[vc_empty_space height="-5px"]
Alienum phaedrum torquatos nec eu, vis detraxit periculis ex, nihil expetendis in mei. Mei an pericula euripidis, hinc partem. [vc_empty_space height="10px"]
[vc_empty_space height="20px"]

Jefferson City

Jefferson City

Cole County is developing a child care and early education community plan. Led by a team of community stakeholders, the community is conducting research on the current child care and early education landscape, fiscal resources available, and the true cost of implementing a high-quality, child care and early education system that meets the community’s needs.

Key Findings

The number of children who need care is higher than the number of available slots. Only 67% of infants and toddlers, 80% of pre-kindergarteners, and 100% of other preschoolers are served by existing slots.

On average, families are paying 14% or more of their income to cover the cost of care.

Current, unaffordable annual tuitions are not enough to cover the true cost of high-quality care.

Community Priorities

The Research

Child Care Is A Workforce Issue


of surveyed employers report that employees’ access to child care greatly or significantly affects their business


of surveyed employers report employees doing at least one of the following: taking time off to fill child care gaps, terminating their employment, permanently changing their work hours/availability, or temporarily changing their work hours

“Drop off and pick up times affect staff schedules. When daycares are closed, staff must be absent. When one staff person’s daycare closed, they had to alter their work schedule and then had to resign because of the lack of affordable childcare options.”

– Employer

Quotes and survey data are drawn from a non-representative convenience sample of Cole County parents, ECE directors and owners, and senior leaders of county employers.

Families Lack Access to Child Care

The number of children who need care is higher than the number of available slots. Infant and toddler care has the greatest gap between the availability of care and the demand for care with 585 kids who do not have a slot. Additionally, there is a 20% gap in available slots for children in Pre-Kindergarten (4-5 years) and a 15% gap in service for other preschoolers. This data is based on 70% of the estimated total number of children in the area, aligned with policy research estimates used by the State of Missouri.

“Options have been limited in my area and the prices are skyrocketing. Luckily [my child] entered [Kindergarten] this year so my struggles are coming to an end. I worry about having another child and fighting childcare all over again.”

-Jefferson City Parent

Infant & Toddler (Birth-2 Years)


Kids Served

1,768 Kids
1,213 Slots

Pre-Kindergarten (4-5 Years)


Kids Served

603 Kids
482 Slots

Other Preschool (3-5 Years)


Kids Served

1,215 Kids
1,434 Slots


According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), child care is considered affordable if it costs families no more than 7% of their income. With median household income of $61,922, local families are paying 14% or more of their income to cover the cost of care for one child.

% income parents pay for Infant & Toddler Care


% income parents pay for Preschool


* 7% affordability threshhold

Median Household Income (MHI)


Infant & Toddler parent tuition


Preschool parent tuition


Affordable Cost Level ( 7% MHI )


More Resources ARE NEEDED to Provide Affordable High-Quality Care

In addition to being unaffordable to families, the annual cost of tuition does not cover the
true cost of high quality care for providers. Additional funds from other stakeholders are needed to support high-quality care.

Total Cost: $19,901

Infant & Toddler



Total Cost: $11,274




Investment Gap
Affordable Cost for Parents

“The only solution we can find is to raise the cost of infant/toddler child care, which will only allow us to serve the families that can pay thousands a month and exclude any low income families. This would be a huge disservice to our community.”

– Provider in Jefferson City

Our Team Members and Affiliation

Paula S. Benne

C&S Employment Solutions

Luke Holtschneider

Jefferson City Regional Economic Partnership

Emily Mantel

Capital Region Medical

Shauna Kerperin

Missouri Parents as Teachers Association*

Michelle Varcho

Central Trust Bank

Dr. Amy Gossett

Lincoln University

Anne Stratman

Jefferson City

Kyrsten Sullivan

Missouri Women's Business Center

Rachel Senzee

Jefferson City

Jayme Prenger


Lindsay Massie

Central Missouri Community Action

Diana Hilliard


Gary Plummer

Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce

Destiny Blume


Ravae Brown

Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce

Chase Lindley


Chris Dawson

Jefferson City Public Schools

Julie Schmitz

Show-Me Child Care Center

Stephanie Johnson

Special Learning Center

Paula Stallings

Stepping Stones Preschool

Janet Enloe

SSM Health

Theresa Verslues

United Way of Central Missouri &
Early Childhood Community Leader with OOC

Kristen Thomure


Amy Sublett

Workforce Development Board, Central Region

*Lead Organization

Data compiled and presented by IFF in partnership with Kids Win Missouri and Katie Rahn Consulting. Thank you to our partner, Missouri Parents As Teachers Association, and our funder, Children’s Trust Fund.