Because of the incredible importance of child safety, health, and wellbeing, the State of Montana and the Lincoln County Health Department guide and enforce strict licensing requirements and yearly inspections to ensure safe standards in all licensed childcare facilities in Lincoln County. Currently, Lincoln County has 13 licensed childcare facilities. Besides ensuring staff competency, vaccination, CPR training, and select certifications as well as the safety of the facility itself, a large part of maintaining a childcare license revolves around ensuring all enrolled children have received the required immunizations to attend daycare.
According to the Administrative Rules of Montana 37.95.140, all children currently enrolled in a licensed day care facility are required to have certain immunizations. Those immunizations currently are diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (Dtap), Haemophilus Influenza B (HIB), Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella (MMRV) and their respective boosters according to the ACIP guidelines.
The reason behind these requirements is due to the high-risk group that these children fall under. “Any child under 4 or 5 years old is very susceptible to disease, even if they are an otherwise healthy child” states County Health Nurse, Riley Black “Because this age group makes up the majority of day care populations, it is critically important that these children are as protected as possible from easily spread and acquired diseases”. In the State of Montana, religious or philosophical exemption for child vaccination is not recognized for licensed day cares.
In January, the State house and senate passed addendums to add 2 additional vaccines to the required schedule for children enrolled in licensed childcare facilities. Those additions included the Pneumococcal (Prevnar13) and Hepatitis B vaccines. This addition will take effect June 1, 2018 and will require children non-compliant to ensure vaccination by that time. “I recommend that for children needing these vaccines, they start the process now since each vaccine requires booster doses over the course of a few months” advised Black.
In the State of Montana, licensure is required for any individual or group who regularly watches 2 or more un-related children at a time, for 6 or more hours per day, for 4 or more days a week. For child safety and wellbeing, it is considered illegal for any such operations to continue without licensure and regular inspections.
Lincoln County Public Health (LCPH) offers all required and recommended child vaccines with the County Health Nurse in Libby and Eureka. LCPH accepts private, Medicaid, CHIPS, and un-insured children. Children unable to afford vaccination are vaccinated for FREE. If you would like more information about how this change might affect you and your child and if you would like to make an appointment for vaccination, please contact us at (406) 283-2447. Additionally, we can look up records and offer free vaccination consultations.