First Steps Parent Information

Welcome to Missouri First Steps. Every family wants their child to grow and learn. Families with young children who have special needs or developmental delays may require a little extra support. This support is called early intervention.

Early intervention is about helping infants and toddlers with delays or disabilities develop important developmental milestones or skills, such as crawling, playing, talking and eating, during their first three years. By bringing families together with early intervention specialists, families can learn new ways to encourage and support their child’s development within their daily activities.

Referral sources are an important part of the early intervention system. State regulations outline which individuals and agencies may refer a child to First Steps. These identified individuals and agencies are called "primary referral sources." For more information on referral sources, see the Referral and Eligibility tab below.

Developmental Milestones
Referral and Eligibility
Parental Rights
Early Intervention Teams (EIT)
Family Engagement Opportunities
  • Family Stakeholder Group Flyer The Office of Childhood, Early Intervention section with Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) knows the importance of involving families in decisions that are made at the state level. Building meaningful partnerships with families helps continue to improve the First Steps program.  Learn more about how to get involved with state initiatives such as family outcomes, childhood outcomes, and other topics of interest to First Steps families by joining the Family Stakeholder Group.
  • Missouri Parents Act (MPACT) - MPACT provides information about trainings for families, how to share your family's First Steps story, and resources available to help your family navigate through Early Intervention and Special Education services. 
  • Missouri Early Childhood State Advisory Council (EC SAC) - On January 7, 2022, Governor Parson signed Executive Order 22-01 creating the Missouri Early Childhood State Advisory Council. With this executive order, the State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) for the First Steps early intervention program was consolidated into the state advisory council, which membership mirrors the SICC.
  • Regional Interagency Coordinating Council (RICC) - The  RICC  is  responsible  for  assisting  the  System Point of Entry (SPOE) with  local  child  find  efforts,  public  awareness  activities and determining the effectiveness of the First Steps system within the region. Families may contact their local First Steps office for more information.
  • Additional Opportunities for Family Involvement - Have your voice heard by getting involved at the state and regional level through Parent Advisory Councils (PAC), Office of Childhood Monthly Stakeholder webinars, Community Leader meetings in your region, and learn more about what is going on in childhood care and education in Missouri by subscribing to the Childhood Connections monthly newsletter. 
Find Family Resources and Information
  • Missouri Family Resources Homepage - Learn how the Missouri Family Resources (MFR) website works and access the free statewide resources website and mobile app, along with user tips and promotional materials.
  • Missouri Family Resources (MFR) – MFR is a free and easy way to find early childhood programs and community resources near you. You can search by zip code, keywords, or category. Filter and share your results with friends and families by email, text, or on social media. You can also download the mobile app!
  • Child Care and Resource Parent Flyer - Know someone who is looking for child care or other resources to support their family? Use the flyer to share who to contact or how to access a self-search website 24/7.
First Steps Year at a Glance

The First Steps Year at a Glance is an annual publication that shares First Steps family stories and program data. The Year at a Glance includes fiscal year information on how many children received services in each county in Missouri, who refers children to First Steps, Annual Performance Report information that is shared with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and more.


First Steps Newsletters