Child Care

Family Services


I need help paying for Child Care.

Montana families are paying just over $9,000 a year to have an infant attend a full time care center. For low-income, working single parents this could mean nearly 44% of their income is spent on child care.

I need child care, but can’t afford it. What do I do?

HRDC offers the State of Montana’s Best Beginnings scholarship for Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Fallon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Powder River, Rosebud, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure, Wheatland, and Yellowstone Counties.  You can fill out the application online here.

You can also download the application or pick it up at the HRDC office in Billings or Hardin, or call either location and request an application be mailed to you.

Who is eligible?

Recipients of the scholarship are working low-income families, working care takers, TANF recipients, disabled parents, foster or guardianship families, and parents in high school, college or pursuing a GED may apply for the Best Beginnings Scholarship. Please click here for non-TANF family income eligibility.

How many hours must I work in order to qualify as working low-income?

Parents or guardians must be participating in the following eligible activities:

  • Two parent families must work at least 120 hours per month;
  • Single parent families must work at least 60 hours per month;
  • Single parent families do not have to work while they attend school/training full time;
  • Single parent families who are attending school/training part-time must work 40 hours; or
  • Teen parents must be attending high school or a high school equivalency program.

Does the work requirement pertain to foster or guardianship families?

Yes. We recommend contacting your Child Protection Specialist at the state offices of Children and Family Services to qualify your need and request child care services.
For additional information about eligibility, click here.

What portion will I pay?

Families are solely responsible for making co-payments to their child care provider plus any fees or charges that may exceed the district child care provider rates. Click here for the sliding scale.

I need help finding a child care provider. Who can I contact?

HRDC helps you find the quality child care that best fits your needs.  Click here to go to our Child Care Referral Page.

Are there restrictions on where I take my child for care?

Children on the Best Beginnings Scholarship must attend a licensed child care center, registered group or family child care home, or legally certified child care provider.

I’m not sure if the child care provider I’ve selected qualifies for the program. Who can I ask?

Contact one of our Case Managers or our Child Care Referral Specialist by calling (406) 247-4700.

For more information

Call (406) 247-4700 (Billings) / (406) 665-2523 (Hardin) or Email: childcare@hrdc7.org

 

Helpful Forms and Documents

 

This project is funded in whole or in part under a Contract with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The statements herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Department.

 

Provider Services


I want to provide Child Care.

Parents, children, and Montana’s economy rely heavily on quality child care, which both protects children and promotes healthy development.

Who is eligible to receive services?

Licensed child care centers, family & group homes, and legally certified providers in Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Fallon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Powder River, Rosebud, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure, Wheatland, and Yellowstone Counties.

What kind of support is available to child care providers?

HRDC provides oversight and resources to ensure providers are given the tools they need to remain compliant with state regulations and deliver a safe, affordable and quality service. In addition to trainings we offer:

  • Tips and resources to improve your program; and recruitment, retention and motivation of staff
  • Ideas for low cost marketing, daily schedules and transitions, and how to operate a safe and healthy program
  • How to implement emergency policies and procedures including medication administration and managing infectious disease
  • Resources to provide developmentally appropriate care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers
  • State and National accreditation, standards, and quality rating and improvement systems

What services are available to new providers?

  • Program Management Essentials and Early Childhood Essentials
  • Assistance with selecting classes
  • Technical assistance for policies, procedures, contracts and record maintenance
  • 360 Support

What types of services are offered?

  • Maintain licensing requirements
  • Technical assistance
  • Professional Development Training in:
    • Observation, Documentation, & Assessment
    • Program Management
    • Family & Community Patnerships
    • Environmental Design
    • Child Growth & Development
    • Health & Well-Being
    • Professionalism
    • Curriculum
    • Diversity
    • Child Guidance
  • Evidence Based Best Practices
    • For young children with special needs and their parents and providers
  • Montana Certified Preschool Education Course
  • Montana Certified Infant Toddler Care

How do I find training?

There  are a number of statewide training opportunities for Early Childhood Providers. A resource library is also available for your use.
Childcaretraining.org offers online training opportunities.  Visit their catalog here for your professional development needs.

