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Quality Assurance Division

Child Care Licensing

Frequently Asked Questions

New Provider and New Application Questions:

How do I get licensed/registered?
How long does it take to become licensed/registered?
  • The department has 30 days from the receipt of a complete application to process the application.
  • The process may take longer than 30 days if the application is not complete when submitted.
  • Applications that are not complete within 45 working days will be closed.
How do I obtain my background checks?
  • The department will conduct Montana criminal, DMV, and CPS/APS background checks for family and group facilities. 
  • Day Care Centers should download the Background Check Instructions on how to complete the required Montana background checks.
I lived in another state within the last 5 years. What do I have to do?
Do I have to be licensed to baby-sit in my house?
  • If you are or desire to provide care to 3 or more children from separate families on a regular basis, then by state law you are required to register with the State of Montana.
  • Please review the New Provider Pamphlet for more information.
If I don't do childcare and just baby-sit do I have to be licensed?
  • If you provide care to 3 or more children on a regular basis, you must be registered.
How many kids can I care for without getting licensed?
  • You may care for 2 or less children, the children of one family, or blood relatives without being registered.
What is considered regular basis?
  • ARM 37.95.102(39) defines regular basis as “providing day care to children of separate families for any daily periods of less than 24 hours and within three or more consecutive weeks. In addition to the previous definitional language found at 52-2-703, MCA, the term also means the child must be in attendance four or more days a week for six hours a day or more.”
If I live out of the city limits do I have to get licensed/registered?
  • Yes.  The regulations/laws regarding day care are state regulations, not city/local ordinances.
What is the difference between a License and a Registration?
  • A registration certificate is issued for family and group day cares. 
  • A license is issued for day care centers and drop-in centers.  These facilities are required to have fire, health, and licensing inspections before approval.
Do I have to be registered/licensed to open a Preschool, Drop-in Daycare, or after school program?
  • A preschool/educational facility is “a place or facility that provides, on a regular basis and as its primary purpose, educational instruction designed for children 5 years of age or younger….that serves no child under 5 years of age for more than 3 hours a day….and serves no child 5 years of age for more than 6 hours a day” (see 20-5-402, MCA).  Preschools that only care for Preschool age children do not have to be registered/licensed as long as the above guidelines are met.
  • Drop-in Daycares that do not care for children on a regular basis do not have to be licensed/registered. 
  • After school programs that care for school age children on an irregular basis do not have to be licensed/registered.
What's your supervisor's phone number?
  • The supervisor for the Child Care Licensing Program may be reached at 406-444-1510.
Does my spouse have to do the paperwork if they are not going to have anything to do with the daycare?
  • Yes.  All staff, persons over 18 residing in the day care, or persons staying in the day care on a regular or frequent basis must complete the Release of Information and Statement of Health.   ARM 37.95.703(2)
If my spouse is never home when I do daycare does he/she have to have his/her immunizations?
  • Yes.  Per ARM 37.95.184(2)(c), every employee, volunteer, or resident at a day care must provide documentation of complete measles, mumps, and rubella immunizations and a tetanus and diphtheria booster within the ten years prior to commencing work, volunteering, or residing at the day care facility
I submitted an application over 6 months ago. Do I have re-submit everything?
  • Applications that are not complete within 45 days will be closed and a new application must be submitted.
Do my own kids count in my daycare?
  • Your own children under 6 years of age count in your day care numbers.  However, once they are over 6 years old, they no longer count.
How do I get insurance for my daycare?
  • Fire insurance should be included in your homeowner’s policy.  If you are renting the facility, your landlord will need to provide proof of fire insurance.
  • Public Liability Insurance may be obtained from a local insurance agent or a company that provides day care liability insurance. 
Can I take my CPR or First Aid on-line?
  • No.  CPR and First Aid must be hands-on direct instruction.  The department does not accept on-line certification courses.
What do I do if I can't find my immunization records?
  • If you cannot find your immunization records, you must receive the immunizations again.
Where do I find my immunization records?
  • Immunization records can often be found on your high school or college transcripts, local health departments, or your medical provider.

Overlap Questions:

Can I have more than one overlap time?
  • Yes.  You may have up to 3 hours of overlap time in a 12-hour period.  This time may be broken up into smaller time periods and different times on different days.
Can my overlap be more than 3 hours?
  • No.  You are limited to 3 hours of overlap in a 12-hour period.
I want my overlap hours for all day because I don't know what time the additional children are coming.
  • Overlap times must be specified on the registration certificate. 

Regulation Questions:

Do I have to have my training complete when I turn in the renewal?
  • No.  Training does not have to be done until your expiration date.  Include a training schedule with your renewal application and notify licensing when your training is complete.
  • If training is completed close to your expiration date you may have a delay in your license/registration.
Can I start training for the next year when I turn in my renewal?
  • No.  Training must be obtained within the license/registration year.  Training obtained before your expiration date will not count toward the next year’s renewal.
Do the Release of Information and Statement of Health have to be completed each year?
  • Yes.  The Release of Information and Statement of Health are only good for the length of the license and must be turned in with each renewal.
Do my new employees have to complete training for my renewal?
  • No.  New staff have one year to complete their 8 hours of approved training.  However, they will have to have 8 hours of approved training before your next renewal.
Do I have to submit my immunization record with my renewal?
  • No.  If your immunizations are still current, you do not need to submit them again.  However, you do need to submit them if your Tetanus Diphtheria immunization has been updated or you have new employees.
My CPR / First Aid certification is still current. Do I have to submit my cards again?
  • No.  If your CPR / First Aid certification is good through your expiration date, you do not need to submit the cards again.  However, you will need to submit verification when your CPR / First Aid certification is renewed.
My insurance is still current. Do I have to submit verification again?
  • No.  However, you will need to submit proof of fire and public liability insurance when it is renewed.
What is a delayed license/registration?
  • A delayed license/registration happens when training or other required information is submitted close to your expiration date.  Your license/registration may not be processed until after it has expired, but your license/registration will be backdated to the day after it expired.
What is a lapsed license/registration?
  • A lapsed license/registration occurs when all of the required renewal information is not submitted by your expiration date.  Your license/registration will not be renewed until all the missing information has been received and will not be backdated.  This does affect scholarship and food program reimbursement.
  • A provider that has a lapsed license/registration is not licensed/registered and should not be providing care.
  • If a license/registration is lapsed more than 60 days, you will have to reapply to continue providing care.  
Do college courses count toward annual training requirements?
  • College courses from accredited colleges do count toward annual training if the course(s) are within the Montana Early Care and Education Knowledge Base and fall within the categories outlined in ARM 37.95.162(2).
Does training completed for foster care count toward my annual training?
  • All trainings, except college courses, must be approved through the Early Childhood Project.  Trainings completed for foster care or other agencies have to be approved individually by the Early Childhood Project.
Can I complete my annual training on-line?
  • Yes.  All trainings offered at http://www.childcaretraining.org/ are approved.  However, trainings from other on-line training sites would need to be approved individually by the Early Childhood Project.
  • CARE courses are not approved.
Can I take my CPR or First Aid on-line?
  • No.  CPR and First Aid must be hands-on direct instruction.  The department does not accept on-line certification courses. 
Do I have to submit a new Release of Information and Statement of Health with my renewal for staff that just started?
  • If staff paperwork was submitted for someone within 6 months of your expiration date, you do not need to submit his or her paperwork again.  However, they must be listed on your staff list.
This page last updated 10/18/2014