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Springfield is developing a child care and early education community plan. Led by the Community Partnership of the Ozarks and a team of 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 59% of infants and toddlers and 80% of pre-kindergarteners are served by existing slots.

On average, families are paying 25% 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

“I believe affordable, reliable childcare that enriches the children in our community and allows their parents to work and contribute in the community is crucial. It’s crucial for current workforce needs, economic development and to develop our workforce of the future.”

– Employer

Quotes and survey data are drawn from a non-representative convenience sample of Greene 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 1,954 kids who do not have a slot. Additionally, there is a 20% gap in available slots for children in Pre-Kindergarten (4-5 years). 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.

“Daycare is incredibly expensive and while my partner and I make good money on paper, it’s still a struggle to make ends meet. Daycare providers absolutely deserve to make what they charge but assistance should be easier to get.”

-Springfield Parent

Infant & Toddler (Birth-2 Years)


Kids Served

4,813 Kids
2,858 Slots

Pre-Kindergarten (4-5 Years)


Kids Served

1,590 Kids
1,270 Slots

Other Preschool (3-5 Years)


Kids Served

3,158 Kids
3,712 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 $41,447, local families are paying 25% 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: $20,113

Infant & Toddler



Total Cost: $11,359




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

Ashley Fleming

Community Foundation of the Ozarks

Amanda Coleman

Community Partnership of the Ozarks*

Karrie Ridder

Cox Health Systems Early Childhood Center

Keri McKee

Department of Workforce Development

Brigitte Marrs

Mayor's Commission for Children - City of Springfield

Leota Ledford

Mighty Marvels

Kimberly Shinn Brown


Jennifer Crouch

Ozarks Technical Community College

Courtney Leader

Parent Partner

Sherry Hahn

Parent Partner

Carly Walton

Peapod Learning Center

Lora Miller

Springfield/Greene County Health Dept

Krisi Schell

SRC Holdings

Faith Swickard

Study Nursery

Jackie Douglas

The Discovery Center

Christy Davis

Springfield Public Schools

Karen Kunkel

The Springfield Chamber

Stephanie Smallwood

The Springfield Library

*Lead Organization

Data compiled by IFF in partnership with Kids Win Missouri and Katie Rahn Consulting. Thank you to our funding partners Children’s Trust Fund and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.