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
• Obtain liability insurance for the child care facility even if it is in your home
• Complete Program Management Essentials 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.
FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS
Montana licensing regulations for child care homes and centers may be found here. There are regulations for child care homes, which includes family and group homes with separate regulations for child care centers.
All registered and licensed child care providers in the State of Montana must complete Program Management
Essentials 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).
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 PROVIDERS IN SOUTHWEST MONTANA
STAR facilities in Butte:
Kings Kids, STAR 1
Small World, STAR 1
AWARE Early Head Start, STAR 4
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, STAR 2
Mini Minions, STAR 2
STAR facilities in Dillon:
Janet Fjeseth, STAR 2
Stepping Stones, STAR 2
Tots and Toys, STAR 2
STAR facilities in Ennis:
Ennis Community Children’s School, STAR 2
STAR facilities in Sheridan:
New Kids on the Block, STAR 2
STAR facilities in Twin Bridges:
Twin Bridges Kid Country, STAR 1
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
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.
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 or if you have an update please contact the Butte 4-C’s.
FAMILY/FRIEND/NEIGHBOR (FFN) Child Care and Relative Care Exempt (RCE)
You will only be eligible to become an FFN/RCE if the family you are providing child care for is eligible for the Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship.
The family’s application paperwork (which is submitted to the Butte 4-C's) is separate from your application paperwork.
Application requirements include:
Family Association Form
Forms required for all adults living in the household 18 years and older (fees vary):
Statement of Health Form
State of MT Release of Information
FBI Release of Information form for Fingerprint
Health and Safety Checklist
Medication Administration Attestation
Immunization Certification Form
Tax ID Form – W9
Health & Safety Overview
CPR/First Aid Certification (required for non-relative care)
You must submit the FFN/RCE application packet to Child Care Licensing:
2401 Colonial Dr
PO BOX 202953
Helena, MT 59620
Or email to:
Contact Child Care Licensing if you have any questions about the FFN/RCE Program and to find out which program is right for you:
(406) 444-0597 or email FFNProgram@mt.gov
How do I attend FFN/RCE Training?
Please click here to be directed to training information on the Montana DPHHS website.
There are numerous resources available to child care providers to make their programs successful. They include:
The Mission of the Early Childhood Services Bureau is to improve the quality, affordability and accessibility of early care and education in Montana, with focused efforts on coordinated systems to best meet the needs of young children, their families, and the professionals who work on behalf of young children and families.
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 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.
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.
Southwest Chapter of the mtaeyc (Montana Association of the Education of Young Children) - Contact the Butte 4-C's to learn about the next meeting and how to join.