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Eligibility Criteria for Montana’s
Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarships

Families who are working and earning less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible. Family income is evaluated for eligibility and a co-payment is determined based on the Child Care Sliding Fee Scale. Co-payments begin at ten dollars ($10), and increase depending on family size and income. Income eligibility is determined by adding all income sources together. (There are some exceptions. Certain types of income are disregarded).

Parents must be participating in eligible activities:
  • Two parent families must work at least 120 hours per month;
  • Single parent families must work at least 60 hours per month;
  • Single parent families must work at least 40 hours per month while they attend school/training full time; or
  • Teen parents must be attending high school or a high school equivalency program.

Education/Training
If a family meets the minimum work requirement stated above, child care assistance may be authorized for post secondary education/training. However, the parent is not eligible for post secondary education/training child care assistance if they have completed a post secondary education/training program in the last five years.

TANF Families
Families receiving TANF Cash assistance may receive a Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship while participating in their Family Investment Agreement. TANF participants must contact their Child Care Resource and Referral agency to receive child care benefits.

Tribal Families
Tribal families are dually eligible for child care assistance under both the Tribal CCDF Block Grant program and Montana Child Care Scholarship program. Families, who

  • find they are not eligible for Tribal Block Grant Child Care, or
  • find their Tribal Block Grant Child Care funding has been used,
  • must demonstrate their Tribal Block Grant will not serve them

before a Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship will be approved.

Child Support
In non-TANF households where one or both parents are absent from the home, the parent or guardian with whom the child resides must cooperate with Child Support Enforcement Division, have a court-approved parenting plan in place, be receiving court-ordered child support, or have been approved by their local CCR&R to have good cause for not cooperating with Child Support Enforcement.

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Page last updated: 12/13/2013