data to
tailor interactions to meet individual needs. Progress is monitored daily, weekly, and monthly.

CB Family Handbook Updated October 2010                                                                        17
Self-regulation is a primary result of the use of this curriculum helping children prepare to be successful in
kindergarten. Current research shows that self-regulation (both cognitive and social-emotional) has a stronger
association with school readiness than IQ or entry-level reading or math skills. Good self-regulation includes
the ability to stay on task, ignore distractions, and hold two strategies in mind at the same time, as well as the
development of self discipline and the motivation to succeed. Aspects of self-regulation such as ability to pay
attention, remember on purpose, plan one‟s actions, reflect on one‟s thinking, and cooperate and act
empathetically toward peers, heavily influence a child‟s future success in school.

The central focus of Tools of the Mind is the development of both cognitive and social-emotional self-
regulation at the same time that academic skills are taught. In the Tools classroom:
     Practice in self-regulated learning is embedded into all activities.
     Teachers use strategies to help children improve the quality of their dramatic make-believe play so it
        fosters self-regulation development.
     Research-based literacy and math activities are modified to include self-regulatory components.
     Specific instructional activities are designed to teach self-regulation and reflective thinking.
     Classroom management techniques maximize time-productive interactions and task involvement.

Mature intentional make-believe play is the foundation of self-regulation development. It creates conditions in
which young children are able to act in a more mature way and use mature mental functions. Children
remember more, attend better and have better self-regulation. This kind of play is the only classroom
experience that naturally provides three types of interactions which lead to self-regulation: regulation by
others, regulation of others, and self-regulation. Without deliberate scaffolding by teachers providing on going
opportunities to engage in mature play, many young children will not develop it on their own. In Tools of the
Mind, there is explicit design of literacy, mathematics, and science activities so that they further promote the
self-regulation developed in play. Mature intentional play has the following characteristics:
      Supports expressing and representing intention through play planning.
      Has explicit roles and implicit rules.
      Uses symbolic props.
      Has an extended time frame.
      Includes extensive use of language.
      Involves imaginary pretend scenario.

Children are assessed daily through review of their play plans, observation, and through the use of assessment
tools that review a child‟s level of ability in activities.

Examples of activities in the Tools of the Mind classroom:

Graphics Practice
In Graphics Practice, children develop the fine motor and self-regulation skills needed for writing. They draw
on white boards with markers, stopping and starting in response to musical cues. Children use private speech
to help them remember how and what to write, learning to inhibit while also remembering the shape they‟re
representing in writing.

Buddy Reading
In Buddy Reading, pairs of children “read” books to each other, using external mediator cards to remind them
of their roles as they take turns reading and listening. Buddy Reading is one Tools of the Mind’s cooperative
partner activities. These activities are designed to foster self-regulation development and positive child-child
interaction while also fostering the development of emergent literacy or numeracy skills.

Play Planning
Children describe what they are going to do when they play and then represent their plan on paper in drawing
and writing. Children work at their own level, adding detail to their drawn plans, using lines to represent

CB Family Handbook Updated October 2010                                                                         18
words in their written message, and using the Tools of the Mind Sound Map to write letters representing the
sounds in their words.

Making Collections
In Making Collections, children work in a cooperative partnered mathematics activity taking turns counting
and „checking‟ using one-to-one correspondence. Children use Vygotskian tatics such as private speech,
external mediators and other-regulation.

BOTH the Creative Curriculum for Preschool and Tools of the Mind are measurable on the Creative
Curriculum Developmental Continuum.
We assess every preschool child to determine if they are developing and learning as expected in all four areas
of development: social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language. The Creative Curriculum®
Developmental Continuum for Ages 3-5 is designed to help us find out by making purposeful observation part
of our everyday practice. The Developmental Continuum is the core of the Assessment System and helps us to
evaluate each child's developmental level, to map each child's progress, and to plan learning experiences based
on individual strengths and needs.
Development typically unfolds in progressive steps. Children don't master a particular skill all at once. There is
a sequence of steps to expect as children progress toward reaching developmental objectives. Having a way to
determine each child's developmental level enables us to decide what kinds of experiences will support his or
her progress. The Developmental Continuum (found in your enrollment packet) describes the progression of
typical development. It includes the same 50 objectives as the curriculum organized by goals in four areas of
development: social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language. Each objective is outlined as developmental
steps labeled Step I, Step II, and Step III. These steps, along with their examples, describe the typical
development of most 3- to 5-year-old children. However, there may be children who, in one or more areas of
development, are not yet in the typical range. A special category called forerunners describes the emerging
skills and behaviors leading to Step 1 of typical development.

