Missouri’s youngest children need everyone to work together to support a safe and healthy early childhood. But how are we doing this? What do families expect? What do early childhood professionals need to provide the best care possible?

To answer these questions, UMSL's Community Innovation and Action Center, in partnership with the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis (OSEDA) and the Institute of Public Policy (IPP) at the University of Missouri, studied the early care and education system in Missouri on behalf of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, DESE, DSS, DHSS, as well as Child Care Aware of Missouri and the Federal Office of Head Start. Researchers conducted 22 listening sessions and 15 key informant interviews with early childhood professionals and families, which engaged a total of 304 people in both rural and urban areas across Missouri. Researchers also gave a survey to over 900 early childhood stakeholders — aligning these results with existing early childhood and public health data sources.

The result is the Missouri Preschool Development Grant Needs Assessment (link).

In this comprehensive 161-page report, you will find vital information about the current early childhood system in Missouri, child care capacity, risk factors and statewide goals ("Risk and Reach"), critical information about access and quality, and systemic factors impacting the system using an equity lens.

You can find more about these efforts on DESE's website, including brief overviews of Needs Assessment findings.

Please contact Kiley Bednar, CIAC Interim Co-Director, for any additional details about these efforts.

Excerpt: The Early Childhood Landscape in Missouri


Sample Map: Distribution of Children in Urban and Rural Counties