The Week of the Young Child starts Monday in Missoula, with special two special events in honor of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

On Monday, Healthy Start Missoula will sponsor a free night for families at A Carousel For Missoula from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Then, on Tuesday, the State of the Young Child will be presented from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Healthy Start Coordinator Anna Semple outlined one of the topics to be covered in the seminars on Tuesday.

“We’ll really be focusing on the importance of high quality child care,” Semple said. “Like the challenges that we face around it, such as the fact that it costs more to send a child to child care than it does to the University of Montana. So, we see that cost is a big issue and availability is also a huge issue.”

Semple said some Montana businesses are offering innovative child care options for their employees.

“We have some people coming out from Livingston who run an on-site child care at a local printing company,” she said. “They’ve done a really great job in making that work for their employees as an incentive to keep working at the company, and to respect that that’s a huge need that they have.”

According to the Montana Budget and Policy Center, the average cost of child care for a 4-year-old is $7,900 a year and the average cost of infant care is $9,000 a year.

The event on the 25th will include two trainings in the morning for Early Childhood service providers (8:00am – 11:00am), a luncheon with community leaders (11:30am – 1:00pm), and a conversation following the luncheon (1:15pm – 2:00pm), “Supporting Families and Strengthening Your Workforce,” to discuss ways our community can better support families.

Get more details on the event here.