Early Childhood Services Bureau

Affordable ♦ Accessible ♦ Coordinated Systems

  The Mission of the Early Childhood Services Bureau is to improve the quality, affordability and accessibility of early care and education in Montana, with focused efforts on coordinated systems to best meet the needs of young children, their families, and the professionals who work on behalf of young children and families.


Tell Us What You Think About Child Care Licensing

  • Are you a licensed or unlicensed child care provider, or a staff member of at a child care facility? Tell us how the licensing, certification and renewal process is working for you.
  • Are you a parent? Tell us your thoughts on licensed child care. Do you work on child care issues as a member of the business community, a local agency, or in some other way? We want to hear from you too!

The Early Childhood Services Bureau of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has begun a process to make child care licensing work better for providers and families. The goal of this work is to increase the capacity of our child care system, so we have high quality care and economically accessible care available for all of Montana’s children.

The project will review and reform child care regulations, policies, and procedures to modernize, streamline, and enhance the experience for child care providers, staff, and families. Part of the review process is to understand how the child care licensing system currently works for all different types of people, from providers and staff to parents and families, local agencies, the business community, and other community members who care about child care.

Please consider providing us your thoughts on child care licensing by taking this anonymous survey about child care licensing, or by scanning the QR code:

CCL QR Code 

The survey should take less than 10 minutes, and you will be eligible to win one of five $25 gift cards from Amazon as a way to say thank you.

Please direct any questions or concerns to Project Lead Kirsten Smith, Bloom Consulting, or to Patty Butler, Early Childhood Services Bureau Chief.


Did You Know graphic

Updates and Expanded Eligibility for the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship 

For families currently participating in the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship

  • To support families in meeting their co-payment obligations, all Best Beginnings families will see their co-pays set to $10 per month 
  • To support families and the various scheduling needs that may arise, the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship will cover the full amount of scheduled care, regardless of attendance 

For families that need help paying for child care

  • Montana's   sliding fee scale  now expands eligibility to more families (Policies go into effect June 1, 2021, and are based on the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act federal funding)
  • Income eligibility has been increased to serve additional families

To apply for the   Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship,   apply online, or contact your   Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.  

Video Resources

Demonstration of Pyramid Model Practices

Civil Rights
If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of race, national origin, ethnic background, sex, religious affiliation, or disability, you have a right to file a complaint. To file a complaint of discrimination contact:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
1961 Stout Street - Room 1426
Denver, CO 80294
(303) 844-2024; (303) 844-3439 (TDD)
toll free 1-866-239-0458
(303) 844-2025 FAX
Patty Butler, Chief
DPHHS - Early Childhood Services Bureau
P.O. Box 4210
Helena MT 59620-4210