What We Do

Child Care Compliance section

We assure the health, safety, and development of Missouri’s children through a regulatory process to prevent injury, risk, or harm to dependent children in out-of-home child care settings.

Section Leaders: Caron Ahlemeyer and Kayla Todaro
Phone Number: 573-751-2450
Email: ChildCare@dese.mo.gov

Click here to find contact information for each regional Child Care Compliance office.

Child Care Regulations section

We manage child care administrative rules and we process fingerprints and conduct background screenings for child care and First Steps providers.

Section Leader: Christine Wynn
Team Leaders: Bridgette Limbach, Vacant
Phone Number: 573-751-2450
Email: ChildCare@dese.mo.gov

Childhood Finance section

We assist customers with the overall monitoring, management, and fiscal compliance of all financial transactions related to afterschool programs, child care subsidy, the First Steps Program, and the Safe Cribs for Missouri Program. This section is responsible for ensuring customers receive accurate and timely payments and working with customers to navigate through any payment discrepancies.

Section Leader: Sara Mallory
Team Leaders: Salona Parker, Vacant
Phone Number: 573-522-1385
Email: ChildhoodInvoices@dese.mo.gov

Early Intervention section

We administer the Missouri First Steps Program, which is a system for infants and toddlers, birth to age three, who have delayed development or diagnosed conditions that are associated with developmental disabilities.

Section Leader: Vacant
Team Leaders: Jodeen Maness, Sara Ruediger
Phone Number: 573-522-0045
Email: Childhood@dese.mo.gov

Home Visiting section

We administer the Home Visiting programs and Safe Cribs for Missouri Program which provide voluntary, high quality, home visiting services and access to other resources to provide the opportunity for children to grow up healthy, safe, and successful learners, and for their families to be active participants in this journey.

Section Leader: Chris Elwood
Team Leaders: Becky Chitima, Lana Brooks, Beth Stieferman
Phone Number: 573-522-2355
Email: HomeVisiting@dese.mo.gov

Outreach & Professional Development section

We maintain the EarlyConnections.mo.gov and Childhood.dese.mo.gov sites, and we coordinate the social media campaigns for the Office of Childhood.

We also plan and facilitate the annual Conference on the Young Years.

Section Leader: Ashton Kever
Team Leaders: Karla Voss, Erin Babb
Phone Number: 573-751-2095
Email: Childhood@dese.mo.gov

Quality Programs section

We focus on efforts to equip caregivers and educators with essential supports to help children thrive. Services include afterschool programs, preschool programs, and other quality initiatives.

In the Child Care Subsidy Program, we assist eligible parents/guardians with the cost of child care so they are able to focus on finding and holding steady jobs.

We manage the quality assurance report to provide a continuous quality improvement process for early learning programs and to provide families with consumer education about the quality of early learning programs.

Through the Child Care Development Fund Grant, we issue a competitive opportunity for public schools and colleges/universities to provide a safe environment that meets the individual, developmental, social, emotional, and physical needs of children ages 6 weeks to kindergarten entry.

Section Leader: Stephanie Chandler
Team Leaders: Bruce Dooley, Rachel Ratcliff, Cindy Heislen
Phone Number: 573-751-6793
Email: Childhood@dese.mo.gov