Schools across the state will be opening their doors this month, and with some districts choosing either full time or part time remote learning, there will be extra child care costs for parents.

The State of Montana will direct $50 million to increase child care options for Montana families and bolster the state’s child care infrastructure in response to COVID-19.

Administrator of the Early Childhood and Family Support Division of the Montana Department of Health and Human Resources, Jamie Pelagi explained Governor Bullock’s actions on Tuesday.

“The governor is highlighting the importance of Montanans getting back to work, and also the importance of supporting families who might be facing uncertainty around how to make sure their kids have the childcare that they need, especially in relation to the pandemic situation that we're all facing,” said Pelagi. “This proposal from the governor or this commitment really shows the strategies and support for communities and families across the state.”

Pelagi explained where some of the $50 million will be spent.

“Some of it is money that will be available through a grant opportunity at COVID released empty.gov, and $30 million will be granted to maintain and expand childcare for school aged children during out of school time. So folks who might be eligible to submit for that funding include community organizations, nonprofit organizations for profit School District, licensed childcare centers.”

Pelagi said working parents shouldn’t have to sacrifice to help their children benefit from remote learning.

“It's very clear that the priority from the governor and even our Director of  DPHHS, and directors of the other departments, is to make sure that we're supporting the workforce,” she said. “We're supporting people who need to get to work and we're making sure that parents have resources and support so they can work in a really good way and know that their kids are cared for at the same time.”

Pelagi explained how parents can apply directly for the state aid.

“Families can apply through childcare resource and referral agencies for scholarships to help offset some of their costs for in home care,” she said. “They'll be eligible for up to about $4,000 give or take in terms of support, otherwise families are receiving support probably through funding that's used to support the childcare provider or these facilities. And then of course, we have our regular programs in place at DPHHS to support low income families as well.”

Click this link for the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency to apply for the state funds. The funding comes from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.