Montana ranks 40th in the nation in child care availability.


Science shows the early years of a child’s brain development are the most important. Economics indicate that Investments in early care can yield high returns on investment. Families know that the availability of early care can make or break the financial future of working parents.

Partnerships with the private sector offer the most promising opportunity for innovation and progress.

It matters for businesses.

Montana is one of only 5 states that does not meet even half the potential need for childcare. A lack of quality, affordable childcare often prevents parents of young children from entering and/or returning to the workplace. As labor markets tighten, the availability of early care programs will impact whether Montana businesses can grow and thrive.

“For American business, high-quality childcare is a smart investment. It supports the workforce of today (parents), while helping lay the strong foundation necessary for success in the future workforce (children). High-quality, affordable childcare is critical to a healthy, prosperous economy.”

– US Chamber Foundation

It matters for families.

Cost of childcare in Montana is, on average, higher than the cost of in-state college tuition. This puts high-quality care out of reach for many families.

“…childcare is early education, regardless of the building it occurs in or what we call it. The question is only whether it’s advancing or impeding children’s learning.”

– US Chamber of Commerce

It matters for children.

Studies show that 90% of a child’s brain development happens between the ages of 0 and 5.  Research has demonstrated that nurturing relationships and rich experiences in the earliest years help children develop initiative, problem-solving, creative thinking, and team building skills. These competencies are critical to success in school, and later in the workplace and the broader community.


Cool Timeline

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In the first 3 years of life, a child’s brain is the most impressionable, forming more than 1 million new neural connections every second.
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Quality early childhood experiences improve life outcomes.
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Two-thirds of children under five live in homes where both parents work.
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U.S. businesses lose $3 billion annually due to employee absenteeism as the result of childcare breakdowns.
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When companies provide childcare to their workers, employee absences decrease by up to 30% and job turnover declines by as much as 60%.
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When businesses invest in childcare, they see results. Parents who have access to high-quality care are more productive, and businesses that offer childcare and family-friendly policies are better able to attract and retain talent.


of Montana children have all their available parents in the workforce

– Early Childhood Workforce Index 2018, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley

More than 45,000 young children need care from caregivers other than their parents

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