To our valued providers
CCR is available to help during this challenging time. 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.
We will not be scheduling site visits or offering fingerprint services during Phase 2 unless instructed to do so. Workshops will continue via Zoom for now unless we are able to offer the workshop outside. Online training is a great option – always at distance and available to you 24/7.
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 does our best to meet your needs remotely.
We’ll continue to 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
- March 2020 Message from ECSB – Patty Butler regarding scholarship payments
- April 2020 ECSB Frequently Asked Questions
- June 2020 ECSB FAQ – Scholarship COVID-19 Invoice Backpay — Licensed providers that suspended operations during the pandemic and have reopened, please check this FAQ for details!
- September 2020 ECSB Frequently Asked Questions
CARES Act Grants Update
Great news! Governor Bullock announced that he is directing $50 million to maintain and expand child care and support Montana families. Included in this will be funding to expand school-age care, scholarships to families with special circumstances requiring in-home care, and an additional payment to all licensed and registered child care facilities.
Payment to Licensed Providers
**Important Update: These grants are ending on 10/16/2020. At this time, there is no guarantee that new applications will be funded due to minimal funding remaining. If you are a current licensed provider and have not received a provider grant or submitted an application, please contact us right away at 728-6446!
There will be a third payment to all licensed and registered child care programs to maintain and expand slots. Payments will be:
- $6,000 for Family Child Care
- $9,000 for Group Child Care
- $13,000 for Centers
If you received the first or second CARES Act payment, there is no additional application and there is nothing you need to do at this time. Payments will be processed by mid-October. If you are a new provider or were closed during the first and second payment rounds, we will contact you directly with an application or feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
If you do not receive payment by mid-October, contact CCR and we will follow up with the state to find out what is holding it up.
In-Home Grants for Families
If you know families who need help with in-home care due to special circumstances such as medically vulnerable family members, unique work schedules, children with special needs, or rural families who have no access to out-of-school care options, there are $4,000 scholarships available to families. Please have them contact us or visit our COVID parent webpage for the application.
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.
CARES Act Grants to Child Care Businesses are taxable income. Check out this article by Tom Copeland, a national expert on the business of family child care, for more information. CCR also strongly recommends that you talk to a tax professional before finalizing your 2020 taxes.
Best Beginnings Scholarship
School Age Reimbursements:
Effective 8/1/2020 in response to the pandemic, state school-age reimbursement rates were changed to match the higher state preschool-age rate. Beginning 11/1, the scholarship will start reimbursing school age children at either the provider’s school-age rate or the state’s rate, whichever is lower. Here is a state flyer outlining this change. If your current school-age rate is lower than the state’s rate, you will be paid at the lower rate beginning 11/1. If you would like to be paid at the state rate, you can update your school-age rates to match. Please note that this will change rates for private pay families as well so you may not wish to make any adjustments. Click here to view the current state reimbursement rates (scroll to the bottom for temporary COVID-rates). Click here if you would like to update your rates.
Beginning November 1, school-age children can be authorized for up to 30 hours per week during the 2020/2021 school year regardless of the learning environment and school schedule. This limitation in hours is to comply with federal rules regarding school age care. If you serve school-age children that are currently authorized for more than 30 hours, this re-authorization will take effect 11/1/2020 and the scholarship will only cover 30 hours even if school is not in session. If a child receives the Special Needs Subsidy or if parents work non-traditional hours, they may be eligible for more 30 hours. Parents should contact their case worker for questions on these circumstances. Providers will receive new authorizations in the mail for any school-age children. Here is a state flyer outlining the changes.
Co-payments & Sliding Fee Scale:
Beginning November 1, the sliding fee scale will be updated. This may change the copay for some of your families. New income limits can be found here. Co-payments will automatically be re-determined and providers will receive a change of copay notice for any family this affects. New amounts will appear on invoices and in the portal beginning in November.
Montana has accepted federal CACFP waivers which create flexibility for participating child care facilities. Specifically, facilities participating in CACFP may temporarily:
- forego the Montana requirement for a Family Style Meal service;
- 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.
- Note: Meal Pattern Substitutions are currently approved for the 2020/2021 school year. Substitutions are only approved on a case-by-case basis if an item is unavailable due to a reduction in supply. A provider is required to receive approval prior to making a substitution.
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.
New COVID-19 Resources:
- COVID-19 Health Policy Template for child care businesses
- Working with Infants and Toddlers
- Social Emotional Well-being
- Check In / Check Out Protocols
- Disinfecting and Sanitizing
- Mixed Age Groups (for centers)
- Outdoor Activities with Children
- Child Care Licensing COVID-19 Child Care Facility Daily Checklist
- Guidance from the Missoula City/County Heath Department on Phase 2 in child care facilities
- 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
We recently delivered non-contact thermometers to facilities in our region. Here are some additional resources that you might find helpful:
- Calibration Instructions & Quick Start Guide
- Manual of Medical Infrared Thermometer
- YouTube Tutorial
Face Coverings in Child Care
Missoula County: The Missoula City-County Health Department issued a directive effective July 9 for face coverings in indoor spaces. In addition, Governor Bullock issued a statewide mask mandate effective July 15 for counties with at least 4 active COVID-19 cases, but recommended in all counties. If you are a provider in Missoula County, you must follow the more restrictive measures of each mandate. Face masks are required in child care facilities because they are a business and subject to this order. Employees and children ages 12 and up must wear a mask indoors. Children under 2 should never wear them. Exceptions include when children and adults are engaged in strenuous exercise or other conditions where it would be unsafe or impractical. Parents must also wear them at drop off and pick up. Face shields are also not permitted as a replacement for a cloth face covering.
Ravalli & Mineral County: Governor Bullock issued a statewide mask mandate effective July 15 for counties with at least 4 active COVID-19 cases, but recommended in all counties. Providers in Ravalli and Mineral County can use a face shield as an acceptable form of face covering. Governor Bullock also announced in an FAQ that employees and children in a child care are not required to wear a face covering, however it is strongly recommended wherever possible. This is listed under “Mask/Face Covering FAQ” and “Restaurants and Other Business” tab.
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: For Kids – Wearing Masks
Resource – Social Stories
Business and Financial Support
- Communicate honestly, clearly and often with your families, employees, venders and lenders.
- Review your contract regarding payment and cancellations.
- 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.
Training & First Aid/CPR
- The federal waiver which allowed First Aid/CPR training to be completed online expires on September 30, 2020. As of October 1, all child care teaching/caregiving staff will once again be required to take hands-on First Aid/CPR training. Licensing and ECP approved Simple CPR online course certifications taken prior to October 1 will be accepted and honored through their expiration date. Any new hires or certificate renewals on or after October 1 will need to complete a hands-on training. Check our Professional Development page for a list of local offerings.
- Discounted rates on ChildCareTraining.org! Courses are currently being offered at half price! Please visit the Course Catalog for a full listing.
- Courses via Video Conference – Check out our training calendar to register. Registrants will receive a link to these courses via email.