Grants and Incentives

Girl_in_front_of_computer_340The state of Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services’ Early Childhood Services Bureau (ECSB) supports quality early care and education programs for all children. The ECSB funds many programs, called Best Beginnings Quality Initiatives, to provide additional funding in the form of grants and incentives to child care professionals in Montana.

Professional Development Incentive Award

Several types of Early Childhood Workforce Incentives have been developed with the goal to support professional development and improve overall program quality in early care and education in Montana for young children and families. They include:

  • Practitioner Registry Renewal Awards and Practitioner Registry Achievement Awards.
  • Professional Development Incentive Awards (formerly known as Merit Pay) for completion of non-college credit training.
  • Higher Education Professional Development Incentive Awards upon completion of Early Childhood college coursework.
  • Infant/Toddler and Preschool Course Professional Development Incentive Awards upon completion of 60-hour Infant/Toddler or Preschool Course.

Visit the Montana Early Childhood Project Professional Development Incentive Awards.

The Montana Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program (MECAP) – Get a mentor and financial stipend to support your on-the-job training in an early childhood program while you are pursuing core college coursework. The mentor receives a stipend as does the host program. The result is that an apprentice learns both the theoretical and practical aspects of the job, earns a Child Care Development Specialist Certificate from the Department of Labor and Industry, and achieves Level 4 on the Montana Practitioner Registry. Receiving an apprentice stipend does not disqualify participants from receiving other quality program incentives. Learn more about the apprentice program.

Mini Grants

The remaining Mini Grant funding allocation for Missoula, Mineral and Ravalli counties is $5,795.98. Please submit grant requests by June 15, 2017. CCR’s Mini Grant Committee will make grant decisions within 30 days. This will be your last opportunity to request mini grant funding during the funding cycle.

As always, this funding is intended to support child care providers not currently participating in the STARS to Quality program. The funding is to be used to support efforts to meet licensing regulations, as well as other identified needs that may be defined by the child care provider and approved by CCR’s Mini Grant Committee. More details can be found at the link below.

Providers may only receive one mini grant per year. If you have received a grant in the past year, you must wait 12 months from the end of your contract date to apply again. Family and group facilities are eligible to apply for up to $2,000 and centers are eligible to apply for up to $3,000.

Applications can be submitted to Child Care Resources by mail, fax or email. CCR’s mailing address is PO Box 7038, Missoula, MT 59807. Our fax number is 406.549.1189. If you submit your application via email, please send it to and put Mini Grant Application in the subject line.

Both of these forms need to be filled out and submitted:

  • Application materials can be found here.
  • Supplemental application materials, which must be included with your application, can be found here.

All funding must be expended within six months after the grant is awarded.


There are several scholarships available through the Montana Early Childhood Project to help early childhood professionals achieve their professional development goals. For a description of the scholarships available and the application process for each, please visit the Montana Early Childhood Project.