Click here to access the Missouri Head Start Map for information on Head Start provider service areas.

Click here for job opportunities in Missouri Head Start programs.

Missouri Resources & Links for Families & Programs:

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP):
assures that nutritious meals and snacks are served to children and eligible adults enrolled in child care centers, family child care homes, after school programs, emergency shelters, and adult day care programs by providing reimbursement for meals that meet minimum nutritional standards. The CACFP requires that well-balanced meals are served and good eating habits are taught. The CACFP also provides training and technical assistance on nutrition, food service operations, program management, nutrition education and recordkeeping.

Child Care Aware® of Missouri
is the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency in Missouri.  Information is available for parents, early care and education programs, and the general public about the many benefits of quality early learning. Partnering with state government agencies on system building and working with legislators on policy that affects early childhood, this network works to improve outcomes for children and families.

Food Stamp program: The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 renamed the federal program the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) effective October 1, 2008. SNAP is designed to promote the general welfare and safeguard the health and well-being of the nation’s population by raising the levels of nutrition among low-income households. The program is called the Food Stamp Program in Missouri.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – Laws and regulations for children with special needs from birth through three years (Part C) and three years to 21 years of age (Part B).

Missouri Early Head Start/Child Care Partnership Project: a nationally recognized effort to increase the capacity of and access to care for this vulnerable age group and to provide parents with a wider variety of quality child care settings from which to choose. The benefits of this partnership include allowing Missouri to maximize state funds by drawing down additional federal funds through a partnership with the Administration for Children and Families. It also positively impacts the overall quality of care in communities, and maximizes the number of children receiving benefits from this funding.

Missouri Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): has two components: Energy Assistance/Regular Heating (EA) and Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP). EA is designed to provide financial assistance to help pay heating bills for Missourians during the months of October, November, December, January, February, and March. Eligibility requirements for EA are based on income, household size, available resources and responsibility for payment of home heating costs. Eligibility for EA may also qualify individuals for additional financial assistance through ECIP.

Missouri’s Medicaid program is called MO HealthNet. MO HealthNet covers qualified medical expenses for individuals who meet certain eligibility requirements. Eligible individuals receive a “MO HealthNet Identification Card” or a letter from the Family Support Division identifying them as eligible for certain medical care services.
MO HealthNet (Medicaid) for Families: provides medical care for children under 19 years of age whose family income falls within certain guidelines. After your application has been processed, you will receive a letter from the Family Support Division. If family members are eligible for services, they will be issued a “MO HealthNet Identification Card,” and explanation of the medical services available to them.

ParentLink is a free program offering information on many topics helpful to families. ParentLink is operated by the University of Missouri. Parenting Specialists maintain a confidential toll-free warm-line at 800-552-8522 (en Español, 888-460-0008).

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): a program designed to provide cash benefits to low-income families for the household’s children such as clothing, utilities and other services. Upon approval of TANF, the recipient must participate in employment and training services through the Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) program. The MWA program helps TANF recipients transition from TANF to a job by helping set goals and get the skills needed to find a job and support the recipient’s family.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC): a special supplemental nutrition program which provides services to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children up to their 5th birthday based on nutritional risk and income eligibility.  The primary services provided are health screening, risk assessment, nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding promotion and referrals to health care.  Supplemental food is provided at no cost to participants.

MO Head Start Information and Statistics:

The Children-

The total cumulative enrollment for pregnant women and children for Early Head Start and Head Start in Missouri is 22,132.
  • MO Head Start program operate 1,114 classrooms through the state.

  • In our state, 64% of the children enrolled are income eligibile and nearly 25% are the receipient of some kind of public assistance.

  • The average cost per child in Missouri was $7, 326 for the last program year. 

Celebrating Diversity-

  • 52% of children served are Caucuasian
  • 32% of children served are African American
  • 7% of children served are Bi-Racial/Multi-Racial
  • 9% of children served are other ethnicities

The Families-

  • 20,080 total number of Missouri families were served with 67% being single parent families
  •  50% of Head Start families participated in parenting education
  • 20% received emergency or crisis intervention through Head Start services
  • 13% received housing assistance through Head Start
  • 45% received health education through Head Start


  • Over 95% of Missouri Head Start Programs had a regularly scheduled program to involved fathers/father figures with 36% of them participating in fatherhood activities.
  • Of the 1,008 homeless families served last year, 44% acquired housing during the enrollment year

The Staff-

  • 95% of classroom teachers and 43% of assistant teachers have an Early Childhood Education degree, Child Development Associate degree or state certification
  • Of the 227 teachers who left the program during the year, 26% left for higher compensation in the same field.
  • The average annual salary for teachers is $11.90 per hour and $8.83 per hour for an assistant teacher.


Missouri Head Start Association  "Working together for Missouri's children and families!"   
P.O. Box 817    Jefferson City, MO    65102    (573)884-5078

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