Healthcare workers get financial help for childcare costs


After nearly two years of working around the clock to care for COVID patients, in addition to their normal daily work, healthcare workers in Montana are finally receiving state assistance for their own child care costs.

Jamie Palagi is the administrator of the Early Childhood and Family Support Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and said ARPA funds are being allocated to help.

“Through the American Rescue Plan Act, Montana has received funding to support child care in different ways,” Palagi said. “Together, Governor Gianforte and the Advisory Board on Health have decided to allocate $ 5.5 million to help those working in the health field pay for the costs of child care who need it while they are in need. ‘they are at work.

Palagi described who is eligible to receive healthcare funding assistance.

“Generally speaking, this is for any employee who provides direct patient care in any of these areas of healthcare, behavioral health, disability services, healthcare and hospitals,” or long-term care facilities, which would also include home and community services, assisted living, skilled nursing homes or home health care, ”she said.

Some may ask why this help is available to healthcare workers, mistakenly believing that they may not need it.

“On average, families pay between $ 8,400 and $ 9,500 for child care per year, with child care likely being higher at between $ 12,000 and $ 13,000 per year,” she said. “So this funding would help eligible families offset that cost, but the family would still be required to pay around $ 100 per month for child care, but the rest of the bill would be met by the state. “

Palagi provided more details on who might be eligible for child care assistance.

“A family has to be a resident of Montana, in other words, they have to live in Montana,” she said. “A family’s income would be less than 250% of the federal poverty line. And to give you an idea of ​​what it is, for a family of three, the maximum income a person could earn per hour would be $ 26.45. Children must also be under 12 years of age to be eligible for childcare assistance.

Palagi said the Department of Public Health and Human Services is happy to be the channel through which hard-working healthcare workers receive help with their own childcare expenses.

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