For those who need additional steps, the continuum forerunner level is divided into three steps called
expanded forerunners. Forerunner 1, Forerunner 2, and Forerunner 3 describe the progression of skills and
behaviors within the forerunner level. These expanded forerunner steps are particularly helpful in describing
the development of a young child just entering preschool or an older child with disabilities.
If we feel a child will benefit from services from outside agencies, such as speech therapy,
developmental therapy, mental health services for behavior management, etc., we will discuss this
with the family privately and with their approval we will make a referral to the services we feel will
benefit the child. We will also assist families in searching for services if they feel are needed.

CB Family Handbook Updated October 2010                                                                         19
The Assessment Cycle
In addition to daily observations, children are formally evaluated four times a year using the Creative
Curriculum Developmental Continuum for their age group.
1) Collecting Facts
The first step in assessing children to support learning is to collect facts. The most effective way to do this is
through ongoing observation and documentation. During this phase we write observation notes related to what
children do and say during their everyday experiences and collect samples of children's work, such as writing
and art samples, photos, audio or video clips, etc.
2) Analyzing and Evaluating Facts
The next step is to analyze the collected facts by asking, How do these facts relate to the goals and objectives
of the curriculum?
Then we evaluate the facts by asking, How does this child's progress compare to most children their age?
Using our observation notes and documentation, we think about all 21 or 50 objectives and consider which
developmental step best describes the child's level of development in relation to each objective.
3) Planning for Each Child and the Group
The next question we consider is, Now that I have this information, how can I use it to plan? This is the
primary goal of our ongoing assessment: to build on children's strengths and to offer them challenging, yet
achievable, experiences to guide their learning.
4) Reporting Children's Progress
At least two times a year we will offer you an opportunity to sit with us in a formal conference to review your
child‟s progress. We strongly encourage you to meet with your child‟s teacher. We will provide you with a
report, but a conversation will better explain the information and support our goal of working as a team with a
child‟s family to meet a child‟s needs.
In addition to families and teachers, administrators and funders ask for documentation of what outcomes the
program achieves for children. We provide these people with facts that do not include any identifying
information about your child.

Uses of Assessment
    To inform families about their child‟s developmental progress and learning and to work as a team to
        plan future learning
    To ensure communication with families on a regular, intentionally planned schedule as well as the
        daily contact
    To identify children‟s interests and needs
    To arrange for developmental screening and referral for diagnostic assessment if indicated
    To improve curriculum and adapt teaching practices and the environment
    To plan for program improvements

                                          PROGRAM ASSESSMENT
At least annually we survey the families in our programs. This information is used to ensure we are meeting
the needs of the children and families we serve to the best of our ability. Unfortunately we are not able to
always meet every individual need but we use the information to find those needs of the majority and
determine if changes can be made. The information gathered is shared with the Child Care Advisory Board,
the Family Focus Board of Directors, the staff, and families to set goals for the next year. We would
encourage you to attend any gathering that reviews these findings and offer your input.
In addition, the information is used by NAEYC as one of their factors in determining if we are eligible for
accreditation, making us eligible for a quality certificate from the State of Maine and allowing you a larger
child care tax credit.
When filling out the survey, if you come across a question you do not know the answer to, please ask, it lets us
know we need to do more to ensure you know everything about us.

