Governor Parson Announces New Office of Childhood

Today, Governor Mike Parson and the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Health and Senior Services (DHSS), and Social Services (DSS) announced the consolidation of several early childhood programs across state government into a single Office of Childhood. The new office will be housed by DESE and provide a comprehensive approach to early childhood care and education, including all state programs related to child care, home visiting, early learning, and early intervention. Currently, DESE, DHSS, and DSS each provide various services for children and families. The transition to one office will streamline early childhood work across state government and ensure all Missouri children and families have access to more consistent, quality programs and services.A cornerstone of this initiative, and a top priority for each participating department leader, is ensuring Missouri’s children are safe, healthy, and successful learners. The Office of Childhood will consist of approximately 145 employees across the state. No state employee positions are being eliminated due to this consolidation. Current funding will remain unchanged for the programs involved as well as private child care providers and public schools. The Office of Childhood will have an estimated Fiscal Year 2022 budget of approximately $660 million. Governor Parson today signed Executive Order 21-01 officially establishing the new office, which will take effect on August 28, 2020, unless disapproved by the state legislature within 60 days.

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