HELENA, Montana – Zero to Five Montana has received a grant to build on the organization’s early childhood work aimed at improving outcomes for Montana’s tribal communities. The funding was awarded by ZERO TO THREE, a national organization focused on creating lasting, transformative change for children and their families, as part of the Built for Babies project to support states’ capacity to advance family-centered early childhood policies and systems.
Zero to Five Montana aims to establish a statewide Early Childhood Tribal Coalition centered on tribal voices. The vision for this work has emerged from connection through focus groups and ongoing tribal outreach. This effort will help open communication pathways and foster partnerships. The coalition will work to repair elements of historical trauma and societal frameworks that have not worked well for tribal communities.
“We recognize that parents know what is best for their children and are their child’s first and forever teacher – we value their lived experiences and perspectives,” said Caitlin Jensen, Zero to Five Montana executive director. “We envision this tribal coalition working to ensure that Montana’s native families have a voice in shaping future policies to best serve their communities.”
This grant will advance Zero to Five Montana’s tribal policy work stemming from the 2021 Infant/Toddler Tribal Language Pilot project and the connection with Salish Kootenai College’s Early Childhood Tribal Language Summit since 2018.
Montana joins Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi and Tennessee in this project.