Tester Secures Funding for CSKT’s Early Childhood Education and Childcare Programs

(Butte, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will receive more than $1 million to fund their Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships through the next year.

“Our children are our future,” said Tester, a senior member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “And the enrichment that Head Start provides is critical to ensuring Montana’s children can thrive—intellectually, psychologically, physically and emotionally—in kindergarten and beyond.”

CSKT will receive $1,017,473 to fund early education programs that serve more than 90 students, ages 0-3. The funding comes from the Administration for Children and Families’ American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Grants Program.

“We are absolutely delighted by this announcement,” said Jeanne Christopher, head of Early Childhood Services for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. “This program is a great resource for children and families throughout our community and we try to be good neighbors and help bring in children from the surrounding communities as well.”

While this funding will go towards classrooms serving children ages 0-3, the tribes received an additional $2.6 million in funding earlier this month to help serve the nearly 200 children ages 3-5 that participate in CSKT’s traditional Head Start Program. Christopher also notes that in all but one of the 43 years she’s been with CSKT’s Early Childhood Services Department, they have run a summer program for children with special needs.

Together CSKT’s Early Head Start, Head Start, and Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Programs serve nearly 300 children ages 0-5 from Polson, Ronan, St. Ignatius, Dixon, Arlee, Elmo, and Pablo.