CB Family Handbook Updated October 2010                                                                         20
                                          HEALTH, SAFETY AND FIRST AID
The Maine Bureau of Health and the Department of Human Services prohibit children from attending the
program during contagious illness. It is also our belief that children need quiet, individualized attention of a
special adult when they are ill. Children will be observed daily upon arrival for illness symptoms and will not
be admitted if they might infect others. In general, children should NOT attend our program when:
          Symptom                                      Keep Child Home Until
FEVER                                 Fever registers below 100 degrees without the use of fever reducers
                                      such as Tylenol and the child is acting well
RUNNY NOSE                            Thick yellow or green discharge clears up
EARACHE                               A Physician examines ears and recommends returning to the center *
RASH/DRAINING SORES                   A Physician examines and recommends returning to the center *
CHICKEN POX                           All sores crusted over and the child is fever free
UNUSUALLY PALE OR                     Until color returns to normal or a Physician has determined the cause
FLUSHED SKIN                          and recommends returning to the center *
RED OR WATERY EYES                    Until symptoms are gone or a Physician examines and recommends
                                      returning to the center *
UPSET STOMACH,                        Child is eating normally without upset. Child should be symptom
DIARRHEA, AND/OR                      free for 24 hours before returning to school
HEAD LICE                             Program Manager or Teacher examines head and determines your child is free
                                      of nits

* A note from the Physician may be required in order for the child to return to the center

If a child becomes ill while at the center, the parent will be contacted immediately and the child will be kept as
comfortable as possible. If a parent cannot be reached an emergency contact listed on the child‟s emergency
medical form will be called. If emergency treatment is needed a staff member will call an ambulance or
transport the child to a hospital emergency room.
If at times this causes some inconvenience to either a staff member or families, we ask your tolerance in our
efforts to protect ALL the children and maintain a safe environment for them.

 Please notify the center if your child will be kept home due to illness
 A signed physician‟s release is required before a child can return to the center after experiencing any
  communicable disease such as, but not limited to, impetigo, scabies, pink eye, ringworm, and trench
 If a child is diagnosed with a communicable disease, a posting will be placed on the door of your child‟s
  classroom listing the symptoms so you can be on the lookout for illness in your child. . For certain
  illnesses such as Pertussis (Whooping Cough) we notify the Center for Disease Control and inform you of
  their advice.

Medication: There are only two types of medications, which may be legally given by a child care staff
 Those specifically ordered by a physician for the individual child in a prescription container, and
 Those over-the-counter medications, such as diaper cream, for which you have a written order from a
   physician for the individual child.

CB Family Handbook Updated October 2010                                                                         21
Families should fill out a medication permission slip and give the medication to staff for safe storage.
Pharmacies will give you an extra labeled container, so that you can have one for home and one for the center,
if you ask.
Please do not ask us to administer non-prescription drugs without a written order form your Physician.
The most common types of medications we are asked to administer are decongestants, cough medicines and
medicated diaper creams/ointments. Please ask your physician to prescribe a prescription form of these and
other medications to be used at the center, or give you a written order stating how often, and how much of the
non-prescription medicine your child is to be given.
All children at the center must have up to date immunizations, or religious objections written, or a note from a
medical professional explaining why they aren‟t immunized, recorded in their files. Please notify us when
your child receives additional immunizations. If a child does not have up to date immunizations or the
appropriate written reason why not we are required by the State to deny your child entry into the program until
this is remedied.
If your child is not immunized for a vaccine-preventable disease and the disease occurs in the center we will
request that your child not attend the program until it is safe for them to do so. We will contact our medical
professional or the Center for Disease Control to determine when this will be.
The following chart of standards is provided by the Department of Health and Human Services Center for
Disease Control for children Aged 0 – 6 years (Updated January 2010)

                                                1     2      4      6      12     15     18    19-23  2-3               4-6
Vaccine Age                         Birth month months months months months months months months years             years
Hepatitis B1                            HepB     HepB                        HepB                          HepB Series
Rotavirus                                          RV     RV     RV2
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP)              DTaP   DTaP   DTaP                   DTaP                         DTaP
Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)                 Hib    Hib    Hib          Hib                          Hib
Pneumococcal (PCV)                                 PCV    PCV    PCV          PCV                                  PPSV
Inactivated Polio                                  IPV    IPV                 IPV                                    IPV
Influenza                                                                             Influenza (yearly)
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)                                                MMR                                     MMR
Varicella (chicken pox)                                                     Varicella                                Varicella
Hepatitis A                                                                         HepA (2 doses)               HepA Series
Meningococcal                                                                                                       MCV

Range of Recommend Ages
Catch-up Immunization
Certain High-risk Groups

More information regarding vaccine administration can be obtained at or by
calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). You can keep track of your child‟s immunizations with the CDC
Childhood Immunization Scheduler at

Allergies: Please make sure that staff is informed about all allergies or medical restrictions your child may
have. Your physician‟s written instructions concerning your child‟s allergies must be on file at the center.

