Human & Community Services Division
The mission of the Human and Community Services Division (HCSD) of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is to support the strengths of families and communities by promoting employment and providing the assistance necessary to help families and individuals meet basic needs and work their way out of poverty.
The division provides cash assistance, employment training, supplemental nutrition assistance (formerly food stamps), Medicaid, child care, meal reimbursement, nutrition training, energy assistance, weatherization, and other services to help families move out of poverty and toward self-support.
Cash assistance is funded by a federal block grant called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The program provides monthly payments to low-income families and children who meet income and resource eligibility standards. The Pathways Program provides employment and training services to individuals receiving cash assistance.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) provides benefits to eligible families to supplement their food budget and increase their ability to purchase healthy foods. A SNAP Nutrition Education (SNAP-Ed), operated jointly with Montana State University, teaches participants to use their food stamp benefits wisely.
The division determines eligibility for more than 38 Medicaid programs for children, pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled, and other eligible adults.
Through its child care programs, HCSD helps low-income working and TANF families pay for child care so they can work or take advantage of training and educational opportunities that prepare them for work. It also helps child-care providers improve their quality of care by providing training incentives, mentoring, and grant programs.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Montana’s Early Childhood Services Bureau and its Best Beginnings quality child care programs recognize nutrition as an important element in child care. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is the State agency’s child nutrition, administrative and financial expertise that provides policy and guidance for menus, meals and food service management in child care. The CACFP provides reimbursement for meals served in participating institutions when those meals meet federal US Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations and align with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The CACFP is available to infants, children, and impaired or older adults enrolled in institutions that participate in the CACFP. Eligible institutions are family day care homes, child care centers, afterschool and outside school hours facilities, adult day care facilities, and emergency shelters.
The Head Start State Collaboration project provides a vital link between Head Start and state programs to help build early childhood systems and access to comprehensive services and support for all low-income children.
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) provides heating assistance to low-income people, while The Weatherization Program supplies the labor and materials needed to make homes more energy efficient.
Through its Commodities Distribution Program, HCSD delivers nutritional foods to Montana 's Indian reservations, food banks, emergency-feeding organizations, and senior centers. It also provides monthly food packages to low-income women, children, and seniors.
The division administers a federal Community Services Block Grant to fund local projects aimed at addressing the causes of poverty, as well as a Homeless Grant to help local shelters and Human Resource Development Councils provide lodging for individuals and families who are without, or at risk of being without, housing.