HELENA — It’s no secret that Montana is facing a shortage in childcare services, but one new childcare facility opened on Friday, providing care for over 40 kids.
“We really have this need for both parents to work, and in order to do that, they have to be able to keep their kids somewhere that is safe, where they are learning and growing, while still having parents be able to go to work on a consistent basis,” said the Executive Director of Florence Crittenton, Carrie Krepps.
They broke ground back in June, and seven months later, they welcomed families into the facility.
Krepps said, “We purchased this campus about two years ago, and it’s really our long-term goal to bring all of our services into one campus.”
The new center is phase one of Florence Crittenton’s Project Sunshine, which aims to bring its childcare, residential, and family healing programs to one location.
To mark their opening, Florence Crittenton held a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Sharay Doney teaches kids aged four and five and has worked with Florence Crittenton for the past three years.
One of her favorite parts about the new facility has been reactions from parents and kids.
“Coming in and saying ‘it looks so welcoming. It looks so warm,’ and that was really what we were focused on creating here, which was a welcoming environment,” said Doney.
The Child Enrichment Center already has around 24 attendees.
Krepps said, “We anticipate by probably the end of March that we’ll be full.”
Florence Crittenton accepts the Best Beginnings Childcare Scholarship, and about 55% of their families use it.
Florence Crittenton hopes to bring all of its residential clients to the new facility in late spring or early summer, with the goal of a complete campus by the end of summer.
The child enrichment center will take around 40 kids, and their wait list is already 56 kids long. However, they still encourage families to apply.
For more details and where to enroll, visit their website here.