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
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

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 1
    • Small World, Participant
    • 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 3
    • Merry Bees, STAR 2
    • LeeAnn Butt, STAR 2
    • Wee Care, STAR 2
    • Kids R GR8, STAR 3
    • Mini Miracles, STAR 2
    • Rowdy Rascals, STAR 2
  •  Mini Sprouts, STAR 2
  • Hands On Learning, Participant
  • Mini Minions, STAR 2

STAR facilities in Dillon: 
• Janet Fjeseth, STAR 2
• Stepping Stones, STAR 2

  • Tots and Toys, Participant


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

STAR facilities in Sheridan:

  • New Kids on the Block, Participant

STAR facilities in Twin Bridges:

  • Twin Bridges Kid Country, Participant

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

STAR facilities in Opportunity: 
• Country Bumpkin, STAR 5

STAR facilities in Anaconda:

  • Anaconda Head Start, STAR 2

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.

Vacancy Update Form

Rate Update Form

Provider Information Form

Profile Update Form


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.

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

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.

Early Childhood Initiatives

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

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