Skip to Content

General Laws

  Section 8. (a) The board shall adopt regulations relative to the requirements for licensure and approval of school-aged child care programs, child care centers, family child care homes or large family child care homes and family foster care which is not supervised and approved by a placement agency, placement agencies, group care facilities or temporary shelter facilities. These regulations shall be appropriate for the protection of the health, well-being and development of children and shall include, but need not be limited to, provisions relative to: (1) admission policies and procedures; (2) safe transport of children; (3) physical plant and equipment; (4) the number and qualifications of staff; (5) the nature of programs of care or treatment; (6) behavior management and child guidance policies and procedure; (7) health care and nutrition; (8) rights and responsibilities of parents, children and staff; (9) record keeping and other procedures relevant to evaluation including, but not limited to, reports by placement agencies detailing the number and nature, as defined jointly by the University of Massachusetts center for adoption research and policy in the city of Worcester and the department of children and families, of adoptions processed during each calendar quarter to be filed with the center on or before January 30 annually; (10) organization, financing and administration; and (11) the imposition of civil fines and other sanctions. The board shall consult with the board of elementary and secondary education and the executive offices of public safety and health and human services before adopting these rules and regulations. The board shall submit any rules and regulations, or revisions to them, to the joint committee on education for review and comment at least 60 days before adoption.

[ Subsection (b) effective until September 3, 2013. For text effective September 3, 2013, see below.]

  (b) The regulations may establish classifications for licensure or approval that are necessary to achieve the purposes of this section, but the standards and requirements for approval of a child care center, family child care home or large family child care home, placement agency, group care facility, or temporary shelter operated by a department, agency or institution of the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof shall be the same as or higher than those applicable to the licensure of comparable facilities or services. The regulations shall establish reasonable license fees, which shall incorporate all fees associated with conducting fingerprint-based checks of the state and national criminal history databases, under 42 U.S.C. section 16962, as set by the department and appropriate terms for all licenses granted under this section. No license or approval shall be transferable.

[ Subsection (b) as amended by 2013, 77, Sec. 3 effective September 3, 2013. For text effective until September 3, 2013, see above.]

  (b) The regulations may establish classifications for licensure or approval that are necessary to achieve the purposes of this section, but the standards and requirements for approval of a child care center, family child care home or large family child care home, placement agency, group care facility, or temporary shelter operated by a department, agency or institution of the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof shall be the same as or higher than those applicable to the licensure of comparable facilities or services. The regulations shall establish reasonable license fees and appropriate terms for all licenses granted under this section. No license or approval shall be transferable.

  (c) The regulations, as they relate to standards and requirements for licensure and approval of large family child care homes, shall include, but not be limited to, appropriate standards for: 1 or more approved assistants as provided in this chapter; additional floor space; staff-to-child ratios for multiple age and size groupings; limitations on the number of infants in care at 1 time; the hours of school-aged care; the number and age of school-aged children cared for; a prerequisite that a provider have at least 3 years of experience in licensed family child care and have completed at least 5 hours of specialized training before licensure as a large family child care provider and at least 10 hours of training each subsequent year. In formulating the regulations pertinent to family child care homes, large family child care homes and family foster care, the department shall give special attention to fire and safety precautions.

[ Subsection (d) effective until September 3, 2013. For text effective September 3, 2013, see below.]

  (d) The regulations shall provide that each person providing child care or support services with the potential for unsupervised contact with children in any program or facility licensed or funded by the department, as well as any household members or persons regularly on the premises of family child care and large family child care homes, shall be subject to a criminal offender record information check and fingerprint-based checks of the state and national criminal history databases, under 42 U.S.C. section 16962.

[ Subsection (d) as amended by 2013, 77, Sec. 4 effective September 3, 2013. For text effective until September 3, 2013, see above.]

  (d) The regulations shall provide that: each person providing child care or support services with the potential for unsupervised contact with children in any program or facility licensed or funded by the department, as well as any household members or persons regularly on the premises of family child care and large family child care homes shall be subject to a criminal offender record information check; potential adoptive and foster parents and their household members age 15 or older shall be subject to a fingerprint-based check of the state and national criminal history databases pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 16962; and all applicants for a department issued license, and applicants for employment, interns and volunteers in any department-licensed, department-funded or department-approved program shall be subject to a fingerprint-based check of the state and national criminal history databases pursuant to Public Law 92-544.

