Become a New Child Care Provider

Parents, children, and Montana’s economy rely heavily on quality child care, which both protects children and promotes healthy development.  A highly-qualified early childhood educator–one who knows how to create a dynamic, accountable learning environment– is at the center of a high-quality early learning experience. Research has shown that children who attend high-quality preschool are better prepared to be successful in school and in their future careers. The economic and community benefits of high-quality early learning and development experiences for all young children cannot be understated and include, increased graduation rates, increased economic wellbeing for all communities, and the long-term development of a high-quality professional workforce. (Source:


Individuals providing child care in the State of Montana must be registered or licensed if they are caring for more than two children. There are different types of registered/licensed childcare programs in Montana:

Family Homeis a private residence in which care is provided for 3-8 children on a regular basis and is considered Registered

Group Homeis a private residence or other structure in which care is provided for 9 to 15 children on a regular basis and is considered Registered

Centeris an out-of-home place in which care is provided to 16 or more children on a regular or irregular basis and is considered Licensed

Family, Friend, Neighbor Provideris a Registered provider which may provide care in a child’s home or in the provider’s residence for a sibling group of any size or no more than 4 unrelated children

Relative Care Exempt Provideris a provider that may care for either a sibling group of any size or no more than 2 children from separate households. “Relative care” means the child is the brother, sister, first cousin, nephew, niece, grandchild, or great grandchild of the person providing childcare and includes a child in a step, foster, or adoptive relationship. This provider type is considered ‘License Exempt’ and is for Best Beginnings Childcare Scholarship payment purposes only.

As part of the process First Aid and CPR is required. Current First Aid and CPR cards are required for all individuals working in licensed programs. The Nurturing Center offers this course through the American Heart Association as a hybrid. Individuals will take the online course work and register for a skills session through The Nurturing Center front desk. You must complete both parts of the course to receive your completion certificate (your Pediatric/Adult CPR/FA card). You will need to complete the Pediatric CPR/FA online course, including completing ALL optional modules (adult CPR/AED) and then bring the completion form to their skills test. Once both components have been completed, instructors will assign the accepted card to the participant. No refunds will be given, if you are unable to make this class once you have signed up and paid you can receive a credit for enrollment in the next available CPR/FA class as long as you call 24 hours prior to the class.  No Call/No Shows will not be given a credit for the next available class, you will have to reschedule and re-pay the fee.

Orientation coursework is required within the first 90 days of employment. All but two courses are offered online at  Find the required courses under Montana Child Care Licensing Orientation.   The face to face required courses are offered through The Nurturing Center.  Registration for those courses are on Statewide Training Calendar, Program Management Essentials and Early Childhood Essentials.

The Montana Practitioner Registry Certification is a requirement of individuals working in early childhood programs. It is suggested you start this process as soon as you are able, so it is complete at your 90-day program review.

The Nurturing Center has staff to support all new programs going through this process.  Please contact Sabrina at or 406.756.1414 ext. *211 for any questions.