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BOCA Minutes – Member Meeting

January 24, 2022 at 3:30 PM

Location of Meeting:

Virtual (GoToMeeting)

In Attendance:

Rebecca Compton, Amy Vogel, Tracy Martin-Turgeon, Joseph Tomchak, Charlene Barbieri, Tara Rego (Little Scholars Preschool), Marissa Gallagher (Hope St ELC), Heather Grocott (Cadence), Nicole Chiello (guest: DHS)
(note: other members joined/left after 3:30 and were not recorded)

The special meeting of the Business Owners in Childcare Association was called to order at 3:31 PM on 1/24/22 on GoToMeeting by Joe Tomchak



Q&A with Nicole Chiello

Survey to discuss upcoming priorities

Updates on Lobbying efforts

Updates on memberships

RICCDA & BOCA discussion

Review future meeting dates & upcoming guest speakers

Meeting Notes:

  • Joe – Re-engaged with Rick McAuliffe as lobbyist
    • Need to pick 3-4 top priorities for him to focus on at the State House
  • Members introduced themselves
  • Nicole Chiello answered Q&A
    • Clarified: Not RIDOH or the CDC, will share information as quickly as possible!
    • Upcoming changes / CDC changes?
      • CDC has not released any updates for childcare
      • Will share information as soon as they get it
    • Updates on changes to playbook and how it will impact centers?
      • TODAY received the first round of edits to the playbook. Based on info emailed out previously (not anything new, just taking email info into playbook)
    • Will we be changing our quarantine time?
      • Meeting tomorrow to discuss test-to-stay. Stay tuned. Not sustainable long term to keep closing classrooms. Need to keep kids in care.
    • Governor Baker (MA) announced monitor and stay in child care, Mass and Connecticut are also giving out PPE and N95 masks again. Does RI plan on doing that soon as well?
      • Governor Baker MA monitor and stay – has been sharing this with the team. Stay tuned. Will be talking about potential changes.
    • As the owner of Little Scholars Preschool in Rumford, I have mandated masks for all students ages 3-5 since September 2021 and also conduct temperature checks upon arrival and departure daily. When would facilities such as myself that have this mandate in place be allowed to have children (who were considered close contacts) return back to school the following day as long as they are healthy, are wearing well-fitted masks and obtain a test on day 5?
      • Example with mask mandates – Want programs to be able to make programmatic decisions. When we’re in a public health emergency, have to be aligned with RIDOH and governor’s office. Stay tuned!
    • Will there be changes to regulations for summer camps?
      • Changes to summer camp regulations – tough question! Don’t have summer camp regulations now. Feels summer 2022 will NOT have regulations. With the number of DHS changes past 6 months, would have started to promulgate already but have not. Hope to have something in place for the following summer.
    • When will the early childhood regulations be reopened for public comment? What will that look like (ie, zoom forum, in person).
      • ECE regulations – currently at end of internal edits. Hoping to open public comment by mid/end of February. Approximately 30 day period of time where we will have access to proposed changes and can submit written comment. What it will look like – not sure, in an ideal world it will be in person, but may be on zoom. Will be highly publicized. Feels we’ll be pleasantly surprised by changes. Streamlining things to make it easy. Making it more concrete (ie “in good repair” will have more details)
    • DHS reimbursement changes – any update or information?
      • DHS reimbursement – CCAP administrator’s last day is this Friday. Caitlin’s position is open. DHS employees are low. Proposed changes in Governor’s budget that need to be approved for June. There is an increase.  
    • Co-pays – thank you for extending to March! Do you think they will be extended further if COVID continues?
      • Co-pays extended – honestly, no, does not think it will be extended past March. Trying, but does not think so.
    • How should centers go about getting a higher BrightStars rating?
      • Higher BrightStars rating – will be receiving info in the coming days. New pilot program called Learners to get people re-engaged. Best suggestion is reach out to Lisa Hildebrandt and her team. There will be things coming out from BrightStars team to continue to keep your score if understaffed. (Heather commented that received BrightStars email today)
