For parents of young children
CCR is available to help as best we can during this current time of challenge. Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, our office is closed to the public and we are no longer taking appointments. Our CCR team will continue to be available during our regular business hours to assist you by phone, email, fax, and mail. If you would like to drop off paperwork, you can use the drop box in the alley located behind our building. If you would like to pick up paperwork, there is a stacker with scholarship forms located outside our office door. If you have questions about what forms you may need, please contact us by phone or email in advance.
We know these changes are uncomfortable, inconvenient, and less friendly than we prefer. We are doing our best to keep you and our staff as safe as possible. Thanks for your patience while the CCR crew has done our best to meet your needs while working from home.
We realize this is a stressful time for you and your kids. To help you get through it, we recommend that you engage in fun activities together – games, books, cooking, playing outside.
- Here is a comprehensive resource for Supporting Young Children During COVID-19.
- CCR has some tips for parents sheltering at home with their young children.
- The National Head Start Association has compiled some great supports for parents here.
- Healthy Start has resource guides for Pregnancy and New Parenthood during COVID-19 and Parenting during COVID-19.
CARES Act Grants
Emergency Housing Assistance Program will provide rent, security deposit, mortgage payment, and/or hazard insurance assistance as-needed for Montanans who have lost a job or substantial income loss as a result of COVID-19. Initial payments may include up to three months assistance where the eligible household can demonstrate arrears for April and May, with continuable inability to make their June payment. Montana Housing will pay the difference between 30 percent of the household’s current gross monthly income and their eligible housing assistance costs, up to $2,000 a month. Household income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 based on family size. Montanans receiving other forms of housing assistance are not eligible. Total funding available is $50 million. A comprehensive information resource and application portal is available at COVIDRelief.mt.gov.
Child Care Options During COVID-19
If you need to go to work and your child’s school or child care facility is closed, there are options available for your family. If you need help finding child care, please contact us for assistance.
We also realize that deciding when to bring your child back to their child care program or choosing a new program can be a challenging decision. Click here for a checklist on considerations for choosing or returning to child care during the pandemic, and here is a great social story to share with your child about staying healthy at school.
Do not take your children to child care for 14 days if:
- Anyone in your household is sick.
- You have been in contact with someone who has been tested and diagnosed as positive for coronavirus and/or COVID-19.
The Missoula City County Health Department issued Phase 2 guidance for child care settings as well as additional guidance for the use of face coverings. Effective July 9, Missoula City County Health Department now requires face coverings in indoor spaces. And effective July 15, Governor Bullock announced a face mask mandate for Montana. Make sure the facility your child is attending adheres to these guidelines.
Some families may be able to use family, friends or neighbors as caregivers. CCR advises you to use an informal caregiver who is under age 60, in good health and has no underlying health problems. Having someone care for only your children, rather than using a group setting, reduces the risk of infection to your child and the risk your child might transmit the disease to others. Young children cannot understand or remember to maintain 6 feet of distance and child care providers must touch children to care for them. Here are some tips for informal caregivers which are also useful for parents.
The Missoula City-County Health Department now requires face coverings in indoor public spaces and Governor Bullock’s mandate requires face coverings in counties with at least 4 active COVID-19 cases, but recommends it in all counties. This includes children over the age of 5 and is recommended for children ages 2-4. Children under the age of two should not wear a face covering. Click here for more details. If you are located outside of Missoula County, Governor Bullock recently announced an FAQ clarifying that employees and children in child care are not required to wear masks, but it is still strongly recommended. Providers and families in Missoula County are required to follow the more restrictive measures of each mandate which includes employees and children ages 12+ wearing a mask in child care while indoors. Here is a resource from the CDC with DIY instructions for making your own cloth face covering.
Resources for talking to children about face masks:
- Masks Aren’t Scary! A COVID-19 story about face masks for children ages 0-3
- Wear Face Masks, Stop Germs! A COVID-19 story about face masks for children ages 4-6
Best Beginnings Scholarships
Governor Bullock issued an emergency child care directive which gives DPHHS Early Childhood Services Bureau flexibility to modify scholarship rules and procedures under the directive’s broad guidelines. The Bureau approved additional assistance for scholarship recipients for March, April, and May.
- Absent Days – the limit on the number of paid absence days did not apply due to the emergency. If the facility you use was open, but you did not bring your child to care during these three months, the scholarship will pay/paid for hours your scholarship was authorized.
- Child Care Closure – if your child care program was closed due to the pandemic for a period of time during these three months, and you did not use a different child care facility, the scholarship can pay your provider to cover the time they had to close due to the pandemic.
- If your usual facility is closed, the scholarship travels with you to any other licensed child care program. Let us know if you need help finding one with openings.
- Changes – Remember to report changes timely regarding your phone number, email, mailing address, child care provider, activities, and income. Income and activity changes reported may decrease your co-payment. If you are unemployed as a result of the current emergency policy, please contact your caseworker to see if you are eligible for a grace period.
CCR expects more scholarship policy flexibility to be issued soon. Check back and watch for our e-news.
Please make sure we have your email address so we can contact you promptly if we receive new information. You can email your caseworker directly to be sure we have your address or you can send an email to our general inbox.