By Pamela Filler
When it comes to dealing with unregistered individuals, there are differences in the childcare licensors role as enforcer. The action taken depends on whether the facility is located on or off of an Indian reservation. The following explains the process of each situation.
Day-care facilities on an Indian Reservation:
Any person(s) caring for children (on reservation) in the quantity that exceeds two children on a regular basis has a choice in becoming a registered facility with the state of Montana. If a person(s) wishes to be registered by the state of Montana a letter must be submitted to the licensor from the tribal council, giving the state permission to register/license the facility. When a facility chooses registration from the state, all childcare rules and regulations must be respected. However, Tribes have the ability to license or register themselves, thus delineating the need for the state license/registration. The State DPHHS Early Childhood Services Bureau and the Quality Assurance Division recently met with Tribal Leaders to begin the discussion of this matter. If Tribes choose to license and register themselves, and want to participate in the State child care subsidy programs, provider grants programs and merit pay programs, the tribe will have to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the State (MOU). This MOU will address the standards set by the tribe for licensing/registering facilities and any other conditions upon which participation is granted for other incentive and payment programs.
For additional information regarding Tribal self licenser and the MOU Process, please feel free to contact the Early Childhood Services Bureau (444-5925) or the Child Care Licensing Program in Helena at 444-7770.
Day-care facilities off a reservation:
Any person(s) caring for children in the quantity that exceeds two children on a regular basis must be registered. When a person(s) is caring for children in a way that requires registration/licensing, but is not voluntarily taking appropriate actions to acquire registration, the following steps are taken by the childcare licensor.
1) the childcare licensor contacts the individual, either by phone or mail, and provides him/her with a registration packet and informs him/her of the law that requires the facility to be registered and
(2) the individual and licensor, together, decide on deadline that is achievable for the person to complete registration process.
If the above is met, the licensors supervisor, Becky Fleming Siebenaler, is contacted and legal actions may occur. In the event that registration is not acquired by a person providing illegal daycare services, the matter can be turned over to the County Attorney which can result in a fine of $500 for each occurrence of illegal care being provided that is known to the licensor.
If you know of anyone providing care which would require registration and/or licensing and would like to make a report, please contact me at (406) 265-1233 or visit me at my new address, 48 Second Ave., Ryan Building, Second Floor. All references are kept confidential and action is taken on all referrals.
Helping you to make smart and healthy childcare choices
Pamela Filler is the child care licensor for Hill, Blaine, Phillips, Valley, Roosevelt, Daniels and Sheridan counties.