Injuries: Staff members are trained in first aid and will administer minor treatment (Band-Aids, removing
splinters) as needed. Families will be notified of any injury and a written incident report will be placed in your
child‟s folder.

CB Family Handbook Updated October 2010                                                                                22
                                            INCIDENT REPORTS
Incident reports will be provided to families when a child is injured or an unacceptable behavior occurs that a
parent should be made aware of. If you child is involved in an incident with another child, the other child‟s
name will not be shown on your report due to confidentiality requirements.

                                CONFIDENTIALITY/MANDATED REPORTING

Confidentiality: Family Focus maintains strict confidentiality of client information. A file is established and
maintained on every child enrolled in a Family Focus program. No information will be released from the
agency without the knowledge and written consent from the parent/legal guardian. We ask all parents to sign a
general release of information form so that people within Family Focus may speak with each other in order to
best meet the needs of the families and children enrolled in our programs. The Department of Health and
Human Services will audit children‟s files if a child is receiving a subsidy. They will only review the financial
portion of a child‟s file to ensure we collected information correctly. The National Association for the
Education of Young Children (NAEYC) will review children‟s files when they conduct a validation visit to
ensure we are maintaining files in a manner that reflects the criteria required. Validators have signed a
confidentiality agreement and will not record or share information about your child. If you do not wish
NAEYC to review your child‟s file, please provide your program manager a request in writing that they do
not. The parent/legal guardian may review the records at any time. Records are kept in locked files.

If your child has an allergy or medical condition that all who care for your child, including substitutes, should
be aware of we like to post this information in an obvious place. We will share with you what we would like
to post and ask for your written permission to do. No information will be publicly posted without your

Should your child require screening or services from outside agencies, we will request families sign a written
release for the screening to occur and for the pertinent information on your child to be shared between the
screener, any therapists or outside specialists and necessary Family Focus staff. We will ensure that you are
invited to any meeting that occurs to share information about your child.

Mandated Reporting: All Family Focus employees are legally considered to be Mandated Reporters. As
such, we are required to refer to the Department of Health and Human Services any suspicions we have of
abuse and/or neglect of a child. We will do this in a manner, which attempts to support and respect the clients
we serve. However, there are times during which we must proceed as the Department of Health and Human
Services instructs us.

Meals and snacks are prepared on site and provided for children in the program according to Federal USDA
Child and Adult Care Food Program guidelines and requirements. The main goals of our food program are to
provide meals and snacks that are well balanced and nutritious, while being low in sugar, salt and fats. We try
to provide a variety of textures, flavors, forms and consistencies while remembering that children have certain
preferences. Infants are served table foods, which are prepared to an appropriate texture. Older children are
provided with food, which is presented to them in a family-style setting in order to foster independence and
encourage the children to take only what, s/he feels able to eat. This also creates a sense of sharing with peers.
Please let us know of any food allergies your child may have. Staff may request a doctor‟s note for their
records if necessary.

If your religion or family values require special diets or menu changes, please notify the Program Manager.
Menus are posted so that families will know what their children have been served on any given day.
Your child will receive meals and /or supplements in accordance with the requirements of the USDA Child
Care Food Program and Family Focus, the sponsoring agency. There is no discrimination in the course of

CB Family Handbook Updated October 2010                                                                        23
meal service and all children in our care will be served meals/snacks at no separate charge, without regard to
race, color, national origin, sex, age, or handicap.


Family Focus supports breastfeeding. Our staff are trained on the safe handling of your child‟s breast milk.
We ask mothers to follow these steps at home:
   o Pump breast milk into either a bottle or special breast milk collection bag. Fill the container with the
       amount of breast milk the baby usually drinks at one feeding.
   o Label the container with:
           o Baby‟s name
           o Date and time that the breast milk was pumped
   o Store the breast milk in the refrigerator or freezer right after it is pumped.
   o Bring containers of fresh or frozen breast milk to the center in a cooler with an ice pack to keep it cold.

