Working together
for our children, for our future

Zero to Five Montana is a dedicated early childhood organization focused on increasing access to early care and education in Montana so families and communities can thrive. Through partnership and collaboration, we are working to stabilize, innovate, and build our state’s early childhood system.

For Policymakers

for communities

For families

For Child Care Businesses

Children, families and employers are all impacted when there are not enough early care and education services available to meet the demand.

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public and private organizations and individuals engaged in partnerships and coalitions

communities engaged in child care expansion projects across the state

strategic initiatives working to expand access to early care and education

past and planned convenings to promote cross-sector collaboration

As a solutions-oriented, nonpartisan early childhood policy organization, Zero to Five Montana is a catalyst for change – working toward a Montana dedicated to every child.

We know there are not enough quality early care and education settings in Montana to meet the need for families seeking care. And when families can’t access child care and preschool, they miss work, cut back on hours, or rely on inadequate options.

We need policy solutions that work for Montana’s children, families, and employers.

When children and families have access to early care and education, all Montanans can thrive.

60%

of Montana counties cannot meet the need/demand for quality child care

MT is one of six states

without a public preschool option for families

$11.19 an hour

average hourly wage of child care providers in Montana, many do not receive any additional benefits

40%

of Montana businesses say they have trouble finding a qualified workforce because of a lack of child care

63% of voters

say access to high-quality, affordable childcare is important to the economy getting back on track and getting people back to work

$907 Million

total economic burden of inadequate child care in MT from 2019 to 2028

Every $1 spent

on high-quality preschool programs creates at least $7 in future savings to the communities and states that invest

Community-led Solutions

Zero to Five Montana is working with leaders across the state to strengthen and expand the early childhood system. Some of our collaborative partners include:

  • Zero to Five Montana Infant/Toddler Tribal Language Pilots
  • Zero to Five Montana Community Child Care Innovation Pilots
  • Zero to Five Local Community Collaboratives

Together, we are focused on increasing access to early care and education and supporting the state’s families, communities and our economy.

Missoula

Zero to Five Missoula is a strategic initiative working to identify and implement systems changes that will lead to long-term improved outcomes for young children growing up in Missoula County. Based at United Way of Missoula County, Zero to Five Missoula brings together people who care for and care about young children to ask deeper questions, identify ways to weave our system of services more tightly together, and to unlock systemic barriers to change. In Missoula County, their work includes:

  • Parent Leadership Training Institute, a 20 week program in civics and democracy to equip parents to be changemakers
  • Early Learning Fellows, an interprofessional learning cohort offered in partnership with the UM College of Education, building shared understanding and data driven action planning for folks who work with children 0-8.
  • Kindergarten Entry Assessment, a community learning tool for understanding how well our 0-5 system is (and isn't) ensuring children are ready for all the challenges and opportunities of the K12 system
  • And, they are working to establish a new network of shared services for child care providers and child care benefits for employers
Butte-Silver Bow

Zero to Five Butte-Silver Bow Collaborative is focused on bringing a diverse and inclusive set of community members together to find system-focused solutions for children and families in Butte-Silver Bow County. The Collaborative is focused on reduce the number of children in foster care in Butte-Silver Bow County by 75% by the year 2025. This work is made possible by supporting families involved with the child welfare system, the children and family services department, and the general parenting population in Butte.

Early Childhood Coalition (Beaverhead County)

The Early Childhood Coalition of Beaverhead County seeks to ensure that all families in our county with children aged 0-5 have access to a supportive parenting community. We provide access to developmentally appropriate play, material resources, and parenting education for optimal early childhood development. We operate an indoor playspace and a children's secondhand store, and offer parenting classes, maternal support groups, and other educational opportunities. As we strive to support children, empower parents, and connect families, we continue to evaluate the systems currently in place for young children and their families, working to identify and remove barriers that may prevent families from accessing the resources and opportunities they need in order to thrive.

Family Connections Collaborative (Mineral County)

The Family Connections Collaborative (FCC) has brought a diverse and inclusive set of stakeholders together to find system-focused solutions for children and families in Mineral County. Led by a Design Team of nine individuals, Family Connections Collaborative is working for their community by determining innovative and creative ways to define and address positive parenting. Through those efforts, they hope to improve outcomes for young children and build a strong, supportive system for families. Their mission is to reinforce or create safe, trusting, and nurturing systems-level environments that cultivate positive family and community norms. They envision creating a community environment that builds hope, perseverance, support, and safety for our children, families, and communities for a healthy Mineral County.

