Awareness & Advocacy: Early Childhood Intervention Cuts

Montana is facing state budget cuts, and one of the proposed cuts is Part C Early Intervention Services for all of Montana. In Billings, this includes Early Childhood Intervention, or ECI, and Support and Techniques for Empowering People, or STEP. ECI is available for children 0-3 years of age, and STEP services are available for children from 3-21 years of age. Early intervention has a documented positive effect upon children’s future outcomes, which ultimately impacts an entire classroom and community when children enter their elementary school.

Please see the information and resources below and take action if you are willing. Thank you so much for your support!  The children and families that need this service are depending on our voices joining theirs to be heard.

Summary of issue


More information

Summary of the issue:

On August 30, the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) announced to ECI and other organizations that serve children through Montana Milestones Early Intervention (Part C) that funding will be cut by 12.5% per child as of January 1, 2018.   Then, on September 8, DPHHS posted their proposal to eliminate these services entirely, as part of the effort to balance the state budget.

If these services are eliminated, many children will lose access to the therapies, instruction, resources and assistance they need to develop and grow. Research consistently shows that children who do not receive timely, appropriate, sufficient services do not make optimal progress in their development. They are restricted from reaching their full potential and may ultimately require more costly services in later years. Eliminating the federal/state Early Intervention program in Montana would give our state the dubious distinction of being the ONLY state in the union to stop all services to infant and toddlers who have delays and/or disabilities.

Caring for our children is an important Montana value.  Let’s not hamper the success and vitality of future generations of Montanans by making these drastic and short-sighted cuts.

Take action now

Quick action: We welcome your signature on the petition to Governor Bullock, and you may also use these resources to send individual letters to those listed.

Write to state officials and legislators using these sample letters. The Parent Letter is for those who currently use or have used ECI or STEP services. The Community Letter is for concerned community members who recognize the value of and need for adequately funding these services.


You can also contact your legislators and the governor at to express your opinion!


Contact information:
Person Mailing Address Phone Number Email Address
Governor Steve Bullock State Capitol, Room 204

PO Box 200801

Helena, MT 59620-0801


DPHHS Director

Sheila Hogan


PO Box 4210

111 North Sanders, Room 301

Helena, MT  59604

Medicaid and Health Services Branch Manager

Marie Matthews

PO Box 4210

111 North Sanders, Room 301

Helena, MT  59604

Developmental Services Division Administrator Rebecca de Camara PO Box 4210

111 North Sanders, Room 305

Helena, MT  59604

Developmental Disabilities Program Bureau Chief

Novelene Martin

PO Box 4210

111 North Sanders, Room 305

Helena, MT  59604

DDP Region 3 Manager Shannon Cole-Merchen 2121 Rosebud, Suite H

Billings, MT 59102


Get more information about the issue here:
Gazette: Guest opinion: Billings physicians speak up for early kids’ intervention

Gazette: Montana families could use critical help for young kids under massive cuts

Q2 coverage on proposed cuts to ECI

ECI Billings Facebook @ECI-Early Childhood Intervention