Disappearing Daycare is a joint investigation by The Missouri Independent, MuckRock and Columbia University's Brown Institute for Media Innovation into the roots of the child care crisis in Missouri — and possible solutions.

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A $78 million boost to Missouri’s child care subsidy slated to reach providers next month

BY: - July 24, 2023

Child care providers who accept a subsidy from the state to serve low-income families will see a boost in payments next month, thanks to a $78.5 million funding increase approved by Missouri lawmakers earlier this year.  The funding hike, included in the state budget signed by the governor, went into effect July 1. It won’t […]

Bureaucratic hurdles stymie Missouri families seeking help affording child care

BY: - May 3, 2023

CALIFORNIA, Missouri — A federal subsidy program administered by the state helps Christa Swillum cover child care for her three young children. Without the subsidy, which cuts her daycare bill in half, the single mother wouldn’t be able to afford the $1,600-a-month cost. But getting the assistance took nearly eight months, as she had to […]

Missouri’s governor made access to child care a top priority. Where do his proposals stand?

BY: - May 3, 2023

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson made improving access to child care a major part of his 2023 legislative agenda, declaring during his annual State of the State address in January that “early childhood care is essential to our state’s success.” Since then, lawmakers have worked to enact his recommendations, but the proposals have faced roadblocks on […]

Missouri child care deserts include nearly half of kids 5 and under, new data shows

BY: and - April 26, 2023

At five months pregnant, Kayla Marmaud started putting her name on waiting lists for child care. But when her son was born in late 2021, she still hadn’t heard from any daycares. As her maternity leave drew to a close, Marmaud found herself in waitlist limbo. Leaving the workforce was not an option financially for […]

Five things we learned about Missouri’s child care crisis

BY: and - April 26, 2023

MuckRock and The Missouri Independent analyzed the supply and demand of Missouri child care programs since 2019, drawing from public records and data provided by the advocacy group Child Care Aware.  Reporters sought to find what areas of the state have the least child care availability, how availability changed during the pandemic and whether several […]