To our valued providers
CCR is available to help during this challenging time of the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. Our office is temporarily closed to the public in compliance with Governor Bullock’s shelter in place order. CCR staff are now working remotely. We check voicemail, route it to the appropriate staff member, receive and send email, pick up our mail and faxes, and check our drop box in the alley behind our office at 500 N. Higgins.
CCR will receive information from the DPHHS Early Childhood Services Bureau as soon as decisions are finalized. Now that the Governor has issued the emergency care directive, we expect decisions under the broad guidelines of that directive to roll out soon. We’ll post updates here and communicate with you via email. If you do not receive our e-newsletter, please email us and ask us to add you to our distribution list.
Communication from the State of Montana
- Governor Bullock’s Emergency Child Care Directive
- Message from ECSB – Patty Butler regarding scholarship payments
- ECSB Frequently Asked Questions
CARES Act Grants
Grants to Licensed/Registered Child Care Businesses – The CARES Act includes funding specifically for the child care industry. Grants are available to all licensed/registered child care programs. The application is available here. This document is a fillable Word document. After completing the form please save it as a Word document for fastest screening. If you do not have Word, you may use Google Docs or download a free office suite from http://www.openoffice.org/. This is an open source website that provides free programs. Contact Dylan Griffin for more information at email@example.com.
You may also fill it out by hand and scan or mail it to us as well. CCR team members will screen applications quickly to assure they are complete and forward them daily to the Early Childhood Services Bureau. Processing these application is a state priority, but CCR does not know how soon payments will be sent. If you are unable to access the application, or have other technical difficulties please contact us and we will support you in ensuring your application is completed and submitted.
Other CARES Act Grants – Montana also has grants to businesses, social service nonprofits, and to individuals who are having trouble paying housing costs due to the pandemic. These grants are competitive. Applications open on May 7th. A comprehensive information resource and application portal is available at COVIDRelief.mt.gov. To prepare for the application, businesses and non-profits should have their tax ID, proof of business registration, a brief description of how the grant will be spent, and a brief description of how COVID-19 has impacted their operations. Homeowners and renters should have bank account information available and verification of job or income loss.
Montana has accepted federal CACFP waivers which create flexibility for participating child care facilities. Specifically, facilities participating in CACFP may:
- forego the Montana requirement for a Family Style Meal service effective through June 30, 2020, or upon expiration of the declared public health emergency, whichever is earlier;
- be approved to serve breakfast, lunch, or supper without milk, when emergency conditions prevent an institution or facility from having a normal supply of milk;
- or may be approved to provide service of meals without milk-provided an equivalent of canned, whole dry or fat-free dry milk is used in the preparation of the components of the meal when unable to obtain a supply of milk on a continuing basis.
If your home child care is participating in CCR’s CACFP contact Claudette for more guidance. If you are participating with a different sponsor or the state you must contact them to obtain approval.
- COVID-19 Health Policy Template for child care businesses
- Child Care Licensing COVID-19 Child Care Facility Daily Checklist
- Guidance from the Missoula City/County Heath Department –Health Departments statewide have issued similar guidance
- Centers for Disease Control
- Child Care Aware of America Flowchart on considerations for re-opening child care or transitioning to serving more children
- Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance from American Camp Association and YMCA of the USA
Cloth Face Coverings in Child Care
The Missoula-City County Health Department along with the CDC are encouraging people to wear cloth face coverings when 6 feet of physical distancing is not allowed in a public setting. The Missoula-City County Health Department recommends staff at child care facilities wear cloth face coverings when maintaining a 6 foot distance is not possible. They are not recommending that children wear coverings unless they can wear them appropriately and in accordance with CDC guidance. And remember, wearing a face covering does not replace the need to continue all other health and safety measures.
- Missoula City/County Health Department guidance on face coverings in child care
- Guidance from the CDC and DIY instructions for making cloth face coverings
- Video: Why the New Face Mask Recommendations
- Video: How to Make Your Own Face Covering
- Video: How to Put On and Take Off Cloth Masks
Resource – Books
Business and Financial Support
- Communicate honestly, clearly and often with your families, employees, venders and lenders.
- Review your contract regarding payment and cancellations. As the stay at home order goes on, it’ll be difficult for unemployed parents to pay tuition. And, if you are closed and essential workers must find other child care, it’ll be difficult, maybe impossible, for parents to pay two facilities. Can scholarship parents afford co-payments when they are not working? Could you waive scholarship co-payments for unemployed parents? Child care businesses are faced with hard decisions as are parents. You need to make it through this crisis, and your decisions will help you be at capacity within a week of the end of the stay at home order.
- Unemployment – under the CARES Act, there is no waiting week and there is a $600/week supplemental benefit amount. And, importantly, self employed workers, including child care business owners, are eligible. The Department of Labor unemployment phone is busy and you could be on hold for hours. The website is overtaxed and sometimes problematic. It works best between 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM. Apply here.
- The Small Business Administration has loan programs designed specifically to support businesses during this crisis, including nonprofit businesses. Learn more about these programs:
- More information at the SBA website.
- The Families First Act requires employers to offer paid sick leave in response to the coronavirus. Because most child care businesses employee fewer than 50 people, it is possible to obtain an exemption. Learn more here.
Also, it’s a good time to get some annual training hours: There has been no indication from Child Care Licensing that there will be a relaxation of annual training requirements. We are waiting to hear which online First Aid/CPR certification training will be accepted. We will let you know and post it here as soon as we receive guidance.