For Providers

How to Become a Child Care Provider
Licensing Regulations
Professional Development
What is Quality Child Care?
STARS to Quality
Child and Adult Care Food Program
Child Care Referral Program for Providers
Resources
Mini-Grants
Early Childhood Initiatives

How to Become a Child Care Provider

Individuals providing child care in the State of Montana must be registered or licensed if they are caring for more than two children. There are four different registrations/ licenses for child care facilities:
• Registered Family Child Care Homes – one child care provider may care for up to six children
• Registered Group Child Care Homes – two child care providers may care for up to twelve children
• Licensed Centers – provides child care to over 13 children meeting the established ratio of providers to children
• Family Friend and Neighbor Care – may care for two children from separate families OR all of the children from one family

Individuals interested in becoming a licensed child care provider must:
• Complete a State of Montana Child Care Application, which can be found here.
• Complete a Criminal Background Check and Child Protective Services Background Check – fingerprinting services are available at the Butte 4-C’s
• Obtain liability insurance for the child care facility even if it is in your home
• Complete New Provider Orientation through the Butte 4-C’s

Applications, background checks, and proof of insurance are submitted to the Quality Assurance Division of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Professional Development Specialists at the Butte 4-C’s are available to visit your child care environment to answer questions and provide technical assistance.


Licensing Regulations

Montana licensing regulations for child care homes and centers may be found at here. There are regulations for child care homes, which includes family and group homes with separate regulations for child care centers.


Professional Development

All registered and licensed child care providers in the State of Montana must complete New Provider Orientation and annual training thereafter. Training is available in-person through the Butte 4-C’s or online at www.childcaretraining.org.

Butte 4-C’s has a quarterly training calendar with in-person training throughout our six county region (Silver Bow, Beaverhead, Madison, Deer Lodge, Powell, and Granite Counties). Please see our training calendar under How to Register for a Class.


What is Quality Child Care?

The Best Beginnings STARS to Quality program (STARS) is a quality rating improvement system developed by the State of Montana that aligns quality indicators with support and incentives for early childhood programs and early childhood professionals. STARS is a Continuous Quality Improvement model in which the quality of the overall program is continually being evaluated for quality improvement. There are five STAR levels in addition to an initial participant level. Child care programs may move up in STAR levels by meeting identified standards of quality.

STARS Child Care Providers in Southwest Montana

STARS-Logo
STAR facilities in Butte: 
• Kings Kids, STAR 2
• Small World, STAR 2
• AWARE Early Head Start, STAR 3
• University on Princeton, STAR 2
• Kids Konnection, STAR 2
• Young Explorers, STAR 2
• Sweet Pea Child Care, STAR 2
• Cradle to Crayons, STAR 2
• Kiddie Korner Early Learning Center, STAR 2
• Merry Bees, STAR 2
• LeeAnn Butt, STAR 2
• Wee Care, STAR 2
• Laughter & Lullabies, pre-STAR
• Kids R GR8, STAR 2
• Mini Miracles, STAR 1
• Rowdy Rascals, STAR 3
• Granny Jo’s, STAR 2
• Mini Sprouts, STAR 2

STAR facilities in Dillon: 
• Bright Beginnings Learning Center, STAR 2
• Janet Fjeseth, STAR 2
• Stepping Stones, STAR 2

STAR facilities in Ennis: 
• Ennis Community Children’s School, STAR 2

STAR facilities in Deer Lodge: 
• Building Blocks Child Care, STAR 3

STAR facilities in Opportunity: 
• Country Bumpkin, STAR 4


Child and Adult Care Food Program
CACFP logo

Butte 4-C’s contracts with the State of Montana to provide reimbursement to child care providers who serve nutritious meals and snacks to the children in their area. The CACFP is available to all registered and licensed child care providers. The CACFP also provides nutrition education to children, families, and child care providers. Please contact the Butte 4-C’s for more information or to become a CACFP provider.


Child Care Referral Program for Providers

Butte 4-C’s manages the child care referral program for Southwest Montana. Families who are looking for a child care provider may contact us for an individualized child care referral to meet their families’ needs.

All registered and licensed child care providers may choose to participate in the referral program. An initial Provider Information Form is filled out and submitted to the Butte 4-C’s. We create a provider profile in the referral database and contact the provider for updates on child care openings each month. This ensures that referrals going out to families have the most current and accurate information about the child care programs.

If you are a registered or licensed child care provider and would like to participate in the child care referral program, please contact the Butte 4-C’s.


