The Maine Office of Child and family Services (OFCS) operates the statewide hotline for child abuse and neglect. Highly trained staff is available to guide callers through the process of making a report of suspected abuse and neglect. Anyone who suspects an individual of child abuse or neglect in encouraged to call the Protective Hotline:
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Call Maine Relay 711
As Mandated Reporters any provider/staff suspecting Abuse or Neglect must immediately report this information to Child Protective Intake Services, 1-800-452-1999, TTY 1-800- 963-9490 which is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Once cases of child abuse or neglect have been reported, they must be investigated and verified. All states and territories have specific requirements for the initial response by agencies receiving reports of child abuse and neglect. In most states, a screening process is used to determine whether a report will be accepted; this process includes a review of the report in the context of the state’s definitions of child abuse and neglect. Every state mandates that child protective services begin an investigation within a timely manner, usually within 72 hours, and in even less time when there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is in imminent danger.
Parents/Legal Guardians will find Country Fun Child Care’s complete policy covering Child Abuse/Neglect (Mandated Reporting) under the “Policy” section of this website.
At Country Fun Child Care, program policies are regularly reviewed and play areas are continually assessed with prevention in mind to help eliminate potential problems. The following guidelines may help keep children safe and reduce the risk of abuse and neglect in the child care setting:
- The Family Child Care Licensing Rule requires criminal background checks for all staff, volunteers and house members.
- Access ongoing training to learn current information about the care, development and guidance of children and about child abuse issues.
- Maintain appropriate child-to-staff ratios and small group sizes.
- Encourage parents/legal guardians to join in our activities and to drop into the program whenever they can.
- Structure environment so no adult present on the Premises will be alone with one child out of sight and/or sound of other children and adults.
Country Fun Child Care will make sure all staff members and volunteers understand appropriate and inappropriate ways to interact with children. The following are some basic guidelines:
- Never hit or strike a child.
- Do not use physical punishment of any kind.
- Hugs are okay if they are appropriate. Take clues from the body language of the child, or simply ask, “Is it okay for me to hug you?” As the adult, if you do not feel comfortable with a hug from a child, tell them in a gentle way and suggest an alternative, such as holding your hand or touching your shoulder or arm.
- Respect a child’s personal boundaries. Like adults, children have preferences about contact. Remember that some individuals like being close and getting hugs, but others don’t like a lot of close contact.
- Infants and toddlers are at an especially high risk of being abused or neglected, partly because they cannot tell someone about the abuse. Access training focused on child development specifically for infants and toddlers.
Design of Child Care Environment
- Design play and other areas so that children can be viewed at all times.
- Include some quiet areas for children while still being sure those areas can be seen by the provider.
- Bathroom time needs close supervision. Allowing some privacy in the bathroom if a child requests it does not necessarily mean a closed door. Only one child uses the bathroom at a time. Those waiting to use the bathroom remain outside the bathroom in the hallway.
- Consideration is given to the appropriate ages and capacity for the program.