Our Story

A long history of helping families thrive


The Inception of the Child Care Consortium

In 1998, Heart of Missouri United Way and The City of Columbia initiated a community childcare endeavor known as the Community Child Care Consortium. This initiative spearheaded a thorough planning study on child care and early childhood outcomes in Boone County. Leveraging the insights gleaned, the Consortium collaborated with multiple agencies to craft services aimed at bolstering support for at-risk children


Embracing Kindergarten Readiness as the Vision

In 2002, the Community Child Care Consortium crystallized its vision around kindergarten readiness, evolving into a 501(c)3 nonprofit known as Boone Early Childhood Partners. With a mission to coordinate services and cultivate resources for enhancing school readiness in Boone County, the organization collaborated with the community to identify crucial indicators of kindergarten readiness, conducting a comprehensive countywide assessment. The findings revealed that 16% of children were entering school lacking essential skills for success. Leveraging several federal grants, the Partners implemented initiatives aimed at enhancing the social and emotional skills of high-risk children, employing a collaborative approach involving parents and teachers. Following years of grant implementation, the board redirected its focus towards delivering direct services benefiting children facing elevated risks of academic underachievement

2010- Today


Hands-On Support Services for Vulnerable Families

In 2006, Boone Early Childhood Partners underwent a name change, becoming First Chance for Children, a reflection of its commitment to serving marginalized children and families. Securing two federal grants, the organization embarked on initiatives aimed at enhancing the social, emotional, literacy, and language skills of at-risk children. Concurrently, they launched a public relations campaign, “Read Play Hug,” aimed at raising awareness about the critical role of caregiver-child relationships

Strong Roots With a Bright Future

First Chance for Children utilizes braided funding strategies to strengthen early childhood initiatives. Our reach has extended to encompass 13 counties across mid-Missouri, collaborating with school districts, health departments, and community agencies to offer supplementary services for vulnerable families. These include provisions such as cribs and diapers through our CRIBS and Baby Bags Diaper Bank programs. Leveraging models like Parents as Teachers and Nurturing Parenting for home visitation, alongside the Strengthening Families Framework, enables us to tailor support to each family’s unique needs. Additionally, we actively advocate at both state and local levels for high-quality early childhood experiences, ensuring that every child is equipped to thrive in school and beyond. We offer a truly distinctive program that delivers comprehensive wrap-around services to all families

Do you believe in families too?