new learning center has opened in Bozeman at a time when parents are trying to get back to work and balance the cost of child care.
“It means a lot to families, myself being one. This is hugely important to provide safe and welcoming care for kids,” said Rising Stars Early Learning Center Director Jackie Ng.
Family Promise says the opening of Rising Stars came one year ahead of schedule and couldn't have come at a better time with labor shortages and high costs of child care impacting families.
“This center gives a sense of normalcy again. It makes us feel like we're ready to balance the work-family life,” said Ng.
Their goal is to help parents have that work-life balance and sometimes even help out, such as in the case of Taesha Redhat jumping back into the workforce after experiencing homelessness and welcoming her first baby.
“It's my first child, it's a new experience and I think it will be very, very validating and exciting because I'll be able to pay the bill and I'll be able to be around my kid when I get home,” said Redhat.
“Help get these parents back to work,” added Ng.
According to the Montana Budget and Policy Center, child care is the largest expense for families.
For a family with a median income of around $74,000, on average, a family tends to spend $1,300 a month just on child care alone. That tends to be around 21% of the income being spent on childcare.
The next largest expense is food at just under $800.
“I'm able to go to work, and have a safe place for him to be, and with people who know what they are doing,” said Redhat.
The center is taking a weight off the shoulders of parents as they get ready to jump back into the workplace.
“Such a wonderful ease back into the real work world that we're all struggling to get back into,” says Ng.
One thing that Redhat says she looks forward to the most is that she gets back to work.
“We’ll be able to do it ourselves in full,” says Redhat.
Directors tell MTN News that the center is open to everyone who might need daycare services.
MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.