Policy Issues

Everyone has an important and unique voice when it comes to advocating for our youngest community members. Educators, policymakers, grandparents, employers, and most importantly parents are all powerful advocates.

Advocating doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. Writing an opinion piece for the newspaper, submitting a letter to your elected officials, or testifying at a city meeting are all great ways to share your voice.

Updated Legislation Tracking List (February 5, 2017)

The 2017 Legislative Session Is Underway!

The Montana State Legislature meets bi-annually in Helena, Montana. View live video and audio streams of hearings and track bills online.

Interested in contacting state or local officials? Here’s a handy list!

During each State of Montana legislative session, legislators identify issues they want to study in more depth. They appoint interim committees to conduct these and other studies during the interims between sessions.  The committees often invite experts to present information to them. Members of the public also get a chance to have their say. Learn more about the State of Montana interim committee assignments  as well as a how to register public comment during interim committees.

View the Montana Legislature site

2017 Legislative Session: Statewide Early Childhood Advocacy Information

We are lucky to have Sarah Corbally from Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies working on behalf of all Montana’s Best Beginnings Advisory Councils as our legislative advocate and educator at the Capitol. She is providing summaries of legislation, is letting us know when legislation requires local advocacy, and is holding regular update calls to help us keep abreast of items of concern and interest for early childhood. Thank you, Sarah and HMHB! HMHB also has become a member of Montana Advocates for Children, joining forces with four other groups interested in early childhood issues. This is great news for littles and their families!

Session Updates

Legislative Forum 2016 Policy Briefs

On September 15, 2016, the ECC hosted a Legislative Forum to educate local candidates for public office about issues important to our coalition and to allow the public to learn the stances potential policy makers have taken on those issues. Notes from the Forum are here:

Some of the topics discussed include:

  1. Health Care for New Mothers
  2. Mental Health Needs of Pregnant Women and New Mothers
  3. Expanded Paid Leave
  4. Family and Children’s Mental Health
  5. Early Care and Early Education: A message from ECSB and CCLP
  6. Early Care and Early Education: ECSB 1-pager

Get Informed

All young children and their caregivers need access to high-quality, affordable early care and education, health and mental health, and family support services. These critical programs and services are only as strong as the infrastructure that supports them. These resources from Zero to Three: The National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families will help you understand and promote comprehensive, coordinated systems of high-quality, prenatal-to-five services in our state.

Advocacy 101

Wondering how to be an effective advocate? Check out our Advocacy 101 page for tips to get comfortable making your voice heard.

Track Federal Legislation

Child Care Aware of America’s Legislative Action Center provides information on federal legislation concerning early childhood and child care as well as action alerts and other resources.

View the Legislative Action Center 

For Donors

The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania maintains a toolkit for early childhood donors. In the past 30 seconds, three more children were born in the United States. Of these three, only two are likely to graduate from high school. Millions of children in the U.S. face lives of lost potential without access to quality prenatal care, healthy and supportive environments, and opportunities to learn.  It doesn’t have to be that way. Funders can help all children get an equal chance at a strong start.

View the full Invest in a Strong Start for Children: A toolkit for donors on early childhood