healthare worker walking behind child on tricycle

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Parents working in Montana’s assisted living communities are among those in line to receive a portion of $5.5 million in federal funding for a one-time child care scholarship program available to healthcare workers.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services announced Monday that the state will invest American Rescue Plan Act dollars into helping parents and guardians with childcare costs over the next 12 months. 

Eligible workers include those who work in high-demand healthcare occupations, including assisted living, skilled nursing, home- and community-based services and home health.

Families of children under the age of 12 must cover up to a $100 monthly child care copayment. The state anticipates that 600 children will benefit from the funding. And the program will pay a childcare provider the full authorized amount, regardless of attendance, to “ensure a child will have a child care slot with the provider.”

“Over the last 20 months, Montana healthcare workers have made tremendous sacrifices as they’ve treated and cared for Montanans. Many are moms and dads who, like all Montanans, have faced a long-standing child care shortage only made worse by the pandemic,” Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) said in a statement. “This program will give hundreds of Montana families peace of mind.”

Funding is limited, and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, focusing on employees who work in Medicaid-reliant facilities. Priority will go to working parents earning between 185% and 250% of the federal poverty level.