Becoming a Provider

Cieluch_Woman_smiling_baby_220 In Montana, you can care for up to two unrelated children or all of the children from one family without being registered or licensed. If you want to care for three or more children, you must be registered or licensed. There are three categories of regulated child care in Montana: family child care, group child care and child care centers.

Family Child Care
One adult can care for up to six children; no more than three of the children may be under the age of two. Facility is often housed within the home of the individual child care provider.
Group Child Care
Two adults may care for up to 12 children; no more than six of the children may be under the age of two. Facility can be in the home of the primary child care provider or in another location.

A family or group home may also be registered to allow some overlap time when they can take extra children during specific hours of the day, such as before and after school.

Child Care Center
Centers are licensed to care for 13 or more children based on the following staff ratios:

4:1 Infants 0-2 years
8:1 Children 2-3 years
10:1 Children 4-6 years
14:1 Children 6+ years

Child Care Centers usually operate in a facility outside of a person’s home. Typically children are arranged in rooms based on the age of the child, they have multiple staff, and a center director.

If you are interested in becoming a child care provider, please visit the Quality Assurance Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to find out the requirements for each type of child care environment.

After learning about how to become licensed, register for one of our free child care provider orientations.

Legally Certified Providers
All paperwork for the Best Beginnings Legally Certified Provider (LCP) Program, formerly Legally Unregistered Provider (LUP), will be processed by a centralized agency, Family Connections MT. Please visit for more information, or call toll free, 1.800.696.4503.