  The board shall also adopt regulations establishing that the following individuals shall be subject to a sexual offender registry information check pursuant to sections 178I and 178J of chapter 6: (1) each person providing child care or support services with the potential for unsupervised contact with children in any program or facility licensed, funded or approved by the department; (2) any household members or persons regularly on the premises of family child care and large family child care homes; (3) any prospective adoptive and foster parents and their household members; (4) any department funded caregivers; and (5) any individual who provides transportation services on behalf of any department licensed, funded or approved program. The regulations shall also establish the conditions upon which the department may deny an application for a license, a license renewal or approval, employment or department funding and upon which the department may deny prospective adoptive and foster parents based upon the information obtained from the sex offender registry search. The board shall also adopt regulations establishing an address search of the sex offender registry for the purposes of licensing and license renewal or approval of school-aged child care programs, child care centers, family child care homes, placement agencies or large family child care homes, family foster care that is not supervised and approved by a placement agency, group care facilities or temporary shelter facilities, including the conditions in which the department may deny an application for a license, license renewal or approval based upon the information obtained from the address search of the sex offender registry.

  (e) Any rule or regulation involving medical treatment shall include appropriate exemptions for children whose parents object to such treatment on the ground that it conflicts with the tenets and practice of a recognized church or religious denomination of which the parent or child is an adherent or member. The regulations shall require that each child care program licensed or approved by the department shall obtain from a parent or guardian of a child in care under the age of 6 years, but not less than 2 years of age, a statement, signed by a physician or an employee of a health care agency, that the child has been screened for lead poisoning. This statement shall be obtained upon the child's enrollment if the child is 2 years of age or older or at the time the child reaches 2 years of age.

  (f) The regulations shall require that any person who operates a school-age child care program, as defined in section 2 of chapter 132B, or a child care center shall comply with the requirements regarding pesticide applications as set forth in sections 6C to 6I, inclusive of said chapter 132B.

  (g) Fines authorized by this section shall range from $50 to $1,000. In no case shall a fine imposed on a family child care home, large family child care home or child care center exceed a maximum fine of $250 per violation.

  (h) The department shall provide consultation to assist applicants in meeting its requirements for licensure or approval, and in meeting other applicable state and local requirements relative to fire, safety, and zoning codes.

  (i) The board shall conduct a comprehensive review of rules and regulations established under this section at least once every 5 years.

[ Subsection (j) effective until September 3, 2013. For text effective September 3, 2013, see below.]

  (j) Fingerprints, as referenced in subsections (a) and (b) of section 7 and subsections (b) and (d) of this section, shall be submitted to the identification section of the department of state police for a state criminal history check and forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history check, according to the policies and procedures established by the identification section and by the department of criminal justice information services. Fingerprint submissions and national criminal history checks may be retained by the department of criminal justice information services to ensure the continued suitability for licensure, certification, approval or employment of those individuals. The department may disseminate the results of a national criminal history check to the department of early education and care to determine the suitability of: (i) current and prospective employees in any department licensed or funded program; (ii) all household members or persons regularly on the premises, age 15 or older, of applicants for family child care licensure; (iii) all in-home non-relative department funded caregivers; and (iv) all adoptive or foster parent applicants.

  The department of criminal justice information services shall disseminate the results of the criminal background check to the department. The department of criminal justice information services shall only disseminate information under this section that would otherwise be available to requesting entities under sections 167 through 178, inclusive, of chapter 6 and the regulations thereto regarding criminal offender record information.

  All persons required to submit fingerprints pursuant to this chapter, including, but not limited to: (i) any applicant for department licensure or for employment at a department licensed or funded program; (ii) any household member or person regularly on the premises, age 15 or older, in a family child care program; (iii) any prospective foster or adoptive parent; and (iv) any in-home non-relative caregiver, shall pay a fee, to be established by the department in consultation with the secretary of public safety and security, to offset the costs of operating and administering a fingerprint-based criminal background check system. The fee shall not exceed $35 per person. The fee may increase accordingly if the Federal Bureau of Investigation increases its fingerprint background check service fee. The department licensed or funded programs may reimburse applicants for employment for all or part of the fee on the grounds of financial hardship. The fee shall be deposited into the Fingerprint-Based Background Check Trust Fund, established under section 2HHHH of chapter 29.

[ Subsection (j) as amended by 2013, 77, Sec. 5 effective September 3, 2013. For text effective until September 3, 2013, see above.]

