Office of Childhood

Welcome to DESE’s Office of Childhood! This new office provides a comprehensive approach to childhood care and education in Missouri. It includes programs related to child care, home visiting, early learning, and early intervention for children birth to age five, as well as afterschool programs for school-age children. The Office of Childhood is responsible for overseeing DESE’s efforts to expand and improve high-quality early learning opportunities. Learn about our accomplishments in 2023.

Sections and Programs 

Early Connections

Early Connections makes navigating Missouri’s Early Care & Education (ECE) system easier for families and professionals. Visit Early Connections to learn more about how to ensure children are safe, healthy, and ready for school.

Missouri's Early and Education Connections