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Senator celebrates new loan fund that gives boost to facilities

Mike and Judee Delancy will soon be able to buy the home which also serves as their workplace.

The co-directors of Angel Child Care and Preschool plan to buy the home in which they've operated their business for the past three years. The home went up for sale recently and the Delancys decided to ensure that the day care stayed at the same location.

The Delancys will be the first recipients of a loan fund created by the Montana Child Care and Referral Network which is seed money from a federal grant. The $200,000 grant was given to the network, in part, because of the help of Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont.

The network will try to grow the fund over the next few years so that other child care facilities around the state also will be able to receive funding. Money available for loans amounts can range between $5,000 and $35,000, officials said.

"They can really use it for anything," said the network's executive director Janet Bush.

Bush said in the past the state offered expansion grants to child care facilities, but that money could not be used for construction costs.

But the money from the network's loan fund can be used for construction and expansion costs as well as for equipment, staff training and anything else the facility needs.

Angel Child Care and Preschool has been serving children since 1973 and was the fifth facility in Montana to be accredited. It serves kids from 3 weeks to 8 years old and is designed to prepare kids so they are ready for kindergarten, the Delancys said.

Burns stopped by the day care Tuesday to take a look at the facility and meet with the young people.

"This is a great example for the senator of a high-quality facility," said Bush.

"This is a pretty good collaboration between the financiers and the people who are willing to take care of these little nippers while their parents work," Burns said. "It's a worthy cause."

Judee Delancy met with Burns in Washington, D.C., earlier this year and invited him to come and see the facility. She said it isn't often that government officials get the chance to humanize budget money.

"We felt it was vital that we put the faces to those numbers," she said.

Without the help of Burns and the network, Delancy said the purchase of the day care would not be a reality.

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