Join the thousands of parents and supporters of Missouri's public schools to learn what you can do to help!

3 Important Programs for At-Risk Children in Missouri


We have talked a lot lately on the Missouri Parent Blog about the importance of early childhood education, and about some of the resources available to Missouri families who have young children at home. Today we’ll take a closer look at three programs that serve at-risk youth: Parents as Teachers, Title I, and Head Start. Read on to learn more about what each of these programs does and where their funding comes from.

Parents As Teachers
The Parents as Teachers network is international, and it serves families in all 50 states. Its programs help increase parent involvement and improve early intervention where a child’s physical, academic, and emotional development is concerned.

The organization “helps young children grow up healthy, safe and ready to learn” by providing health screenings, home visits, and parent education to families with young children. (Source)

Funding for Parents as Teachers comes from many places, including private sources and local, state, and federal governments.

Private funding for Parents as Teachers comes from “foundations, corporations, unions, religious groups, local agencies (e.g., United Way or Variety Club), service organizations (e.g. PTAs, Kiwanis, Junior League, sororities or fraternities), special events, and from individuals.” (Source)

Government funding comes from a variety of programs and departments, including the Department of Education Funding and the Department of Health and Human Services Funding, including Title I.

Title I
Title I is a federal grant program “designed to give educational assistance to students living in areas of high poverty”. Title I started in 1965 with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and it remains the biggest federal program for elementary and secondary education. Most of the children served by Title I funding are in the first through fifth grades. (Source)

Title I funds can be used for instructional purposes, as well as to hire staff members. Outcomes of Title I program funding for some schools include things like reduced class sizes, extended learning time, and coaching.

Head Start Funding
Another important resource for Missouri’s at-risk communities is the Head Start Program. Head Start is a federal grant program that aims to provide “high-quality, comprehensive early education programming to low-income children and families so that children start school ready to succeed.” (Source)

Both non-profit and for-profit institutions can apply for Head Start grants, but federal funding can only contribute up to 80% of the program’s costs, with some restrictions. More specifically, the Head Start website explains that,

“Public or private nonprofit organizations, including community-based and faith-based organizations, or for-profit agencies within a community that wish to compete for funds are eligible to apply for Head Start funding.” (Source)

Funding for Head Start is competitive, even within individual communities. Regulations ensure that Head Start funding is directed to the most effective programs—the ones that can provide the highest-quality early learning experiences to children.

Some Missouri communities have recently experienced unexpected cuts to Head Start Funding. We talked about programs in Springfield and Kirksville in this post on the importance of investing in early childhood education.

As a new legislative session approaches, Missouri Parent believes that early child’s education—especially for our most vulnerable young children—is worth advocating for. If you agree, please bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed about funding and legislative issues facing Missouri’s at-risk early learners.

3550 Amazonas Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109. 573-638-4825