Staff will:
    o Provide a comfortable place for you to breastfeed when you can be present for feedings.
    o Never thaw breast milk on the stove or in a microwave. It will be thawed in warm water until it
        reaches room temperature or in the refrigerator.
    o Never keep fresh breast milk more than 48 hours or thawed breast milk more than 24 hours in the
        refrigerator, or frozen breast milk more than 3 months.
    o Never refreeze thawed breast milk.
    o Gently swirl thawed breast milk to mix layers back together.
    o Discard “leftovers” after feeding your infant.
    o Send empty bottles home each day for cleaning.

To ensure best practice when bottle feeding your child:
     Infants will be held when bottle-fed.
     Infants will not be allowed to self-feed.
     Infants will not be placed in cribs with bottles.
     Bottle feedings cannot contain solid food unless your child‟s healthcare provider supplies written
       instructions and a medical reason for this practice.
     Solid foods and fruit juices will not be offered to infants younger than six months, unless your child‟s
       health care provider recommends it in writing and you agree.
     Sweetened beverages are not served.
     When your child is old enough for juice it will be 100% fruit juice and the amount will be limited to
       no more than four ounces daily.
     Cow‟s milk will not be fed to infants younger than twelve months.
     Only whole milk will be served to children between twelve and twenty-four months.
     You will decide with the staff when your child is developmentally ready to use a cup.


Visiting Animals

In order for pets to visit the center they must be in good health with veterinarian records for proof of
immunization. Animals will not be allowed to visit the center without prior approval of families to ensure we
are aware of any allergies, fears, or other objections. If we have a child who should not be exposed to a
visiting animal we will ensure they are not.

CB Family Handbook Updated October 2010                                                                      24
Classroom Pets

Classroom pets add a wonderful dimension to children‟s learning. Children learn responsibility for the care of
another creature and they are able to observe the animal and study it encouraging science, math, and language
learning. Classroom pets will be in good health. Teaching staff will supervise all interactions between
children and animals and instruct children on safe behavior when in close proximity to animals. We will
ensure children allergic to the classroom pet are not exposed to the animal. Reptiles are not allowed as
classroom pets because of the risk of salmonella infection.

                                          TRANSPORTATION OF CHILDREN

         1.        Field trips should be those that can be reached on foot.
         2.        A cell phone will be taken on all field trips to allow for emergency communication if needed.
         3.        A first aid kit will be taken on all field trips.
         4.       Employees shall not be required to drive children in their own private vehicles.
         5.        Any person authorized by Family Focus to transport children shall be properly licensed to
                   operate that class of vehicle. All drivers who transport children as part of their regular duties
                   shall complete the DHHS approved children‟s transportation training.
         6.        All children and adults being transported on Family Focus business must follow the
                   requirements of motor vehicle laws or what follows, whichever is more restrictive. All
                   persons must be wearing seatbelts when in a moving vehicle. Children will not be placed so
                   that more then one child is secured by a single seatbelt at the same time. Please refer to most
                   recent Motor Vehicle laws regarding how children of various ages should be transported in
                   All cars used shall have a valid inspection, insurance, and registration, and all drivers shall
                   have a valid Maine license. Minimally the adult/child ratio in each vehicle will match that
                   maintained in the program setting. Stricter ratios shall me maintained when specified by the
                   Program Manager due to the needs of the child (ren) in transport. No children or adults will
                   be permitted to eat/drink while in transit. In no circumstances shall a child in a vehicle be left
                   unattended. These policies shall be followed in any situation of transportation of program
                   children-be it in the vehicle of an employee, volunteer, agency, Coastal Transportation, etc.
                   Family Focus shall have a Maine Motor Vehicle Record Investigation performed annually on
                   any individual who transports children on behalf of this agency. Family Focus further
                   reserves the right to deny any individual permission to transport children for the agency
                   pending, or in response to, the above-mentioned investigation.

