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Message from ECSB

From Jamie Palagi, Early Childhood Services Bureau Chief

The Early Childhood Services Bureau is announcing changes to the Legally Unregistered Provider Program and child care referral services. Historically, these services have been available through local community Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies throughout Montana. As a cost savings effort, these services are now being centralized to one statewide service. The centralized service provider will be Family Connections Montana out of Great Falls. Local agencies will still be in existence and offering much needed services related to families seeking assistance with child care, new provider orientation, and child care provider training and support, to name a few. Local offices will also have access for families and providers to utilize a phone and computer in connecting to the statewide provider. For both statewide services, a centralized toll free number will be available as well as enhanced online capability.

Legally Unregistered Provider Program

The Legally Unregistered Provider and Legally Unregistered in Home Provider Program will soon be changing names to Legally Certified Provider and Legally Certified in Home Providers. When you see information referring to Legally Certified Providers, please know theprogram is the same.

 Family Connections Montana and local Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies are working on a smooth transition. Starting November 15, applications turned into local offices will be sent by local agencies to Family Connections Montana for processing. Effective December 15, individuals applying to become a legally certified provider will send applications and necessary information to Family Connections Montana directly. Further information will be sent soon by Family Connections Montana with contact information.

Best Beginnings Child Care Referrals

When a family is looking for help in finding child care, a family can receive a referral service through Family Connections Montana. Additionally, Family Connections Montana will be working with child care providers on maintaining accurate files related to rates, operation hours, policies, etc, and will also maintain provider rights and responsibility forms, etc. By February 1, 2011, Family Connections Montana will be managing all referrals and the provider database.  Local agencies will still have referral packets available directing parents to Family Connections Montana. Further information will be sent soon by Family Connections Montana with contact information, etc.

The State and Child Care Resource & Referral Programs across the state intend a smooth transition for families and child care providers. We are all committed to offering the highest level of quality service we can in the most affordable fashion. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency, Family Connections Montana in Great Falls at 1-800-696-4503, or the Early Childhood Services Bureau.