Early Childhood Grants & Resources
Integrating A Support System For Child
Care In Missouri
The ChildLink Concept
Early childhood professionals make a tremendous difference in the lives of Missouri’s children. Brain development research has proven that the early years are absolutely critical to children’s development and life success. More learning occurs from age 0-5 than any other developmental period. It is, therefore, essential that every child be given every chance to fully develop their potential.
Since many families must work, quality child care is essential to healthy child development in Missouri. Parents need to know how and where to locate quality care and providers need essential supports to improve the quality of care they can provide. Since the education and training of early childhood professionals is highly correlated with quality and quality is highly correlated with child outcomes, Missouri needs an excellent, cohesive system to offer these supports to providers and make referrals to families.
Many Missouri State agencies have supported quality child care. The Missouri Department of Social Services, Department of Health and Senior Services and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have joined forces with many advisors to plan how best to support an integrated system of professional development, education, training and resource and referral to serve the child care community.
A design for a statewide support system for child care, hereafter referred to as ChildLink, has been developed to build on the excellent work that has been done in Missouri and maximize available resources for these activities. As lead agency for the Child Care and Development Fund, the Department of Social Services desires to support this cohesive system and reduce duplication, fragmentation and competition. The basic framework envisioned for a ChildLink system follows.