Description: The purpose of this project is to improve early childhood outcomes throughout Missouri. Early childhood local stakeholder teams were established in 14ECCS communities to initiate a replicable and sustainable statewide system infrastructure with the objectives of solidifying  interagency relationships, building capacity through increased community awareness, and expanding/diversifying funding. A broad-based team revised Missouri’s ECCS Plan and works closely with the Missouri Coordinating Board for Early Childhood for implementation. In 2013, a shift in purpose aims to help families become aware of and able to identify trauma and provide support and mitigate the impact through a collective community-based impact approach.


Project Contact:               Kathryn L. Fuger, 816.235.5351,

Project Period:                 1997-2013

Project Funding:              $44,745 (FY2014)

Funding Source:               Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, with funding from DHHS Maternal and Child Health Bureau

Core Functions

Applied Research: IHD conducted a process evaluation throughout the Planning and Implementation Phases in the development of ECCS. They develop and administer surveys of family members and planning participants to inform the planning and implementation process.

Community Services and Supports: IHD faculty facilitate Steering Committee meetings; provide technical support in redevelopment and revision of the ECCS Plan and related indicators; provide technical support to local communities in the development of a local infrastructure for ECCS; initiated the creation of local stakeholder teams that include Head Start and multiple other partners representing health, mental health, social services, and education; and collaborated with the Family-2-Family Resource Center in implementing a Family Leadership Clearinghouse to develop family leaders and place them in decision/policy-making roles.

Information Dissemination: A state plan and process evaluation were completed for dissemination. The Family Survey was published on the state website for family participation. IHD participated with the MO Department of Health and Senior Services in presenting the plan to leaders of the state agency and other key organizations. IHD faculty authored a community development manual, toolkit, and stakeholder team profiles. They established a site for statewide online collaboration and gave presentations to state and local groups on the ECCS initiative, the planning process, and the resulting plan. IHD hosted 4 statewide summits.

Interdisciplinary Personnel Preparation: Interdisciplinary students in the Leadership Education in Neuro-developmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program were informed of the ECCS project through their Director and other staff who participated in the planning process.


Program Need and Historical Context

  • This initiative responds to the need for a more comprehensive, integrated, and statewide approach addressing the needs of young children.
  • Disparities in the delivery of maternal and child health services have been noted in Missouri, particularly with regard to differences associated with level of income, education, race, and geographic location.
  • Approximately 15,000 Missouri children have limited English proficiency; 38% of Missouri’s young children live in poverty; 89,000 have no health insurance; and 21% have not been immunized. Eight percent of infants had low birth weight, and infant mortality in Missouri was 17%.
  • The availability, affordability, and quality of adequate child care services for families vary throughout the state. Missouri Head Start programs serve 45% of income-eligible children and Early Head Start programs serve 5% of income-eligible families of infants and toddlers.
  • 21% of children entering kindergarten were assessed to have below average school readiness skills.
  • Of the 2% of infants and toddlers eligible for special education services in Missouri, no provider of recommended specialized services was available for 356 of the children, particularly in rural areas.
  • Many obstetricians, pediatricians, and public health nurses trained in Missouri are ill-equipped to address maternal depression or children’s mental health needs.


Consumer and Community Involvement

  • Assist communities in developing stakeholder teams to address the needs of young children
  • Form a Family Leadership Clearinghouse with the capacity to measure leadership competencies and link family leaders to training and leadership opportunities.
  • Assisted in recruitment of families with young children for Family Conference.


Significant Project Activities and Outcomes

  • Development of ECCS Plan endorsed by the Governor and representatives from all relevant state agencies
  • Completion of process evaluation of Planning and Implementation Phase
  • Establishment of 14 community early childhood stakeholder teams


Institute’s Role

  • Design and administer survey of Missouri families and planning partners
  • Provide technical support in development of state plan and federal grant applications
  • Provide technical support in development of local infrastructure for ECCS
  • Member of the ECCS Steering Committee



  • Evaluation Surveys and Evaluation Reports
  • Missouri’s ECCS Plan:  Shared Goals for Families, Schools, and Communities to Support Young Children
  • Early Childhood Comprehensive System Community Stakeholder Team Manual and Toolkit (2012)



System:  Partners at the state and local level expand their knowledge of early childhood  issues in Missouri, which aids in selecting strategies to enhance the lives of Missouri children. Communities consider local needs and priorities in selecting strategies consistent with the ECCS Plan.  New local partnerships emerge.

Personnel:  This  plan promotes  integrated professional development; improved personnel training; and more coordinated services and supports for families of young children.

Leveraging:  The project leveraged Planning Phase funding to receive Implementation Funding.  ECCS initiative was done in tandem with the Governor’s Office Children’s Services Commission work to develop a Coordinating Board for Early Childhood. The ECCS initiative leveraged funding with the Missouri Head Start-State Collaboration Office to fulfill local infrastructure development and leveraged effort with an existing Memorandum of Understanding Task Force. The model for community development was adapted from an Office of Head Start Innovation and Improvement grant awarded to Missouri.