    • When will we be able to access the portal to identify which staff have completed the C-ELP 18-hour onboarding training? Will we be able to see who took it, who is in progress, etc.?
      • C-ELP onboarding portal – nobody has asked her this yet! Will get feedback from CELP soon.
    • Nicole opened floor:
      • Amy – DHS regs when they come out, will they be redlined/track changes? Nicole – YES!
      • Nicole – sneak peek: controversial considering the allowance for a new position of a Teacher’s Aide, 16 yo and older (similar to MA regulations). Trying to get 16-year-olds into centers, since they can work at other places (ie McDonalds). Knows there will be controversy, not everyone wants it. Tracy Martin talked about why she thinks it will help. Amy Vogel also said she would support it.
      • Heather – playbook edits: wondering if there can be language included specifically for school age population. Clarity that school age children follow that guidance. Nicole: yes, it will be included, already in progress to include this.
      • Tara Rego – major concern is getting kids back in the building and healthy. Longer duration of quarantine. Sensing depression and anxiety. Nicole – understands, wants to get them back in the classroom.
    • Joe thanked Nicole and she signed off at 3:56.
  • Joe – BOCA partnered with RICCDA to hire Rick McAuliffe at the Mayforth Group. Identifying priorities that align with both organizations.
    • Conversations going forward: combining agencies.
    • Amy went over priorities we’d outlined:
  • CCAP Rate of Reimbursement increase
  • CCAP expand eligibility
  • During unemployment families do not lose CCAP (might be in place, need to investigate)
  • Voucher: similar to MA for money follows the family
  • Be part of DHS regulations when they are opened
  • DHS Playbook for COVID
  • Transparency:  need more of it especially with communication
  • DHS Director Permanent person
  • Mental Health (children and employees)
    • Other priorities that came up:
      • Average the score for BrightStars ratings
      • Staff qualifications – giving us flexibility (seniority /experience vs just education)
  • Members shared their top priorities
    • Heather: Staff qualifications, mental health, new regulations
    • Tracy: CCAP rates
    • Tara: social emotional effects on students and teachers
    • Heather: how do we expand a career path program for new people or people who have experience but not education
      • Joe: ARPA funds for certificates & education?
    • Tracy: TEACH program is in the middle of the day, when we need them the most. Amy: has 3 leads with a 2pm class so they have to leave at noon. Tracy: timing of the program is terrible for business. Amy: grad school hours are later, but undergrad is not in RI. Heather: had someone that couldn’t work enough hours to be FT because she’s in school.
    • Joe: staffing qualification requirements can be a barrier
    • Joe: Mental health – interested in hiring a support person
    • Joe: talking to Rick and  RICCDA on Friday about this
      • We’ll send out the top priorities to get feedback
    • Tracy: went over next meeting dates and encouraged everyone to reach out to other centers.
    • Tara: asked where meetings at held? Tracy: at Dr. Day Care headquarters in Smithfield. Hoping to do a hybrid in-person and GoToMeetings, same time and dates.
    • Joe: guest speakers? Want to bring in relevant guest speakers. If you have thoughts on who you’d like to see, please share that with us. Our thoughts: someone to help with hiring (ie Governor’s Workforce Board),
      • Amy: Lisa Hildebrandt from BrightStars?
      • Joe: someone from CACFP
      • Tracy: someone who does catering? Vendors who can bring samples? Joe – sent out a bid to 7 agencies and only 2 replied. Would be helpful to know who is accepting bids.
    • Joe: any other feedback on partnering with RICCDA?
      • Heather: has gotten a lot out of this format, feels forward movement. If we can get more members, it will help everyone. Especially child care directors to join.
    • Tracy: look for people to give us reviews? Might help drive traffic.
    • Joe: we’re all volunteers trying to help everyone have a voice.

Next meeting:

2/28/22 for Members

Minutes submitted by Rebecca Compton