House Bill No. 66

Introduced By cocchiarella

By Request of the Joint Oversight Committee on Children and Families

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act establishing a child-care resource and referral and child-care improvement grant account; defining "professional training", "school age", and "school-age care"; specifying priorities; amending sections 52-2-703 and 52-2-711, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date."

WHEREAS, the "traditional" American family with the father working and the mother at home to care for the children now constitutes only 25% of all American families; and

WHEREAS, an estimated 40,000 of 70,000 Montana children under 6 years of age need child care, while only about 25,000 licensed or registered child-care slots are available; and

WHEREAS, a shortage of before- and after-school programs for school-age children places children at risk for delinquency; and

WHEREAS, the availability of day care is critical to the success of welfare-to-work programs; and

WHEREAS, high-quality care is essential to the healthy development of Montana's children, and professional training for child-care providers is the single most effective way to ensure quality care; and

WHEREAS, funding limitations prevent many child-care providers from starting day-care or school-age care businesses and from obtaining professional training.


A statement of intent is required for this bill because 52-2-711, as amended, directs the department of public health and human services to adopt rules to administer the grant program. It is the intent of the legislature that grant awards be consistent with the legislative priorities set forth in this bill and that additional grants be consistent with the state child-care plan as developed by the child-care advisory council. The department is encouraged to also adopt rules that will formally provide for an advisory task force as previously used to advise the department on grant awards.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 52-2-703, MCA, is amended to read:

"52-2-703.   Definitions. In this part, the following definitions apply:

(1)  "Child" means a person under 13 years of age.

(2)  "Day care" or "child care" means care for children provided by an adult, other than a parent of the children or other person living with the children as a parent, on a regular basis for daily periods of less than 24 hours, whether that care is for daytime or nighttime hours.

(3)  "Day-care center" means an out-of-home place in which day care is provided to 13 or more children on a regular basis.

(4)  "Day-care facility" means a person, association, or place, incorporated or unincorporated, that provides day care on a regular basis or a place licensed or registered to provide day care on an irregular basis for children suffering from illness. It includes a family day-care home, a day-care center, a group day-care home, or a facility providing care in a child's home for the purpose of meeting registration requirements for the receipt of payments as provided in 52-2-713. The term does not include:

(a)  a person who limits care to children who are related to the person by blood or marriage or under the person's legal guardianship, unless registration or licensure as a day-care facility is required to receive payments as provided in 52-2-713; or

(b)  any group facility established chiefly for educational purposes that limits its services to children who are 3 years of age or older.

(5)  "Department" means the department of public health and human services provided for in 2-15-2201.

(6)  "Family day-care home" means a private residence in which day care is provided to three to six children on a regular basis.

(7)  "Group day-care home" means a private residence or other structure in which day care is provided to 7 to 12 children on a regular basis.

(8)  "License" means a written document issued by the department that the license holder has complied with this part and the applicable standards and rules for day-care centers.

(9)  "Licensee" means the holder of a license issued by the department in accordance with the provisions of this part.

(10) "Professional training" means training for early childhood or school-age care providers that is recognized as professional development by a national education or certification organization or by a higher education institution.

(11) "Registrant" means the holder of a registration certificate issued by the department in accordance with the provisions of this part.

(11)(12) "Registration" means the process whereby the department maintains a record of all family day-care homes and group day-care homes, prescribes standards, promulgates rules, and requires the operator of a family day-care home or a group day-care home to certify compliance with the prescribed standards and promulgated rules.

(12)(13) "Registration certificate" means a written instrument issued by the department to publicly document that the certificate holder has, in writing, certified to the department compliance with this part and the applicable standards for family day-care homes and group day-care homes.

(13)(14) "Regular basis" means providing day care to children of separate families for any daily periods of less than 24 hours and within 3 or more consecutive weeks.

(14)(15) (a) "Related by blood or marriage" means the status of a child who is the son, daughter, brother, sister, first cousin, nephew, niece, or grandchild of a person providing child care.

(b)  The term includes the status of a child described in subsection (14)(a) (15)(a) in a step or adoptive relationship.

(16) "School age" means a person who is at least 5 years of age and who is younger than 13 years of age.

(17) "School-age care" means an adult-supervised program that is provided for school-age children during nonschool hours."

Section 2.  Section 52-2-711, MCA, is amended to read:

"52-2-711.   Resource and referral and day-care improvement grant programs program and account. (1) (a) There is a grant program and account established within the department for the allocation of grant money to local child-care resource and referral programs and for improving the availability of quality child care and school-age day care.

(b) Money in the account may include money from the following sources:

(i) funds specifically appropriated by the legislature for use under this section;

(ii) private gifts, grants, and donations;

(iii) federal or foundation grants awarded to the state for the purposes of this section; and

(iv) any other money made available for the purposes of this section.

(2) (a) The department may award grants to private, nonprofit organizations and public organizations that demonstrate the ability to provide child-care resource and referral services.

(3)(b)  To be eligible for a grant from the department as a resource and referral agency for a local area, an organization:

(a)(i)  shall maintain a data base of child-care services in the community, including day-care facilities and preschools, that which the organization continually updates;

(b)(ii)  shall include on the staff of the organization at least one individual who has expertise in child development;

(c)(iii)  shall must have the capability to provide resource and referral services in the local area;

(d)(iv)  must be able to respond to requests for information or assistance in a timely fashion;

(e)(v)  must be committed to providing services to all segments of the general public;

(f)(vi)  must be able to provide parents with a checklist to identify quality child-care services;

(g)(vii)  must be able to provide information on the availability of child-care subsidies;

(h)(viii)  shall maintain and make available to the public a the number of all referrals made by the resource and referral agency; and

(i)(ix)  shall otherwise satisfy regulations promulgated by the department pursuant to this part.

(3) (a) The department may award grants for improving the availability of quality child care and school-age day care.

(b) The following grant applications must be given priority:

(i) grant applications for professional training for day-care or school-age care providers; and

(ii) grant applications for the startup of school-age care programs or facilities.

(4) The department shall adopt rules to administer the provisions of this section."

NEW SECTION. Section 3.  Saving clause. [This act] does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, or proceedings that were begun before [the effective date of this act].

NEW SECTION. Section 4.  Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.