Gov. Steve Bullock announced Wednesday $10 million in funding is available for child care in Montana through a CARES Act Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG).
The grant will be used to support current childcare providers, provide assistance for low-income families participating in the Best Beginnings Scholarship Program, and fund emergency temporary childcare for essential workers, according to a press release from the governor's office.
The release said current providers are eligible for emergency payments from $3,000-$8,000, comprising around half of the CCDBG funding.
Providers that care for up to six children can receive a $3,000 payment; group providers that care for 7-12 children are eligible for $5,000; and centers licensed for 13 or more children, $8,000.
Providers will be able to apply through their local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies. The funds can be used to pay existing staff or go toward increased sanitation and safety measures.
According to the governor's office, approximately 30 percent of the funding will benefit low-income and at-risk children through Best Beginnings scholarships.
The release said the state's health department will pay the scholarships regardless of whether a child was in attendance during the statewide emergency, which will allow families to resume care when able to return to work and help ensure the long-term operation of child care providers.
The remaining 20 percent of the block grant will be used to support temporary childcare needs, such as helping health care facilities establish temporary emergency child care for their employees.
“We know many Montana families have been balancing working and caring for children at the same time over the last several weeks and need sustainable and safe childcare options to continue working or to go back to work,” Bullock said in the press release. “This funding will provide much-needed financial assistance to providers, as well as support Montana families.”
The governor's office stated that this $10 million in funding is separate from the $1.25 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund allocated to Montana. It is also in addition to the $123 million in emergency grant funding announced Tuesday.
More information about how to access or apply for CCDBG funding is available online at BESTBEGINNINGS.MT.GOV.