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COVID-19 Information for Child Care

Child care serves a vitally important function in allowing parents to continue working, which has essential public health, economic and social impacts. Child care providers currently have the flexibility to make decisions about whether and for how long to operate a child care, but overall, child care providers are urged to follow the "Guidance for Child Care Programs" section found in the Information for Childcare Providers - Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19, and consider closure to limit the spread of COVID-19, if not serving families with essential workers.

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Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the “CARES Act” (Public Law 116-136) passed into law on March 27, 2020. Montana has been awarded $10,113,887 from the CARES Act.

DPHHS is supporting Montanans impacted by COVID-19 with CARES Act funding in the following ways:

  • Financial support for licensed and registered child care programs
  • Financial support for temporary emergency child care
  • Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship
    • The Early Childhood Services Bureau is covering 100% of copayments for families for the months of March, April, and May 2020
    • The Early Childhood Services Bureau is reimbursing providers at 100% of the authorized amount beginning March 2020

Priority for funding will be given to applicants that have not received SBA Payroll Protection Program or other relief programs. 

CARES Act Update

Great news! Governor Bullock announced that he is directing $50 million to maintain and expand child care and support Montana families. Included in this will be funding to expand school-age care, scholarships to families with special circumstances requiring in-home care, and an additional payment to all licensed and registered child care facilities.

Financial Support for Licensed and Registered Child Care Programs

The Early Childhood Services Bureau offered emergency grants to programs impacted by COVID-19. DPHHS anticipates that by combining the emergency grant funds, plus the continued reimbursement for Best Beginnings Scholarship Child Care, plus the potential use of other non-profit and/or small business supports, child care providers should have the opportunity to support program expenses during this emergency period of time.  In addition to monetary supports, DPHHS continues to waive certain licensing criteria, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) criteria, and professional development requirements.  Provider grants were available in a single grant award for programs currently operating, or with plans to reopen. For more information, please reference the FAQ document

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