         7.        Volunteers should be used to transport children only when necessary, and only with prior
                   approval of the Executive Director. Volunteers shall follow the general transportation policies
                   stated above. No volunteer shall be used who is not a familiar person to the agency.
                   Volunteers shall be made aware of the fact that in the event of an accident, Family Focus is
                   protected by our insurance policy, but the individual driving, and the vehicle used, does not
                   fall under our agency‟s policy coverage. Employees who are not asked by Family Focus to
                   transport a child, but are requested to do so by the child‟s family as a friend, are not
                   considered to be volunteer drivers. (It is up to the family to assure itself of the safety of this
                   driver and care, and theses rides are covered only by the driver‟s insurance).

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When it is necessary for you to remove your child (ren) from our program, we require that a two-week notice
be given, in writing, to the agency.
We reserve the right to terminate a child‟s participation in the program if:
1. The child is deemed by the Program Manager, in collaboration with the Executive Director, to be
   chronically disruptive to the functioning of the program despite reasonable efforts on the part of the staff
   and family to remedy the problem. The staff will confer with the family and give notification of
   termination at least 5 working days prior to termination.
2. A child is regularly picked up after the closing of the program.
3. Fees are not paid and arrangements for a fee reduction or postponement of fee payment have not been
   made with the agency. Families will receive a monthly statement for the fees paid. Should an account
   have a balance due equivalent to 2 week‟s fees, Family Focus shall contact the family in order to address
   the issue. Regular payment of the weekly fee shall be made, and a small amount over and above this fee
   shall be included in order to pay off the balance due. If parents request, they may complete an application
   for fee reduction, but approval of this request is not guaranteed.
    Should an account become more than two weeks in arrears, a decision to terminate service may be made.
    Family Focus reserves the right to forbid the return of the child to the program effective the following
    Monday. When other arrangements are made and upheld between the family and Family Focus, this
    termination will not proceed.
Persons who feel unfairly treated (in this matter as well as in any other matter) may initiate an appeals process
as described in this handbook.
                                          NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
Neither Family Focus nor the child care and school age programs discriminate on the basis of race, color,
national, or ethnic origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious or spiritual beliefs, marital status, family
configuration, handicap or political affiliation in providing child care and other services or in the supervision
and hiring of staff.

                                          GRIEVANCE/APPEAL PROCESS
Any Family Focus client who feels that s/he has been unsatisfactorily or unjustly treated may present his/her
grievance or appeal in the following manner:
The client must first present his/her grievance to the Family Focus employee with whom s/he has an issue. All
attempts shall be made to resolve the issue within 5 working days of the event, with the plan developed within
an additional 5 working days.
In the event that the grievance cannot be resolved, the client and the staff member shall present to the
Executive Director, in writing, the nature of the issue(s), the attempts made to resolve the problem(s), and a
proposed solution. The Director shall then act upon this information within the next 15 working days, or shall
delegate this responsibility to another within the agency.
Each client shall have the right to an informal hearing before members of the Board of Directors when the
above steps do not adequately address the client‟s concerns. If and when such a matter comes before the
Board, all parties involved with the grievances shall be present. The Board will have the right to ask questions
of all parties and examine all evidence made available. The matter shall be settled expeditiously and the
judgment of the Board shall be final.

