More help is on the way for Montana families trying to strike a balance between work and taking care of their children, but concerns remain about whether more one-time funding will bring about long-lasting change.
Governor Greg Gianforte announced June 29 that $31 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act would be dedicated to increase available child care for working parents. This comes on the heels of a June 24 meeting of the ARPA Health Advisory Commission that worked to allocate the funds. At the meeting, state officials reported that current licensed child care services would only serve 27 percent of children under age 6 in the state.
Gianforte’s office reports that 171 child care programs closed in Montana since the start of the pandemic. There are currently only 916 licensed child care facilities, meaning that the number of providers dropped by 16 percent during the pandemic.