Trainings can be found on The Early Childhood Project website by searching the Professional Development Calendar or call (406) 247-4750 and request a printed HRDC training calendar.  You can also download a copy of our Professional Development calendar at the links below:

If you are a provider and are looking for information about how to apply to the Practitioner Registry, please click here.

Montana Early Childhood Project: The Montana Career Path

Online Registration

All courses require online registration and payment through the Early Childhood Project.  You will be required to sign in or create an ECP account to complete online registration.

How do I get information to the Referral Specialist about my child care?

Our referral specialist can update your rates, vacancies and other information.
To be redirected to that page click here.

For more information

Call (406) 247-4750 or Email Child Care Department

Best Beginnings Legally Certified Provider

What is a Legally Certified Provider (LCP)?

A Legally Certified Provider (LCP) is a special certification for a friend or family member that cares for up to two children from different families or all the children in one sibling group. The family that is receiving care must be eligible for the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship.

How do I apply to become a Legally Certified Provider (LCP)?

  • You will only be eligible to become an LCP if the family you are providing child care for is eligible for the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship.
  • The family’s application paperwork (which is submitted to the local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency) is separate from your application paperwork.
  • Application requirements include
    • Legally Certified Provider Application
    • Health and Safety Checklist
    • Medication Administration Attestation
    • Immunization Certification Form
    • LCP Orientation:
      • As of October 1, 2017, an online orientation for Legally Certified Providers is required to be completed prior to license approval. There is not a charge for the class. Click here to go to the class.
    • Tax ID Form – W9
    • Forms required for all adults living in the household 18 years and older (fees vary)
      • Statement of Health Form
      • State of MT Release of Information
      • FBI Release of Information form for Fingerprint
    • You must submit the LCP application packet to Child Care Licensing:
Mail to:
DPHHS/QAD/LCP
2401 Colonial Dr
PO BOX 202953
Helena, MT 59620
Or email to:
LCPPROGRAM@MT.GOV
Phone: 406-444-0597
Fax: 406-444-1742

Contact Child Care Licensing if you have any questions about the LCP Program:
Teresa Enger, (406) 444-0597 or email tenger@mt.gov

How do I attend Online Legally Certified Provider (LCP) Orientation?

Please click here to attend the online Legally Certified Provider (LCP) Orientation course hosted by Child Care Resources online training program. Please note that if you are experiencing any difficulties with the website, training or have any questions regarding the online course (computer requirements, fees, course work, etc.), please call Child Care Resources at 406-728-6446, email cct@childcareresources or you may use their contact information on their online training web site.

 

 

This project is funded in whole or in part under a Contract with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The statements herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Department.

 

 

Child and Adult Care Food Program


In an effort to reduce the costs of child care while ensuring children receive healthy and nutritious meals, eligible child care providers are given cash reimbursement for serving meals to enrolled participants that meet Federal nutritional guidelines, outlined in the CACFP meal pattern.

Do I apply for CACFP through HRDC?

Yes. HRDC administers the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for the Montana Department of Health and Human Services

What counties do you serve?

Big Horn, Carbon, Custer, Fallon, Fergus, Musselshell, Prairie, Rosebud, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Wheatland and Yellowstone.

How many meals are eligible for reimbursement?

Participating providers may be approved to claim up to two meals and one snack, or two snacks and one meal, per day, per child.

What trainings are required as a CACFP participant?

Participants are required to participate in two mandatory trainings annually. Please see the course calendar for additional information.

  • 2 hour regulations training includes a review of CACFP requirements, recordkeeping, payments and civil rights.
  • 2 hour nutrition training includes CACFP meal patterns, menus, recipes, and food safety.

Do you conduct site visits?

Yes. We will visit each CACFP participant’s site a minimum of three times a year.

How do I enroll in the CACFP?

Family and Group Home providers should call (406) 247-4700 to apply. Child Care Centers must apply through the state department or call 888-307-9333. Facilities must be licensed to qualify for CACFP.

For more information

Call (406) 247-4700 or Email dbogunovich@hrdc7.org

 

 

CACFP is provided by the USDA and administered through the Montana Department of Health and Human Services CACFP program. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. USDA is an equal opportunity employer.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

For all other FNS nutrition assistance programs, State or local agencies, and their subrecipients, must post the following Nondiscrimination Statement:

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  • Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  • Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  • Email: program.intake@usda.gov

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

This project is funded in whole or in part under a Contract with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The statements herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Department.

