A new study by the Montana Kid’s Count Data Center is drawing attention to issues faced by Montana families. Kid’s Count Communication's Director Jennifer Calder says young families in Montana face a variety of challenges.

"Approximately half of Montana's families with young children are low income," Calder said. "There are kind of three primary challenges that these families face which are, inflexible and unpredictable jobs that don't pay enough; many of these families lack access to high quality and reliable early care and education; and generally speaking, there's a lot of stress both for parents and children in low income families."

Kids count Data Center has proposed a series of ways to help ease the stress of young families, many which may appear during the 2015 Montana legislative session.

"Expanding the earned income tax credit so non-custodial parents have more income, or particularly for low income families, increasing the refundable child tax credit so that more families can access that and that will help ease the burden of poverty," Caldwell said. "The state and local businesses can kind of adopt policies that will give more parents flexibility at work such as paid time off."

Calder says a family in Montana needs to earn a combined total of about 18 dollars an hour to make ends meet.

Jennifer Calder: