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Need help paying for child care?

We administer

Montana's Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship 

to help families with low income

cover the cost of Child Care.

Before you apply, check out our FAQs.

HOW TO APPLY

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If you don’t have a personal computer, prefer to have a paper application mailed to you or simply have questions, we are here to help!

Call us at 406.728.6446 to get an application or talk to a Eligibility Specialist.

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You are also welcome to stop by our office at 2409 Dearborn Ave., Ste. L, Missoula, MT 59801 at any time

No appointment needed

If you would like assistance with the application process, have any questions or want other resources, please email or call our Family Engagement Specialist.

Click here for more information

Including the state’s basic eligibility requirements (effective 7/1/2023) for the Montana program

  • What are the program’s work / school requirements?
    If you are not receiving TANF benefits, the scholarship requirements vary based on the following: Single-parent household, not attending school, must work a minimum of 60 hours a month, or about 15 hours per week average. Two-parent household, neither parent attending school, must work a minimum of 120 hours per month, or about 30 hours per week between both adults. If you are attending school part or full time, please contact us for eligibility requirements.
  • What is the child support requirement?
    In Montana, eligibility for child care assistance requires you to meet one of the following requirements for any child in the household with an absent parent: Have a compliant case with Montana Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED). Have a parenting plan approved through the courts and signed by a judge. Have evidence of good cause for not pursuing child support. Good cause exemptions may be granted when there is a risk of harm to either you or your child if you were to seek child support from the absent parent, or in cases of rape or incest. Contact Child Care Resources if you have questions about meeting the child support requirement.
  • What will this cost me? (My Investment)
    Income Qualifications: Maximum Income Limits
  • How much will my copayment be?
    If you qualify for the scholarship program, you will pay a copayment based on your household size and gross monthly income, instead of paying the full cost of child care Copayments are determined based on a family’s gross monthly income and family size, and will be between 1% and 9% of your monthly income before deductions such as taxes or benefits Copayment is a monthly payment that is paid directly to your licensed child care provider All copayments must be received by the child care provider in order for eligibility to continue at the time of your annual renewal
  • What does the scholarship cover?
    The Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship is meant to supplement the cost of child care and will not cover your entire child care bill. Any amount that is not paid by the scholarship is your responsibility. This will include your copayment amount, and the difference between the state reimbursement rates and your child care provider’s rates when your provider charges more than the state rates. Your financial responsibility may also include: Days your child care provider bills for holidays. Vacation or sick days when your child care provider is closed. Application or activity fees which are not covered the scholarship program. Click here for more information on state reimbursement rates, or contact your Eligibility Specialist.
  • Where can I find additional forms like the Work Verification or School / Training Verification?
    Supplemental forms can be found here. Please talk to your Eligibility Specialist if you have questions about which forms are needed for your situation.
  • How long is an eligibility period?
    A typical eligibility period for the child care scholarship is one year from the month in which you apply, but there are some circumstances that may make the eligibility period shorter. When you are approved, you will be sent a notice that tells you the dates that you are eligible for assistance.
  • How do I know if I’m approved and what is approved?
    When you are approved, you will be mailed a notice that tells you the dates you are approved for assistance, what your monthly copayment amount is, and the hours of child care that have been authorized under your child care scholarship.
  • What changes need to be reported during my eligibility?
    Any time you have a change in your work or school status or a change of address you must report the change within 10 business days. If you have experienced a job loss, a grace period is available to help you with child care while you look for work. A change in child care provider must be reported within at least one business day in order to avoid a lapse in payment to your new child care provider. Changes cannot be backdated and will start the day the Eligibility Specialist is notified.
  • Temporary Child Care Assistance for Health Care Worker
    Funding is limited and applications will be processed on a first-come first-serve basis, with prioritization for employees who work in facilities reliant on Medicaid funding. At least one parent in the household must provide direct care services to patients or clients in health care; behavioral health; disability services; or long-term care settings, including home and community-based services, assisted living, skilled nursing, or home health. For more information and more detailed eligibility criteria, please click here To apply, please complete the application and submit it to Child Care Resources.

FAQs

FAQs
Image by Steven Ungermann

Child Care Worker
Scholarship Program

A one-time only child care assistance program is available for eligible childcare employees through the Montana Bright Futures Birth to Five Grant (BF B-5). Funding is limited and applications are processed on a first come first serve basis.

  • At least one parent/ guardian in the household must be a staff member working directly with children at a child care facility.
     

  • For more information and a detailed eligibility criteria click here
     

  • To apply, please complete the application and submit it to Child Care Resources. 

Child Care Workers
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