 

Child Care Referrals


I need help finding Child Care.

Our Referral Specialist helps you find quality child care that best fits your needs. Whether your hours of needed care are limited or you are looking for specific environments, we connect families to licensed or registered child care providers to provide a quality experience for everyone.  We provide referrals for families in Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Fallon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Powder River, Rosebud, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure, Wheatland and Yellowstone counties.

  1. Stop by our office or call (406) 247-4700 to get a child care need form.
  2. Create an account to generate your own list by clicking here.
  3. Click here to complete an online child care need form.
  4. Click here to print out a form and return it to us by:
    • Email:  Child Care Referral Specialist
    • Fax: (406) 248-2943
    • Mail: PO Box 2016 Billings, MT 59103 – Attention: Child Care Referral Specialist
    • Drop it by our office at 7 N 31st St,  Billings, MT

If you are a provider and need to update information with our Referral Specialist click here.

Region 1

The Nurturing Center
146 Third Ave W  Kalispell MT, 59901  (406) 756-1414, 800-204-0644, Fax: (406) 756-1410
nurturingcenter.org

Region 2

Child Care Resources
105 East Pine Street Lower Level – PO Box 7038  Missoula MT, 59807  (406) 728-6446, 800-728-6446, Fax: (406) 549-1189
childcareresources.org

Region 3

Butte 4 C’s
101 East Broadway  Butte MT, 59701  (406) 723-4019, 800-794-4061, Fax: (406) 723-6982
butte4-cs.org

Region 4

Child Care Connections
1143 Stoneridge Dr Bozeman MT, 59718  (406) 587-7786, 800-962-0418, Fax: (406) 587-1682
cccmontana.org

Region 5

Family Connections
202 2nd Ave S, Suite 201  Great Falls MT, 59405  (406) 761-6010, 800-696-4503, Fax: (406) 453-8976
FamilyConnectionsMT.org

Region 6

Family Connections
2229 5th Ave  Havre MT, 59501  (406) 265-6743, 800-640-6743, Fax: (406) 265-1312
FamilyConnectionsMT.org

Region 7

HRDC District 7
7 North 31st Street – PO Box 2016  Billings MT, 59103  (406) 247-4732, 800-443-1411, Fax: (406) 248-2943
hrdc7.org

 

Stars to Quality


What is STARS?

The Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Program is a voluntary quality rating and improvement system that aligns quality indicators with support and incentives for early childhood programs and early childhood professionals. The Early Childhood Services Bureau has enjoyed watching the program grow and develop with the input from the various stakeholders, and has listened carefully to early childhood professionals, parents, and national experts to provide a strong program, desired by many.

 

 

STARS has several components:

  1. Workforce Development
  2. Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)
  3. Infrastructure to administer the programs, provide training , coaching, and technical assistance, and to validate the STARS system

How do I apply to be a STARS Provider?

Programs may apply for Best Beginnings STARS to Quality at any time on the Early Childhood Project website.  To apply, you must log in as an organization, go to the STARS tab, and click “Apply for STARS”.  If your application is accepted, you will be notified and sent a STARS to Quality agreement and W-9 which must be returned in order to be accepted into STARS to Quality.  Click the link below to apply. If you need assistance, contact HRDC Provider Services, watch the video tutorials, or click here for printable instructions.

For more information about Montana STARS to quality, visit the website: Best Beginnings STARS to Quality

 

Child Development and Milestones


What changes will I see as my child grows?

How your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age.

 

 

 

Click below for printable information about each stage.

2 months -She begins to smile and hold her head up.

4 months -He starts to babble and can hold a toy and shake it.

6 months -She likes to look in the mirror and can sit up without support.

9 months -He has favorite toys and can stand holding on.

1 year -She will hand you a book to read and can wave “bye-bye”.

18 months -He may have a temper tantrum and be able to run.

2 years -She shows more and more independence and says sentences with 2 to 4 words.

3 years -He will copy adults and friends and turn pages of a book one at a time.

4 years -She will sing a song and uses scissors with supervision.

5 years -He speaks very clearly and can use a fork, spoon, and sometimes a table knife.