Become a Child Care Provider

The first step in becoming a child care provider is to determine which type of care setting you wish to provide:

Child Care Center

A center serves 13 or more children with a staff-to-child ratio based on the age of the children. State law requires child care centers to be licensed by the Department's Child Care Licensing Program

Before school, drop-in, after school and preschool programs are not required to be licensed.

Licensing Staff inspect centers twice a year. Health and fire officials visit once a year. The center director is required to be educated or experienced in early care and education. All caregivers who work 500 hours or more a year are required to attend 16 hours of annual training. Center directors are required to attend 16 hours of annual training. Directors and caregivers are also required to have certification in Adult, Child and Infant CPR and First Aid.

Group Home Child Care

Two adults provide care for 7-12 children, with a limit of six under the age of 2. Group homes must be registered. Providers must complete a self-assessment checklist of health, safety, and childcare program regulations.

New providers must attend a child care orientation session within 60 days of registration.

Family Home

A caregiver cares for up to six children at a time with no more than three under the age of 2. Care is offered in a homelike setting, usually in the caregiver's residence. Family child care homes must be registered.

Friend, Family, Neighbor (Formerly Legally Certified Provider)

In this more informal type of care, a parent or legal guardian selects an individual- often a family member, friend, or neighbor to care for all the children in one family or up to 2 unrelated children. Legally Certified Providers must pass Montana and FBI criminal background checks and Child Protective Services background checks but are not otherwise regulated or monitored by the State of Montana.

For more information on becoming a child care provider contact the Child Care Licensing Program at (406) 444-2012.