BOZEMAN — For some, childcare affects how we work, when we work, and for many, why we work. In Bozeman, putting your child in daycare can be more expensive than sending your kid to MSU. But now, childcare services in Montana are being granted $18 million in funding.
Amanda Schenderline, her husband, and her son were on their way to Syracuse, New York when their car broke down. They had nowhere to go until they found Family Promise which not only gave them a place to stay but put their son in daycare and gave Amanda a job at the daycare.
“Sorry,” said Schenderline. “If I didn't have this program I really don't know where we'd be right now - so I’m just super grateful for it.”
Thanks to a scholarship, Amanda pays a $10 co-pay to have her son at Rising Stars Learning Center. She says she wouldn't be able to afford childcare anywhere else.
“I saw the invoices and I thought, 'Wow that would take my entire paycheck,'” said Schenderline.
Executive Director of Family Promise, Christel Chvilicek says Rising Stars provides scholarships to about 40 percent of parents, but due to lack of funding, they began turning people away.
“This new grant from the state of Montana will allow us to not say no to families,” said Chvilicek.
The grant, nearly a million dollars in federal COVID relief money, also allows Rising Stars to extend their hours and provide care on the weekends.
“I could leave my son in daycare a little bit longer because I’m the afternoon closer,” said Schenderline. “There are plenty of moms that could benefit from extended hours because they work weekends.”
The grant also allows rising stars to hire more staff and pay existing workers more, allowing them to be open longer.
“Having these extended hours is a whole other group of children, so we'll be able to go beyond the 96 we anticipated to serve,” said Chvilicek.
Rising Stars will also be able to hire a case manager who will work with families and their budgets, allowing them to pay as they go.
There’s no support like this where we come from,” said Schenderline. “We haven’t seen this much progress in our lives in a long time.”