Montana Public Radio

child care

Illustration showing a woman holding an infant while working on a computer.
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Child care isn’t easy to find or pay for in Montana. While research shows the lack of affordable child care options has major impacts on the state’s economy and workforce, Montana lawmakers came out of the 2021 legislative session with fundamental disagreements about how to address the problem.

Changes In Child Care Standards Could Close Provider's Doors
Province of British Columbia

Montana is allocating $50 million to increase the availability of child care in response to COVID-19, Gov. Steve Bullock said Tuesday.

“As more Montanans return to work and families prepare for the upcoming school year, we must ensure there are options to provide high-quality and flexible care during this emergency,” Bullock said in a statement.


Child care is a critical part of Montana’s economic recovery from COVID-19 as more parents return to work. But some providers have closed permanently and others are struggling, adding to an already dire shortage. Recently released federal funding may only provide short term relief as the state faces a child care crisis.

A recent informal survey of Missoula parents highlights some of the biggest ongoing local childcare needs and challenges.
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Governor Steve Bullock announced May 6 that $10 million is now available to Montana child care providers funded through the federal CARES Act Child Care & Development Block Grant.

A recent informal survey of Missoula parents highlights some of the biggest ongoing local childcare needs and challenges.
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Affordable and easily accessible childcare is just as elusive in Montana as it is everywhere else in America. At a luncheon Tuesday, a Missoula County group called Healthy Start Missoula that’s supported by a federal grant laid out the challenges and offered one potential private-sector solution.

Healthy Start Coordinator, Anna Semple, says parents now have precious few infant childcare options:

Changes In Child Care Standards Could Close Provider's Doors
Province of British Columbia

New federal regulations are changing how daycare centers are allowed to operate in Montana. While state officials write a plan for these new rules, some childcare providers are unsure about the future of their businesses.