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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.

Montana Resources

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, see below for details
  • Financial support for temporary emergency child care, see below for details
  • 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. 

Financial Support for Licensed and Registered Child Care Programs

The Early Childhood Services Bureau is offering 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.  For more information, please reference the FAQ document

new COVID-19 Emergency Grant - Submit the completed grant to your CCR&R

new Contact your CCR&R to apply for a COVID -19 Emergency Grant or to submit a complete application

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought drastic changes to Montana’s child care landscape. In an effort to support child care businesses and the families they serve, the Early Childhood Services Bureau (ECSB), will offer emergency grants to providers impacted by COVID-19.

This Emergency Grant is for the purpose of providing financial support to Licensed/Registered programs that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provider grants are available in a single grant award for programs currently operating, or with plans to reopen.

Award amounts are as follows:

  • Family Programs:       $3,000 maximum
  • Group Programs:       $5,000 maximum
  • Child Care Center:      $8,000 maximum

COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Child Care Support for Non-Licensed Programs

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, community providers are offering temporary, emergency child care during the emergency period for essential, medical, and emergency personnel as identified in Governor Bullock's Stay at Home Direction, 2-20-2020 and 3-20-2020.

The Early Childhood Services Bureau is offering supports in the following areas:

  • Child and Adult Care Food Program
  • Professional Development
  • Background Checks
  • Financial Support

DPHHS estimates approximately 20 programs across the state will be awarded. In the event that we receive a greater number of requests, the Department will evaluate each application for content, need, and community demand. This funding is for the sole purpose of temporary child care strategies to support emergency, medical, and essential personnel during the emergency period only.  It is not a support mechanism to create new drop-in child care centers, or to provide a new funding stream for youth development programs, school age or afterschool programs that exist for summer and afterschool care.  If a program is interested in becoming licensed, please refer to Child Care Licensing.

Categories of one-time only funding are as follows:

  • Programs who serve fewer than 10 children per day are eligible to apply for up to $23,000
  • Programs who serve between 11 and 24 children per day are eligible to apply for up to $55,000
  • Programs who serve greater than 24 children per day are eligible to apply for up to $90,000

The following application invites programs who are providing temporary emergency child care to apply for support.

new COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Child Care Support Application*

*If you are a licensed child care program, do not complete this application. The application for licensed programs is located above, under "Financial Support for Licensed and Registered Child Care Programs." 

Programs may apply for this funding until July 31, 2020.

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