Glasgow, Montana–Tuesday 5:30 a.m., an early childhood teacher calls in sick. The child care director picks up the phone, but no other staff are available to cover. At 6 a.m., the child care director calls guardian after guardian explaining that the child care program will not be able to open today due to being under licensing regulations for staff to child ratio. The guardian calls family, friends, and neighbors, but no one is available to care for their children. At 7 a.m., the guardian calls their employer explaining that they will not be at the office today. This chain of early morning phone calls is all too familiar in Montana and the consequences affect children, families and businesses. The Raise Montana Substitute Service (RMSS) seeks to break this chain by supporting individuals in becoming certified caregivers and linking them to licensed local child care providers.
Paying for new staff to become fully trained is often an expensive and time consuming barrier for child care programs. RMSS will increase the early care and education workforce by supporting individuals throughout the multi-step training process. Once the individual is a state certified caregiver, they are able to pick up substitute shifts with local licensed child care providers across Montana.
“Children are the future of Montana and it is vital that we ensure that they can receive the education and care that they need. One of the ways we can do this is by offering services that support the needs of child care providers, ” Melissa Miller, substitute service specialist, Raise Montana.
For more information on this substitute service visit Raisemt.org.