For Families

Quality Care
Finding Child Care
Paying for Child Care
Children with Special Needs
How to Report a Licensing Concern
Licensing Portal
Community Resource Guide
Family Support Groups
Free Home Visiting Programs


Quality Care

Choosing a child care provider for your child is one of the most important decisions families make.  The first five years are a critical time of growth and development and families are children’s first and most important teachers.  High quality early childhood care and education gives children the experiences they need to enter school ready to succeed while providing parents the opportunity to work and support their families.

Steps to Choosing Quality Child Care

Start Early!  Finding the best child care for your family takes time.  There are many types of child care programs to meet the diverse needs of families such as Center, Family, Group, After School, Preschool, Drop-in, and Family/Friend/Neighbor Care.

When considering your child care options, look for child care programs with the following qualifications:

Quality Rating Improvement System

The Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Program is a voluntary quality rating improvement system that aligns quality indicators with support and incentives for early childhood programs and professionals.


NAEYC – National Association for the Education of Young Children

NAFCC – National Association for Family Child Care

Training and Education

Health and Safety:  Current CPR and First Aid certifications, Emergency Preparedness Plan, Safe Sleep Training, Medication Administration Training, Child and Adult Care Food Program

Child Development:  Infant/Toddler and Preschool Certifications, Child Development Associate Credential, Associate or Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education

Common Child Care Business Practices

Provider Rates:  Providers are a private business who set their own rates which may be hourly, daily, weekly or monthly.

Full or Part Time Slots:  Providers may require you to pay a full-time fee if your child attends part-time or some may have another child to fill the other part-time hours.

Authorized Child Pick-up List:  For your child’s safety, providers may only release a child to an approved list submitted by a parent.

Late Fees:  Providers may charge late fees for late child pick-ups or overdue bills.

Two Week Notice:  Providers may require a two week notice of a child’s last day of attendance.

Sick Child Policy:  State policy mandates that an ill child with fever, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. may not attend a child care for the health and safety of other children and staff.

Common Child Care Program Policies

Background Checks and Continuing Education for all staff

Parent Contract outlining policies, procedures, schedules, payment, illnesses, discipline, etc.

Open Door Policy:  Parents are welcome to visit at any time to check on their child.

Licensing and Registration Requirements

Center, Group, Family, and Family/Friend/Neighbor Care are required to be licensed, registered or certified.

Provider to Child Ratios

  • Center:  13 or more children with ratios based on the ages of the children
  • Group:  Two adults care for 7-12 children with a limit of 6 under 2 years
  • Family:  Up to 6 children with no more than 3 children under 2 years
  • Family/Friend/Neighbor:  All of the children from one family or up to 2 unrelated children.

Finding Child Care

Butte 4-C’s offers child care referrals to families looking for a child care provider. The referrals are free and customized to meet the needs of each individual family. See How to Find a Child Care Provider – Child Care Need Form under the Referrals tab.

Paying for Child Care

The Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship Program is available to families who are working and/or attending school who meet program requirements.

Employment and training requirements include:

  • A two parent household shall work a minimum of 120 hours each month
  • A single parent household shall work a minimum of 60 hours each month
  • A single parent who is attending school full-time, is not required to meet a work requirement
  • A two parent household, with both parents attending school full-time, are not required to meet a work requirement
  • A single parent who is attending school part-time shall work a minimum of 40 hours each month

Cooperate with Child Support Enforcement:

  • Families with a parent absent from the household must comply with the Child Support Enforcement Division, must have a parenting plan signed by a judge and filed with the court, or request a good cause exemption.

The Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship Program provides child care assistance dollars to help families pay for their child care.

For online application click here.

For sliding fee scale, click here.

Children with Special Needs

As a part of the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship Program, parents may inform their caseworker that their child has special needs. The caseworker will inform the Inclusion Specialist who will contact the parent. The Inclusion Specialist will then provide community resources for the parent and some forms for the parent to fill out with their childcare provider. The Inclusion Specialist will then submit completed documentation to the Early Childhood Services Bureau for approval. If approved, the provider will receive a scholarship increase.

How to Report a Licensing Concern

To report a concern regarding a registered or licensed child care facility contact the Quality Assurance Division here.

Licensing Portal

The Child Care Licensing Portal allows individuals to view the number and type of licensing inspections completed on specific child care facilities. The portal documents any deficiencies found during the inspections and steps the child care provider is taking to rectify the deficiencies. Click here to access the portal.

Community Resource Guide

Butte has a comprehensive Community Resource Guide that is created by Career Futures and available in hard copy or through the following link. The guide includes contact information for a wide variety of community resources including: aging services, Butte Silver Bow government contacts, child care, education services, employment and training services, family and partner violence services, food banks, nutrition programs, homeless shelters, health care for the homeless, hospitals, urgent care clinics, landlords, tenants, legal services, low income & affordable housing, mental health services, nursing homes, assisted living, social & community services, thrift stores, and transportation. Contact the Butte 4-C’s for a hard copy of the guide.

Family Support Groups

Butte 4-C’s offers two support groups to meet families’ needs.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group
The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren group is a support group for grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren. The group meets quarterly to talk about issues they are currently facing as they parent a second time around. Guest speakers are brought in for some of the specific topics such as legal issues. The group decides when and where they will meet. Contact the Butte 4-C’s for information on the next meeting.

Circle of Parents
Circle of Parents is a support group for parents that is also led by parents. The group meets monthly on the first Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm at the Butte 4-C’s. Child care is provided at no cost to families attending the meeting. Topics are chosen by the group with guest speakers attending at times to talk about community resources and programs available to families.

Free Home Visiting Programs

SafeCare – an evidence based program that provides information and resources to families with children age 0-5 in the areas of health, safety, parent/child interaction, communication, and problem solving. Helpful items such as a first aid kit, digital thermometer, safety locks, and a children’s health manual are provided to each family in this program. Families spend one-on-one time with a SafeCare professional each week for approximately four to six months. SafeCare is available in Butte and Anaconda. Both professionals and parents may submit a referral for this program. Click the link for the home visiting referral form.