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Educare Project REACH

boy outside

Project Director: Laurie Waint

About this Project

The Project REACH (Rural EArly CHildhood) Institute was designed to address the critical needs of some of Missouri’s most vulnerable young children – those living in rural poverty. In 1994, Project REACH was introduced in a select few rural communities to provide a comprehensive system of education, training and support for rural child care providers that also reached out to parents, community social service agencies and local school personnel to ensure that young children receive a full range of educational and related services necessary for optimal development.

Project REACH is now one of the Missouri Department of Social Services’ Educare programs. The vision of Educare is that all child care and early learning programs will have knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices and the skills to implement comprehensive early childhood programming to support children’s development and strengthen families. The mission of Educare is to support, educate and provide resources to improve the program quality of child care and early learning programs serving children receiving Missouri child care assistance.

Between July 2016 and June 2017, Project REACH served nearly 350 child care programs in 76 (mostly rural) Missouri counties, which included over 500 child care providers and almost 7,000 children ages birth to school-age. Project REACH services include:

  • On-site, individualized technical assistance and training
  • Missouri Department of Social Services required subsidy health and safety training and technical assistance
  • Networking opportunities
  • Activity ideas
  • Safety items, basic caregiving items and educational materials
  • Resource handouts and tip sheets
  • Attendance and Invoicing Accuracy Training
  • Support for movement towards program licensure

Project REACH is coordinated from a central office at the University of Missouri in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, Center for Family Policy & Research. The Project REACH support associates who implement the program are indigenous to the counties and understand the unique characteristics of the communities that they serve. Support associates have an educational background in early childhood development/education and experience working directly with young children and training adults.

Funding for Project REACH is provided by the Missouri Department of Social Services, Children’s Division, Early Childhood and Prevention Services Section. Participation in Project REACH is free and voluntary.


Laurie Waint, Director
(573) 882-8389


  • Amy Anderson – Child Development Teacher
  • Diana Crutchfield – Child Development Teacher
  • Karla Evans – Child Development Teacher
  • Dana Harper – Child Development Teacher
  • Julie Humphrey – Child Development Teacher
  • Sarah Key – Child Development Teacher
  • Katie Lynch – Child Development Teacher
  • Casey Merkle – Child Development Teacher
  • Pamela Parry – Child Development Teacher
  • Connie Roberson – Child Development Teacher
  • Lisa Ryan – Child Development Teacher
  • Shanan Sturgeon – Child Development Teacher
  • Angie Wendt – Child Development Teacher
  • Alane Wilson – Child Development Teacher
  • Henry Hauck – Associate Program Director
  • Audrey Soria – Senior Office Support Staff
  • Kalyn Templemire – Office Support Assistant IV
  • Laurie Waint – Program Director