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Financial help available for Montana families needing childcare services

Financial help available for families needing childcare services
Posted at 7:59 AM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 09:59:57-04

Many people are heading back to work as Montana works through its phased COPVID-19 reopening but after taking a financial hit for six weeks, a lot of people are wondering how they’ll be able to afford daycare costs now that they won’t be home with their kids.

However, as MTN News discovered, there some funding opportunities available for families right now as they struggle to make ends meet. On average, families pay between $700 and $1,000 for childcare each month.

Executive Director of Child Care Resources Kelly Rosenleaf says although childcare facilities have been closed for the past six weeks, many parents have still been paying the steep prices.

“At many facilities, you pay at the beginning of the month for the whole month, so even though they closed, parents have paid to hold their slot,” said Rosenleaf, “So parents might not be working or they might be working from home, but they may still have been paying for childcare.”

If your financial situation looks much different now than it did two months ago, you may be overwhelmed figuring out how you’ll afford those daycare costs now that you’re heading back to work.

Rosenleaf offers some guidance for those struggling. She recommends applying for the Best Beginnings Scholarship which helps income-eligible families cover the cost of childcare fees at licensed facilities.

“Right now, if they head back to work and they’re not working full time and their earnings are less, they would probably be eligible for that scholarship program, and if that’s the case we’d like to enroll them right now," Rosenleaf said.

"Then, that eligibility lasts 12 months, so even if their hours go up and they go over what is permitted, they would still have 12 months of scholarship to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.”

The scholarship application is based on your income right now, so even if you’re heading back to work soon, you could still be eligible based on your current financial situation.

“We would really like people to look at our website, give us a call, and see if they’re eligible now even if they were over income in the past," Rosenleaf said.

If you’re hesitant to apply, Rosenleaf says your chances of receiving help are pretty good.

“We do not have a waiting list, Montana has not had a waiting list for years, and I believe we’ll be able to serve a lot of people," Rosenleaf added.

You can find more details about funding opportunities and childcare facilities that are currently open here .