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Early Childhood

AWARE offers early childhood services to families and children zero to eight. These services are available to families of all social and economic statues. Our programs include Child & Family Counseling and Early Head Start. Children with disabilities are welcome.

Early Head Start Programs
Center-Based Services


AWARE Early Head Start is a grant-funded child development program for eligible children and their families.

AWARE Early Head Start provides children with services that encourage and promote social, emotional, physical growth and development, and cognitive skills. Learning is designed to respond to the individual strengths and needs of each child. Children of all abilities are welcome.

By focusing on evidence-based best practices, Early Head Start improves children’s lives by providing family-focused child development and school readiness services. These include health, behavioral health, education, and nutrition services. Early Head Start receives the Child and Adult Care Food Program reimbursement to provide nutritious meals when the child attends the center-based option.

Parent involvement is a cornerstone of Early Head Start and is key to the quality services we provide. Parents have many opportunities to participate in their child’s education and development. Families are further supported by social, behavioral health, and disabilities services.

We serve pregnant women, children ages birth to three, and their families. There is no cost to qualified families enrolled in Early Head Start. 

Early Head Start center-based services are offered in Butte, Helena, Belgrade, and Billings.

“Before my son and I had AWARE early childhood services in our lives, we were lost. Now we have a super support system that I wouldn’t trade for the world. AWARE has put happiness back in to parenting.” – Parent


Child Care Partnerships​

AWARE’s Early Head Start Child Care Partnership program works with local child care agencies in Billings, Belgrade, Bozeman, Butte, East Helena, and Helena to provide Early Head Start services. AWARE contracts with these local child care facilities to reserve Early Head Start slots in their centers. AWARE serves 80 children and families through the Child Care Partnership program grant. Families must be eligible for state child care subsidies and meet the same income guidelines for all Early Head Start families.

The purpose of Early Head Start Child Care Partnership is to:

  • Increase the quality and capacity of child care through partnerships with community child care providers

  • Provide continuity of care for children birth to age three

  • Offer comprehensive family services, recognizing the parent as the child’s first teacher

  • Increase child and family school readiness

Services and benefits to families:

  • Consistency in child care regardless of change in finances

  • Diaper and formula supplies while child is in care

  • Opportunity to participate in Early Head Start Policy Council

  • Yearly, two education home visits and two annual parent teacher conferences

  • Regular home visits with Early Head Start support staff to assist with developing family goals and activities and to connect with other community professionals

  • Learning opportunities pertaining to child development, health, nutrition, behavioral health and family

  • Leadership opportunities

  • Behavioral health consultation with a licensed therapist to support children in their social and emotional growth

Services and benefits to child care providers:

  • Once a child is enrolled, they are guaranteed an Early Head Start slot until the child’s third birthday 

  • Child care slots are paid for according to a joint agreement

  • Training and coaching for teachers on the Creative Curriculum

  • Training and coaching for teachers on social emotional development of children, based on the Pyramid model

  • Assistance helping teaching staff grow professionally

  • Early Head Start support staff available to provide family support, intervention, and assistance with health issues, challenging behaviors, attendance, and nutrition

  • Transition planning for individual children

For more information, email us at:  

AWARE EHS Annual Report Cover Page.png

AWARE Child Care Partners

Babies and Beyond 

Kari Shirley 


406.461.5486 cell


Kristi’s Kiddie Korner

Kristi Wilson

406.490.0178 (program)

406.223.3480 (personal)


Family Tree Nurturing Center - Childcare

Amy Parent



Shelly Fischer Childcare Programs

University on Princeton, Kidz Konnections, and Young Explorers 

Shelly Fischer

C: 406.491.3839 

YE: 406.723.6289

U on P: 406.723.6292

KK: 406.723.3439

Child & Family Counseling
Child & Family Counseling Services
Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) 
PCIT is an evidence-based, family-oriented intervention designed to help improve the parent-child relationship through interaction. PCIT emphasizes improving the quality of the parent-child relationship and changing parent-child patterns.  During sessions with a PCIT therapist, both the parent/caregiver and child are seen together. Therapists coach the parent from an observation room using either a camera or a one-way mirror and a hidden earpiece for communicating to the parent during the play.

PCIT is effective for children who are at risk, who have experienced trauma, and who have behavioral challenges. This modality has also been proven to support children in foster care transition and maintain their placement, in turn increasing positive experience and coping.

“My family and I have tried a lot of services, including home based and therapy but it never seemed to work for us. We now have AWARE and PCIT therapy in our life, and I know what to do and feel confident as a parent.”
– Parent

For more information, email us at:  

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

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