  (j) Fingerprints, as referenced in subsections (a) and (b) of section 7 and subsection (d) of this section, shall be submitted to the identification section of the department of state police for a state criminal history check and forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history check, according to the policies and procedures established by the identification section and by the department of criminal justice information services. Fingerprint submissions may be retained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the state identification section and the department of criminal justice information services to assist the department in its review of suitability for initial or continued licensure, certification or approval. The department of criminal justice information services may disseminate the results of a state and national criminal history check to the department of early education and care to determine the suitability of: (1) any current holder of or applicant for a family child care, small group and school age, large group and school age, and residential and placement license, or family child care assistant certificate; (2) all current and prospective employees in any department licensed, funded or approved program, who have the potential for unsupervised contact with children; (3) all household members, age 15 or older, or all persons, age 15 or older, regularly on the premises of current family child care providers and applicants for family child care licensure; (4) all in-home nonrelative department-funded caregivers; (5) all adoptive or foster parent applicants and their household members age 15 or older; and (6) any individual who provides transportation services on behalf of any department licensed, funded or approved program. If the department receives information from a fingerprint-based check that does not include any final disposition or is otherwise incomplete, the department may request that an applicant, either new or renewing, provide additional information to assist the department in determining the suitability of the individual for licensure, certification, approval, funding or employment.

  Department licensed, funded or approved programs and providers of transportation services on behalf of any department-licensed, funded or approved program may hire individuals without first obtaining the results of a state and national fingerprint-based criminal history check in limited circumstances, as provided by the board of early education and care.

  The board of early education and care shall, in a manner provided by law and under this chapter, promulgate regulations necessary to carry out this subsection. The regulations shall address the circumstances under which a program or transportation provider may hire a conditional employee.

  For the purposes of this subsection, "conditional employee'' shall mean an individual who has the potential for unsupervised contact with children and who is part of a department licensed, funded or approved program or a provider of transportation services on behalf of any department licensed, funded or approved program and was hired prior to the obtaining of the results of a state and national fingerprint-based criminal history check because the employer determined that hiring the individual was necessary. If a program or transportation provider seeks to hire a conditional employee, the program or transportation provider may request that the individual provide additional information regarding the individual's history of criminal convictions, if any, to assist the program or transportation provider in determining the individual's suitability for unsupervised contact with children; provided however, that no unsupervised contact with children shall occur prior to the program or transportation provider obtaining the results of a sexual offender registry information check pursuant to sections 178I and 178J of chapter 6.

  The department of criminal justice information services shall disseminate the results of the criminal background check to the department. The department of criminal justice information services shall only disseminate information under this section that would otherwise be available to requesting entities pursuant to sections 167 to 178, inclusive, of chapter 6 and the regulations thereto regarding criminal offender record information.

[ Subsection (k) added by 2013, 38, Sec. 31 effective July 1, 2013. See 2013, 38, Sec. 219.]

  (k) The board shall adopt regulations establishing the conclusiveness of information obtained by the department in an address search of the sex offender registry for purposes of licensing, license renewal or approval of school-aged child care programs, child care centers, family child care homes, placement agencies or large family child care homes, family foster care that is not supervised and approved by a placement agency, group care facilities or temporary shelter facilities, including the conditions in which the address search of the sex offender registry shall be sufficient cause for the department to deny an application for a license, license renewal or approval.

[ Subsection (k) added by 2013, 77, Sec. 5 effective September 3, 2013.]

  (k) All persons required to submit fingerprints under this chapter, including but not limited to: (1) any current holder of or applicant for a family child care, small group and school age, large group and school age, and residential and placement license, or family child care assistant certificate; (2) all current and prospective employees, interns and volunteers in any department licensed, funded or approved program, who have the potential for unsupervised contact with children; (3) all household members, age 15 or older, or persons, age 15 or older, regularly on the premises of current family child care providers and applicants for family child care licensure; (4) all in-home nonrelative department funded caregivers; (5) all adoptive or foster parent applicants and their household members age 15 or older; and (6) any individual who provides transportation services on behalf of any department licensed, funded or approved program, shall pay a fee, to be established by the secretary of administration and finance in consultation with the secretary of public safety and security and the commissioner, to offset the costs of operating and administering a fingerprint-based criminal background check system. The fee shall not exceed $35 per person. The secretary of administration and finance, in consultation with the secretary of public safety and security and the commissioner, may increase the fee accordingly if the Federal Bureau of Investigation increases its fingerprint background check service fee. The department licensed, funded or approved programs may reimburse applicants for employment, internship or volunteer positions, for all or part of the fee on the grounds of financial hardship. Any fees collected from fingerprinting activity pursuant to this chapter shall be deposited into the Fingerprint-Based Background Check Trust Fund, established by section 2HHHH of chapter 29.

Error