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St. Joseph

St. Joseph

St. Joseph is developing a child care and early education community plan. Led by United Way of Greater St. Joseph and 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 29% of infants and toddlers, 69% of prekindergarteners, and 59% of other preschoolers are served by existing slots.

On average, families are paying 20% 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

“We are a service/government program that is not able to close or adjust hours when short staff. We lose staff for hours, days and sometimes full employment due to their children being sick and no one to care for them.”

– St. Joseph Employer

Parent and employer quotes and survey data are drawn from a non-representative convenience sample of Buchanan County ECE directors and owners and senior leaders of county employers, and parents from 5 Missouri Counties, including Buchanan.

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 1,359 kids who do not have a slot. Additionally, there is a 47% gap in available slots for children ages 3-5. 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.

Infant & Toddler (Birth-2 Years)


Kids Served

1,919 Kids
560 Slots

Pre-Kindergarten (4-5 Years)


Kids Served

648 Kids
450 Slots

Other Preschool (3-5 Years)


Kids Served

1,949 Kids
1,141 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 $45,380, local families are paying 20% 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: $19,772

Infant & Toddler



Total Cost: $11,253




Investment Gap
Affordable Cost for Parents

“Quality care is a major challenge. I don’t want to send my kids just anywhere. I need somewhere that is reliable… A place where the staff are there for the right reasons and truly care about my children. Finding that is not easy.”

– St. Joseph Parent

Our Team Members and Affiliation

Ryan Weber

139th Airlift Wing

Debra Bradley

City of St. Joseph

Ashley Phillips

Community Action Partnership

Tama Wagner

Community Alliance

Todd Meierhoffer

Meierhoffer Funeral Home

Dr. Laura Reynolds

Missouri Western State University

Pat Dillon

Mosaic Life Care

Madi Skeen

Mosaic Life Care Foundation

Melissa Hollingsworth


Tiffany Brinton

One Step Ahead

Jessica Oschel


Michelle Fattig


Kristie Arthur

St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce

Natalie Redmond

St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce

Dlo Duvall

St. Joseph School District

Dr. Gabe Edgar

St. Joseph School District

Whitney Lanning

St. Joseph School District & Community Action Partnership

Robin Hammond

St. Joseph Youth Alliance (OOC Community Leader for Region)

Bobbie Cronk

United Way of Greater St. Joseph*

Terri Modlin

United Way of Greater St. Joseph Board

Kylee Strough

United Way of Greater St. Joseph*

*Lead Organization

Data compiled and presented by IFF in partnership with Kids Win Missouri and Katie Rahn Consulting. Thank you to our partner, United Way of Greater St. Joseph, and our funder, Children’s Trust Fund.