LEGISLATIVE SNAPSHOT

Early Childhood

Montana is one of eight states without a publicly-funded pre-kindergarten option for four year olds

Highlights

  • The Department of Public Health and Human Services has a registration and a license process for different types of child care providers. Over 900 facilities are currently registered and/or licensed. Those facilities have a capacity for over 18,000 children. Visit their website to find child care providers: http://ccubs-sanswrite.hhs.mt.gov/MontanaPublic/ProviderSearch.aspx
  • In 2014, Montana adopted the “Montana Early Learning Standards,” which guide the work of early childhood professionals to ensure that Montana children from birth to age five have the skills and knowledge they need to achieve success in learning to reach their full potential in life.
  • 2010 Child Care and Development Fund estimates put the cost of child care in Montana for an infant at 47% of a single mother’s median income and 14% of a two-parent family’s median income.

Featured Maps

Ready 2 Read

http://ready2readmontana.org/

In Montana – perhaps more so than in other states – libraries are community hubs for healthy child and family development. The Montana State Library’s Ready 2 Read program helps to educate parents and caregivers about how best to develop language and literacy skills in their children. Montana libraries have a long history of providing free, high-quality educational programming for young children. Montana libraries are also virtually everywhere – from the smallest tribal community to our largest metropolitan area – and they serve communities where there is absolutely nothing else available for young children. Libraries build on how children learn best, by designing and delivering content-rich and play-based experiences that link early learning best practice to books, programming, and collections. Our resources empower parents and caregivers to explore, pose questions, make connections, exchange information and ideas, and instill in young children not only a love of learning, but also the skills for learning.

Ready 2 Read Programs and Licensed Childcare Facilities

Children Ages 3 and 4 Not Attending Preschool, by Poverty Status

Statewide
2005-2007 2009-2011 2010-2012
Children below 200% poverty not in preschool 7,000 68% 8,000 60% 8,000 63%
Children at or above 200% poverty not in preschool 70,000 58% 6,000 53% 7,000 57%

Child Care Licensing

Department of Public Health and Human Services - Search for Child Care Providers

The Department of Health and Human Services has a registration and a license process for various types of child care providers. Over 900 facilities are currently registered and/or licensed. Those facilities have a capacity for over 18,000 children.

Best Beginnings STARS to Quality

The Department of Public Health and Human Services administers the Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Program, which is a voluntary quality rating improvement system that aligns quality indicators with support and incentives for early childhood programs and early childhood professionals. Nearly 200 programs participate across the state. Participants have access to training to meet the various requirements.

Head Start Enrollment by Age Group

Statewide
Age Group 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
<3 733 808 804 897 977
3 1,861 1,874 1,884 1,795 1,841
4 2,628 2,545 2,669 2,437 2,720
5 years and older 157 187 59 69 33
Total 5,379 5,414 5,416 5,198 5,571

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