Resources

There are numerous resources available to child care providers to make their programs successful. They include:

Early Childhood Project (ECP)
The ECP is housed at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. The ECP tracks early childhood career development through a professional development registry. Registered and licensed child care providers may apply to be on the ECP’s practitioner registry. Once you are on the ECP’s practitioner registry you are eligible for many incentive programs. Please click on the link below for this list.
Early Childhood Workforce and Program Incentives

Montana Association for the Education of Young Children
The Montana Association for the Education of Young Children is a collaborative professional organization intent on impacting local, state, and national issues affecting children, families and early care and education.
Montana AEYC is a growing membership organization of professionals that advocates for the early childhood workforce, quality care and education for young children and families; and provides leadership and professional development opportunities for the early care and education community.
Montana AEYC’s goals include:
• To improve early care and education through advocacy
• To promote, provide and support professional development for early childhood professionals
• To provide and promote leadership in early care and education
Montana AEYC values: young children and their families, early care and education professionals, and initiatives and programs that promote healthy growth, development and education.
The Montana AEYC has 10 chapters. For more information please visit their website at www.mtaeyc.org.

Montana Child Care Association
The Montana Child Care Association (MtCCA) was formed in 1975 by a group of child care providers to strengthen and safeguard the child care industry in Montana. They are a non-profit organization of child care programs in our state. MtCCA is also a member of the National Association of Family Child Care.
The purpose of the Montana Child Care Association is to provide educational opportunities that foster the growth and development of early childhood professionals, focusing on private providers of child care services to enhance the quality of care and educate young children and their families.
MtCCA has eight chapters. For more information please visit their Facebook page.



Mini-Grants

Mini grants are available to registered and licensed child care providers who are not participating in the STARS to Quality program. As a child care resource and referral agency, Butte 4-C’s manages mini-grants and infant/toddler mini-grants for Silver-Bow, Madison, Beaverhead, Powell, Deer Lodge, and Granite Counties.

Mini-grants may include funds to purchase infant/toddler items and items for other child care uses. The maximum award for a family/ group home facility is $2,000 and $3,000 for a center, although smaller amounts may be applied for and/or awarded. The committee may award less than the amount requested in an application in order to share the funding among other programs. Facilities may apply for only one mini-grant per year.

Priorities for mini-grants include:
• New providers who have recently become registered/licensed
• Facilities that need to meet licensing compliance issues such as the balance of funds needed for a full year of insurance, egress windows, play equipment, etc.
• Professional development, particularly courses necessary to meet STAR 1 requirements and to assist with year one professional development plans
• Practitioner registry fees for caregivers not formally in STARS
• Business equipment such as computers to manage CACFP claims and customer billing
• To assist in continual quality improvement

Mini-grants are not available to facilities enrolled in STARS as STARS incentives can be used for similar purposes.

Follow the link for the Mini-grant application: CCRR Mini Grant Application

Items To Remember
• Child care providers must currently be registered/licensed or provisionally registered/licensed to apply.
• Child care providers must be a registered member of the Early Childhood Career Development Practitioner Registry and submit a copy of your current certificate with the application. If using grant funds to pay to become part of the registry, a copy of your certificate may be attached to the summary form submitted for payment.
• Child care providers must remain in business as a licensed/registered child care provider for a period of 12 months from the award date or agree to return all grants funds received.
• Briefly explain why you are requesting the funds on the application form. Itemize the cost and description of the items you wish to purchase and submit this along with your application. Once you have been approved for a mini-grant, you cannot substitute for any items that have been requested.
• If you are awarded a mini-grant, you will be required to submit receipts to the State in order to be reimbursed for the items you purchase. DO NOT send receipts to Butte 4-C’s.
• Items MAY NOT be purchased prior to the time that the mini-grant is awarded to your program.
• You may receive only one mini-grant per year, which may be a combination of both infant/toddler and regular mini-grant funds.
• Providers on the National Disqualified List for the CACFP program are not eligible for Montana quality funds including mini-grants.
• Appeal rights are not available for mini-grant decisions.


Early Childhood Initiatives

Child Development Associate (CDA) – The Council for Professional Recognition provides a credentialing process for child care providers to receive their CDA. For more information please visit www.cdacouncil.org. Butte 4-C’s Professional Development Specialists are available to provide technical assistance as well.

NAEYC (National Association of the Education of Young Children) Accreditation – child care providers may become accredited through the NAEYC. Please visit www.naeyc.org for more information.

NAFCC (National Association of Family Child Care) Accreditation – family and group home providers may become accredited through the NAFCC. Please visit www.nafcc.org for more information.