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                                          FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I speak a language at home with my child other than English. Should I make my child’s teacher aware
of this?
YES! Please do. We want your child to feel welcome here. We celebrate the differences that all people have.
If you would be willing to share with us we would love to have some basic words in your home language that
we could use in your child‟s classroom. We label items in the classroom to promote language development
and literacy. We would like to label items in English and other languages that the children speak. We would
also encourage you to be an honored guest in the classroom, sharing a story or songs in your home language,
or a tradition that you do at home. This helps your child to feel special and welcomed.
The teacher asks about things that are important to our family. Why?
We want your child to feel welcome here. It is important for children to have a connection between home and
the center. We like to bring pieces of your family into the center. We use this information to help children
grow and learn about each other. This helps them to be accepting of others and prepares them for the many
different people they will meet when they enter school.
Am I welcome in the classroom during the day?
YES! Family Focus has an open-door policy. We welcome families in the program at all times. We would
encourage you to join any activity that interests you.
Are there ways I can be involved in the program in addition to helping in the classroom?
YES! Your program has a Child Care Advisory Board that is made up of families and staff. Please speak with
the Program Manager to learn when meetings are held. The Board has leadership positions such as the chair,
secretary, etc. which we encourage people to take a turn at. The Advisory Board provides input to the program
on its annual program evaluation and daily activities, helps with fundraising events, and helps to plan special
events such as open houses and potluck dinners for the program. Even if you do not want to hold a Board
position, all are welcome and encouraged to attend. Your voice is important.
What is the Annual Program Evaluation?
Each year we conduct a survey to see if families are happy with the services we provide and to determine if we
are meeting our mission of providing safe, accessible, affordable child care.
What happens with the information you receive from the Program Evaluation?
When we have totaled the results we share the information with the Family Focus Board of Directors, The
Child Care Advisory Board, the staff and families. This information is then used to set goals for the upcoming
year. We encourage all families to attend the Child Care Advisory Board to provide input
A summary of the Program Evaluation is provided to all families.
When I disagree with how a teacher works with my child, should I discuss this with the teacher? I
worry that they will resent me after all they are the experts.
While Family Focus is proud of our teaching staff and recognize the many years they have spent in the field
and in being educated in Early Childhood Education, we recognize the families as the experts on their
children. If you feel a teacher is not working with your child in a way that best meets their needs, or conflicts
with your personal beliefs, please arrange to meet with the teacher when they can step out of the classroom and
give you their full attention. We respect your knowledge about your child and want to work with you as a
partner in providing the best possible experience for your child. We will not resent you we welcome your
input. If you feel you are unable to work directly with your child‟s teacher please speak to the Program
Manager, they can help with the process.

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How do you keep my child’s information confidential?
Family Focus keeps information about your child in locked cabinets. Information is never shared outside the
agency without your written permission to do so. We do have you sign a general release that allows Family
Focus staff to discuss your child as needed. If your child‟s information needs to be shared with another
agencies that your child may need services from, we will have you sign a release before sharing the
The Department of Health and Human Services will audit the financial portion of the files of children
receiving a subsidy files to ensure we are keeping accurate financial records.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) will review children‟s files when
they visit to complete our validation visit. This is done to assure we are meeting necessary criteria as required
by accreditation. They have signed confidentiality agreements and will not record or share any information
about your child. If you do not wish for them to review your child‟s record please state this in writing.
Does my child receive a report card?
Your child will not receive a report card. They will be assessed using the Creative Curriculum Developmental
Continuum appropriate to their age. This assessment is done by observing your child daily and making notes
on the observations. We also save pieces of their work in a child‟s portfolio. These observations and
portfolios, as well as any information you provide us about your child‟s activities at home, are used to review
where your child is on the continuum. Formal conferences are offered at least two times a year to share your
child‟s progress.
What happens with this report?
We will offer you a formal conference time to sit down with your child‟s teacher to review your child‟s
developmental progress. We will provide you with the report and discuss what it means. Together we will
then create a plan or set goals for your child.
If my child needs services, do you provide me with that information?
If we feel your child will benefit from services from outside agencies, such as speech therapy, developmental
therapy, mental health services for behavior management, etc., we will discuss this with you privately and with
your approval we will make a referral to the services we feel will benefit you and your child. We will also
assist you with searching for services if you feel they are needed. We are knowledgeable about the services in
our community and are happy to assist you.
What are some outside agencies that provide services?
Child Development Search (CDS) – provides developmental screenings, speech therapy, occupational therapy,
developmental therapy, and physical therapy for children 0-5 years of ages.
Center for Community Inclusion and Disabilities Studies (CCIDS) – provides equipment, training, and support
to programs so that they are able to be inclusive of children with special needs or challenging behaviors.
Sweetser – Provides mental health services for all ages.
Family Focus Parent Program – Provides home visiting, or program visits, to families that need assistance with
parenting issues.
United Way – Provides funds to local agencies like Family Focus to ensure quality care continues to be
affordable. They are also a great resource for many services that a family may find they need.
There are others and we will gladly help you to contact any you may need.
Does Family Focus provide opportunities for families to get to know each other?
YES! We like to hold open houses, morning gatherings, fund raisers, play yard clean ups, etc. We need your
help to do this. It is a lot of fun and provides great opportunities for families to get to know each other and
form relationships.

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