Currently the FCC operates numerous initiatives, including the Parent Liaison Program, universal Home Visiting for families, doula services, birthing and parenting classes, and parent mental health consultations. The FCC also hosts family events throughout the year and supports a Circle of Parents group for Mineral County moms and Mineral County’s Healthy Communities Coalition. Lastly, the FCC provides funding for Imagination Library for Mineral County families, scholarships for professionals and parents pursuing training related to early childhood or parent support, classroom resources for teachers throughout Mineral County and event scholarships for organizations hosting events for young children and families.

Lincoln County

Zero to Five Lincoln County is a multi-sector, county wide collaborative working together with a variety of partners, agencies, and community members to make a positive impact in the lives of families with young children. We strive for a county in which all families with young children are valued, connected, and empowered because we believe that “every kid in every corner of Lincoln County counts.” We employ 5 major strategies in our collaborative efforts to support families with children:

  • Strategically aligning community collaboratives for efficiency and effectiveness
  • Strengthening partner capacity through commitment and support
  • Connecting families with resources in ways that are respectful, accessible, and easy to navigate
  • Co-creating with parents/caregivers
  • Collaborating with partners to provide opportunities for family engagement

Flathead Reservation-Lake County

Zero to Five Flathead Reservation & Lake County is responding to the need for a variety of events and activities that are free or inexpensive for families in their community. They are also working to build appreciation and recognition for the outstanding achievements for programs assisting the 0-5 population.

They are working on shifting cultural norms and increasing respect for those working with the 0-5 population, increasing opportunities for engagement (direct client based services) and developing a level of activity and engagement with the natural world by helping connect families to the outdoors and healthy play in creative, educational, community-based play spaces.

Programs include Parent Night, various trainings, "Taking it to the People" quarterly fun family events, Children Connect - passes for kids to experience local points of interest, Toys "R" U - local providers can apply to receive funds for play options, outstanding achievements honoree program, and Playing it Forward - Implementing creative, culturally relevant, community based play structures.

Early Childhood Coalition of the Greater Helena Area

Zero to Five in Lewis & Clark County has just launched! Watch this space for more information. In the meantime, you can reach out with questions to Bray Holmes, community coordinator, at bbholmes@sphealth.org.

Blackfeet Early Childhood Center

Zero to Five Montana Infant/Toddler Tribal Language Pilot grantee.

Browning, Montana

Browning Public Schools

Zero to Five Montana Infant/Toddler Tribal Language Pilot grantee.

Browning, Montana

Fort Belknap Child Care

Zero to Five Montana Infant/Toddler Tribal Language Pilot grantee.

Harlem, Montana

Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes Early Childhood Services

Zero to Five Montana Infant/Toddler Tribal Language Pilot grantee.

Pablo, Montana

Tiny Tots Child Care

Zero to Five Montana Infant/Toddler Tribal Language Pilot grantee.

Wolf Point, Montana

Baker Child Care Project

Zero to Five Montana Community Child Care Innovations grantee.

Baker/Fallon County, Montana

St. Johns United

Zero to Five Montana Community Child Care Innovation grantee.

Billings, Montana

Human Resources Development Council

Zero to Five Montana Community Child Care Innovation grantee.

Bozeman, Montana

Lewistown Community/Employer Partners

Zero to Five Montana Community Child Care Innovation grantee.

Lewistown, Montana

Family Connections Collaborative (Mineral County)

Zero to Five Montana Community Child Care Innovation grantee.

Mineral County, Montana

Park County Community/Employer Partners

Zero to Five Montana Community Child Care Innovation grantee.

Park County, Montana

Sparrows Vine Resource Center & Seeley Lake Community Foundation

Zero to Five Montana Community Child Care Innovation grantee.

Seeley Lake, Montana

Immanuel Lutheran Communities

Zero to Five Montana Community Child Care Innovation grantee.

Kalispell, Montana

For Policymakers

for employers

For families

For Child Care Businesses

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Policy Work

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Projects

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Support

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We believe investing in our children today is the most important pathway to a healthy, thriving Montana tomorrow. Click the button below to learn more about how you can get involved.