What We Do

Child Care Compliance section

We assist child care providers in becoming licensed by conducting inspections. We also investigate complaints in order to assure the health, safety, and development of Missouri’s children.  

Section Leaders: Caron Ahlemeyer, 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.

Regulations section

We process fingerprints and conduct background screenings for child care and First Steps providers. We also manage regulations for child care and the administrative rules for the Office of Childhood.

Section Leader: Christine Wynn
Team Leaders: Bridgette Limbach, Shelby Koetting
Phone Number: 573-751-2450
Email: ChildCare@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: Sara Ruediger
Team Leaders: Jodeen Maness, Martha Wilkerson
Phone Number: 573-522-0045
Email: EarlyIntervention@dese.mo.gov

Home Visiting section

We administer the Home Visiting programs, Parent Education programs in local school districts, 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: Betsy White
Team Leaders: Becky Chitima, Lana Brooks, Beth Stieferman
Phone Number: 573-522-2355
Email: HomeVisiting@dese.mo.gov

Outreach section

We manage the Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five (PDG B-5)Dolly Parton's Imagination Library of Missouri, and Early Childhood Coordinated Systems (ECCS) grant activities. We also maintain the EarlyConnections and DESE Office of Childhood websites.

Section Leader: Erin Babb
Team Leaders: Apurva Sunder, Courtney Hicks
Phone Number: 573-522-8762
Email: Childhood@dese.mo.gov

Child Care Subsidy section

In the Child Care Subsidy Program, we oversee contracts to ensure providers are implementing child care services for eligible parents/guardians. We also oversee subsidy payments to eligible child care providers. We also work with providers to navigate through any subsidy payment discrepancies.

Section Leader: Vacant
Team Leaders: Sharon Barsby, Hannah McGrath, Emily Stafford
Phone Number: 573-751-6571
Email: CCPayments@dese.mo.gov (payments) CCSubsidyAgreements@dese.mo.gov (contracts)

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, child care health consultation and other quality initiatives. 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.

We also manage the State Plan for the Child Care Development Fund Grant, which includes offering 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: Meghan Rackers, Cindy Heislen, Tara Caldwell, Amy Currence, Rachel Ratcliff
Phone Number: 573-751-6793
Email: Preschool@dese.mo.gov, Afterschool@dese.mo.gov, CCTraining@dese.mo.gov

Child Care Relief Funds section

We are responsible for the administration of child care relief funds. Together we plan, track, and oversee multiple funding opportunities available to improve, startup, and expand child care for families and children in Missouri.

Section Leader: Crystal Burgan
Team Leaders: Bryon Seboldt, Megan McCarty, and Brenda Verslues
Phone Number: 573-522-8762
Email: ChildCareRelief@dese.mo.gov

Childhood Finance section

We manage the financial transactions related to afterschool programs, child care relief funds, the First Steps Program, and the Safe Cribs for Missouri Program. We also work with professionals and contractors to navigate through any invoice and payment discrepancies.

Section Leader: Sara Mallory
Team Leaders: Vacant
Phone Number: 573-522-5595
Email: ChildhoodInvoices@dese.mo.gov