AUGUSTA (AP) — Democratic lawmakers and advocates for children say Maine’s latest child care regulations roll back safety and quality standards.

New emergency regulations in effect Wednesday allow in-home child care providers to exclude their own children from staffing ratios. The rules remove a provision that allows parents to visit their children at any point without notice.

New rules also require providers to test their water for lead.

The Department of Health and Human Services has defended the rules as helping increase the number of family child care providers. The department said state law only allows it to consider children’s health and safety and not overall quality of care.

The Maine Children’s Alliance said some changes need legislative approval.

Democratic Rep. Patty Hymanson says she’ll work within the legislative process to protect kids.

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