Families Requiring In-Home Care

COVID-19 Special Circumstance Scholarship for Families Requiring In-Home Child Care

Did you know that parents and guardians with children who are unable to return to childcare or school during the pandemic may be eligible for a $4000 in-home care scholarship?  The Governor has directed $50 Million of CARES Act funding to include the “COVID-19 Special Circumstance Scholarship.”  These funds are earmarked for families requiring in-home Child Care for immune-compromised or special needs children and or family members.

The “Special Circumstance Scholarship” is available to help parents offset the costs incurred by individualized or specialized Child Care, respite, increased food, in-home cleaning, supplies, and support for remote learning.

The unique challenges that Montana families face as they attempt to balance work with childcare and support needs during the pandemic has prompted the “Special Circumstance scholarship.”  It is available to families with children 0-18.  The focus of the scholarship program is to provide alternative Child Care to families with special health and safety needs requiring in-home care. The $4,000 per family scholarship may be used for Child Care in their home or in the home of another provider. It can be a family member, a friend, or a neighbor.  Scholarships must be awarded and spent by December 31, 2020 contingent on funding availability.  The Child Care Resource and Referral Agency may ask for additional documentation of the special circumstance.

It is important to note that suspension of in-person school attendance is not considered a special circumstance.  The intent of the program is to provide a solution for families with special circumstances that cannot be served under the school or traditional care model.  There are, however, additional CARES Act funding grants earmarked to maintain and expand care for school-age children during out of school time.  Supplemental payments will be made to licensed and registered child care facilities to expand occupancy.  Outreach and administration for both of these programs are provided by Child Care Resource and Referral agencies across the state.

Who: Montana Families with children 0-18 experiencing unique or special circumstances.

What: A scholarship opportunity paying for in-home care of children unable to attend school or traditional child care due to COVID-19 or related specialized needs.

When: Families can apply Now through December 31st, 2020 (or until funds are expended)

How: Complete the online application and return it to HRDC.  If you are unsure of your eligibility, you are still encouraged to complete and return an application.

Please return by:
-mail: HRDC7 PO Box 2016, Billings, MT  59103
-fax:  406-869-2585
-drop box: 7 N 31st Street to the right of the door to the main building
-We do not recommend using email due to the sensitive information on the application.

HRDC Special Circumstance Grant Application

Examples of Special Circumstances or Needs:

  1. Compromised heath of child and/or family member
  2. Children with developmental and physical disabilities
  3. Children with behavioral or emotional conditions
  4. Foster families or kinship families needing respite
  5. Remote learning support

Some things to know:

  • The program is focused on “special circumstances” preventing families from sending children back school or child Care.
  • SSN’s are required with a completed W-9. These funds may be taxed. You may receive a W-9 if you applied early and it will be required before we can issue a payment.
  • Applicants must provide detailed information regarding your “special circumstance” for us to process your application.
  • The following provides additional samples of “special circumstances”:
    • Funds for remote learning, provide details which explain the need for remote learning, and how the funds will support this need.
    • Health or safety needs, identify what they are.  For example, a compromised immune system of a household member. Include specific details.
    • Foster or kinship care, and the need of respite, provide a detailed explanation.
    • Work hours.  Provide your schedule and what makes it a special circumstance.
    • Unique circumstance that prevents you from tending to children’s needs at this time.
  • Eligibility requires parents be employed, and seeking help for their children’s unique circumstances.  Funding is not for families who are simply out of work and unable to pay bills.
  • There are other programs we offer to assist in other ways.
  • If your district has suspended “in person school” it does not necessarily constitute a “special circumstance”.
  • Scholarships are meant for in-home care for children who are unable to attend school or typical child care.
  • Be patient with the application process. We are getting through them as quickly as possible.
  • If you do not meet eligibility standards you will be notified by mail.

NOTE: HRDC 7 is receiving an extremely high volume of Special Circumstances Grant applications. Given the high demand, they are being processed as quickly as possible.

  • All applications are reviewed based on the information provided. Please include specific evidence regarding your family’s special circumstances and the reasons you require in-home care.
  • We will notify applicants upon approval, denial, and or if more information is required.
  • Incomplete applications and those requiring additional information will be placed on hold.
  • If you have been asked to supply additional information, respond as quickly as possible because all applications are processed in the order in which they are received.
  • If funding is depleted, applicants will be placed on a waiting list as we work to secure additional funds.
  • The scholarship does not cover all circumstances and is not guaranteed.
HRDC Special Circumstance Grant Application


HRDC 7 Child Care Department serves the following counties:
Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Fallon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Powder River, Rosebud, Sweet Grass, Stillwater, Treasure, Wheatland, Yellowstone