MISSOULA, Mont. — Montana is allocating $50 million to increase the availability of child care in response to COVID-19.
The funding comes from the $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief aid the state received.
A total of $30 million will be distributed in grants to providers who care for school-age children out of school time.
An additional $10 million will be allocated to families with health needs and special needs requiring in-home care. Finally, $8 million will be divided among all licensed and registered childcare facilities in the state.
The following was sent out by the Office of Governor Bullock:
Governor Steve Bullock today announced he will direct $50 million to increase child care options for Montana families and bolster the state’s child care infrastructure in response to COVID-19.
“As more Montanans return to work and families prepare for the upcoming school year, we must ensure there are options to provide high quality and flexible care during this emergency,” Governor Bullock said. “In addition to filling gaps in care for families, this funding will also sustain providers as they work to maintain and expand childcare options to ensure that even in challenging times, our kids can still receive the care and education fundamental to our state’s future.”
The funding, allocated from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, will be used to provide in-home care for families with special circumstances and to maintain and expand child care for children 0 to 5 as well as school age children.
Funding will be allocated as follows:
“Many of the families we serve include vulnerable, at-risk children who may not be able to return to school under the current pandemic circumstances,” DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan said. “Further, children in foster and kinship care and children with disabilities are in need of additional support.”
Programs eligible to receive $30 million in grants include for-profit businesses, non-profit and community organizations, school districts providing childcare and licensed child care providers. The funding can be used to address health and safety needs related to COVID-19, tuition, transportation, training, and other expenses to maintain and expand care for school-age children during out of school time.
A total of $10 million will provide scholarships for families with special circumstances in need of in-home care. Priority will be given to families with health needs, special needs, or based on the family’s unique situation. This funding will be administered by the CCR&R agencies across the state and is intended to help offset additional costs families may face due to unique child care needs.
Another $8 million will be distributed to all licensed and registered facilities to maintain and expand childcare slots, to cover increased staff costs, recruitment, address health and safety, and meet sanitation needs. The funding will be allocated proportionally based on if the facility holds a family, group and center license.
CCR&R agencies will receive $2 million for administration and outreach. CCR&R will increase support for recruitment, outreach and the administration of the new family scholarship program. The funding will include support for existing child care providers, especially in identifying short- and long-term strategies in response to COVID-19.
Anyone with questions about this funding opportunity can also call 1-888-333-0461 for assistance.