LIVINGSTON — Governor Greg Gianforte visited PFL Learning Center Friday to read to children and announce proposed red tape relief to expand access to affordable, high-quality child care for Montana families. Child Care Director of PFL Learning Center, Carly Temyer, emphasizes the struggle for families to find proper child care within the state.
“We are in what is called a childcare desert," says Temyer, "So a certain percentage of families that are seeking care are not able to find it.”
Gianforte spoke on what these new proposed rules meant for the future of childcare in Montana.
“Access to quality care is critical to our growing economy in Montana. But for too long or Montana families, working families have had faced a shortage of childcare,” says Governor Gianforte.
Improved in response to calls from providers and industry stakeholders, the new childcare licensing rules eliminate unnecessary barriers to licensure and employment for childcare providers. Along with the decreasing barrier and increasing capacity for quality and affordability of childcare, the Governor's administration is taking a look at other guidelines.
“DPHHS has reviewed line by its childcare licensing administrative rules, and today we're rolling out a new simpler set of rules,” says Gianforte.
Since Gianforte has been in office, he says he has committed over $90 million in federal funding to stabilize childcare. His administration and the Department of health and human services (DPHHS) plans for better childcare do not stop at the funding.
“[It's] more than just financial investments, and we also need to remove unnecessary barriers, burdensome regulations that are preventing Montana families from accessing affordable quality care that they need,” says Gianforte.
According to the DPHHS, several new rules address child-to-staff ratios and staffing qualifications. To Temyer, these proposed reforms are huge.
“People can't find affordable care. So the stabilization is huge. It affects not just people who are working in childcare, not just families who are seeking childcare it affects our entire workforce in the state,” says Temyer.
More details about the plans can be found on the DPHHS website. DPHHS will be taking public comments until December 2nd at 5 pm.