This January, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, along with the Missouri Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education, Health and Senior Services, and Social Services, announced a new state Office of Childhood.
The consolidation is an effort to bring together previously fragmented early care and education programs delivered by multiple state agencies. Programs under the new organization will include child care, home visiting, early learning, and Part C early intervention. It is designed to reduce confusion, duplication of effort, administrative barriers for providers, and inconsistent quality and access to services for children and families.
The new office will be housed in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and is set to officially launch in August 2021. Administratively, the changes are expected to increase cooperation and collaboration among early childhood programs. The new structure will enhance the ability to share goals and best practices across programs to promote effectiveness, excellence, and equity for all of Missouri’s children.
ZERO TO THREE heartily congratulates the many state leaders and advocates who made this vision a reality. Missouri is a member of ZERO TO THREE’s Building Strong Foundations for Families state technical assistance project and the team is lifting up the unique needs of babies and their families to inform design and implementation of the new office.