Early Childhood Community Council

You are here

Children and youth consistently get a strong start and have a solid foundation for success in school, work and life.

The Gallatin Early Childhood Community Council (ECCC) is a coalition of over 90 individuals and 30 community organizations that work to develop actions and strategies designed to improve the lives of young children and families in Gallatin County. Greater Gallatin United Way is the lead agency and fiscal agent for ECCC. ECCC works to ensure every child in our area is well, healthy, and ready for success in school and life. ECCC hosts community events, coordinates training for professionals working with children and families, hosts community events that supports and educates family's about the importance of healthy development during the first five years of a child's life, and supports early care and education providers to help them provide the best care possible. The council meets monthly. Click Here - History of ECCC

ECCC established focus or workgroups that meet regularly to develop action plans and set goals for their specific focus area. Gallatin ECCC Seven Focus Areas include:

  1. Increase the availability and affordability of high-quality early care and education opportunities in Gallatin County
  2. Build resilient and trauma-informed communities through Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), Trauma-informed Care, self-care, and other resilience-building trainings
  3. Ensure children enter Kindergarten prepared to succeed in school
  4. Increase public awareness of the importance of early childhood in Gallatin County
  5. Ensure ECCC is the main early childhood resource for legislators in Gallatin County
  6. Ensure local Project LAUNCH work receives guidance and is sustainable after the grant period ends in September, 2019
  7. Ensure ECCC remains sustainable for the next 3-5 years

Demand for high quality early care and education in Gallatin County is high and unfortunately the supply is low. Often the cost for care is high and parents feel the stress. Care providers struggle too to retain staff and keep their doors open.

To address this urgent need, Greater Gallatin United Way, Child Care Connections, and ECCC established an New Early Care Provider Fund, which provides startup funds for new early care and education providers. The goal is to increase availability and affordability of high-quality early care and education opportunities in the Gallatin area. Long-term goals include:  

  1. Increase the availability and affordability of high-quality infant care slots in Gallatin County from 340 to 680 by 2020 (340 new slots for a 100% increase)
  2. Increase the availability and affordability of high-quality two to five year old slots in Gallatin County from 1607 to 1767 by 2020 (160 new slots for a 10% increase)
  3. Increase enrollment in Best Beginnings Child Care Scholarship Program in Gallatin County from 1,032 to 1,296 by 2020 (264 new enrollees for a 25% increase)
  4. Promote and explore employer-supported early care and education
  5. Conduct outreach to families, providers, and employers to understand needs and engage them in the work to address this issue
  6. Promote professional development in the early care and education field to improve the quality of care by supporting enrollment in the Best Beginnings STARS to Quality program

As the work of the focus group progresses, each of the goals listed above will also have its own set of strategies and objectives developed to break down the tasks and responsibilities even further.

Currently, Gallatin ECCC, Greater Gallatin United Way, Childcare Connections, Gallatin Mental Health Center, Thrive, Early Childhood Project, Gallatin City-County Health Department and Community Health Partners are partnering in Montana Project LAUNCH Initiative (MT-PLI). Montana Project LAUNCH Initiative (MT-PLI) is an $800,000 per year, 5-year federal SAMSHA grant received by Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) in September 2014. Read More

More information on ECCC’s focus areas and specific goals will be shared within the next few months. If you have questions or are interested in supporting the work of the Gallatin Early Childhood Community Council, please contact Tyson Krinke, ECCC Coordinator, at (406)587-2194 or at eccc@greatergallatinunitedway.org

Why early childhood matters

2018 - Early Childhood Development In Montana Report

  • Our earliest days, weeks and months of life are a period of unparalleled growth when trillions of brain cell connections are made (Zero to Three).
  • Health and development are directly influenced by the quality of care and experiences a child has with his parents and other adults (Zero to Three).
  • The connection between early life experiences and the health of a nation underscores the importance of strategic investments in the care and protection of pregnant women, infants, and young children, and it suggests that most current attempts to prevent adult disease and create a healthier workforce may be starting too late (Harvard Center for the Developing Child).
  • Children’s health is a nation’s wealth, as a sound body and mind enhance the capacity of children to develop a wide range of competencies that are necessary to become contributing members of a successful society (Harvard).
  • One in six children who are not reading proficiently in third grade does not graduate from high school on time
  • Overall, 22 percent of children who have lived in poverty do not graduate from high school, compared to 6 percent of those who have never been poor


In response to many children not entering school ready to learn, GGUW convened Success By 6, a collaboration of multi-sector partners including, MSU Dept of Education, THRIVE, MSU Early Childhood, Community Health Partners, Gallatin City/County Health Department, area school districts, Child Care Connections and other organizations. The focus was on forming a framework for planning and implementing future work to support a “whole child” approach to education, focusing on both cognitive skills and the child’s social and emotional development.

In 2010, as part of community early childhood discussions, a joint grant application was submitted to MT Department of Public Health and Human Services (MT DPHHS) Early Childhood Services Bureau with GGUW as the lead agency. Our community was one of seven in the state to receive Best Beginnings grant for $135,000 over a two-year period to conduct a comprehensive assessment of early childhood services in our region in order to identify assets and gaps and discover methods for connecting with system users – the parents. At the same time MT DPHHS Public Health Bureau was awarded a grant to conduct similar work. The state then combined the two funds. The Best Beginnings Coordinator began working closely with the Gallatin County/City Health Department to develop a work plan for collecting and analyzing the data. Strategic planning meetings were held with over 30 community partners working together to advance the project. GGUW's Executive Director, Carol Townsend, was appointed to the Governor’s Best Beginnings Council. In 2013, a comprehensive needs assessment was delivered to the community. 2013 Early Childhood Community Needs Assessment

GGUW continued to act as the lead agency and fiscal agent for the coalition, now named Early Childhood Community Council (ECCC). In 2014, a MT Compact VISTA employed by ECCC completed a health and human resource guide for the community, 2014 Community Resource Guide, as part of the councils work. The community-wide coalition continues to promote thriving children from birth through age eight. ECCC provides leadership to community partners with the goal of creating an efficient, effective and comprehensive system of early childhood services in the Greater Gallatin area to ensure that every child has a healthy and enriched beginning.

For more information about ECCC, visit ecccgallatin.org or contact Tyson Krinke, 406.587.2194

Council Partners

ASMSU Child Care Center, A.W.A.R.E. Inc., Belgrade Community Library, Belgrade Public Schools, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gallatin County, Bozeman Public Library, Bozeman Public Schools, Child Care Connections, Child Development Center, Children’s Museum of Bozeman, City of Bozeman Recreation Department, Community Health Partners (Gallatin & Park Counties), Family Promise, Family Outreach, Gallatin City-County Health Department, Gallatin Mental Health Center, Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Gallatin Valley YMCA, Greater Gallatin United Way, HRDC Head Start, Livingston Public Schools, Montana Team Nutrition, Montana State University Child Development Center, Montana State University College of Education, Health & Human Development, Montana State University Early Childhood Project, Museum of the Rockies, Park County Community Foundation, Thrive and Youth Dynamics.

Montana Project Launch Initiative

Currently, Gallatin ECCC, Greater Gallatin United Way, Childcare Connections, Gallatin Mental Health Center, Thrive, Early Childhood Project, Gallatin City-County Health Department and Community Health Partners are partnering in Montana Project LAUNCH Initiative (MT-PLI). Montana Project LAUNCH Initiative (MT-PLI) is an $800,000 per year, 5-year federal SAMSHA grant received by Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) in September 2014. The goal of the initiative is to engage Montana’s early childhood partners to improve systems and access to mental health services for young children and families in our rural state while piloting evidence-based practices in Gallatin and Park Counties. 2014 Project Launch Briefing Sheet

MT-PLI will implement the following interventions in Gallatin and Park Counties:

  • Integrating mental health into pediatric care
  • Bridging obstetrics and pediatrics while supporting pregnant moms through dynamic partnerships with home visiting and community agencies
  • Enhancing home visiting with early childhood mental health expertise
  • Preventing burn out in direct service providers through mental health consultation
  • Preventing challenging behavior in early care and education with Pyramid Coaching and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
  • Improving and growing screening practices
  • Training the workforce on infant/early childhood mental health and development

The MT-PLI will also fund local and state level infrastructure development activities, led by the state Best Beginnings Advisory Council (BBAC) and the local Best Beginning Coalition already working to improve early childhood systems.

The MT-PLI aims to reduce disparities in mental health outcomes, improve the mental health status and realize healthy children in healthy families.

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Early Childhood Services Bureau, Children’s Mental Health Bureau and the Family and Community Health Bureau are working collaboratively to implement this grant at the state level and oversee the local work.