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Early Childhood and Family Policy

The Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood and Family Policy prepares students to understand the impact of policy and advocate for change for children and families. Students will gain skills in using research to analyze, prepare, and evaluate policy.

This graduate certificate works well as a stand-alone for those who want to enhance their skills and credentials in early childhood and family policy. It can also pair well for those who are students in other Master’s or Doctoral programs at Mizzou seeking to add specialized policy and advocacy skills to their training.


Propose and advocate for equitable and effective early childhood and family policy.


Understand the impact of policy across multiple systems such as health care, education and child care, wages and family leave, child welfare, and criminal justice.

Graduate Certificate – 12 credit hours

Required Courses (12 credits)

HDFS 8415: Early Childhood Education and Care: History, Child Development, and Equity (3)

HDFS 8720: Early Childhood Education and Care: Examining Practices, Policies, and Key Issues (3)

Pub_Af 7175: Early Childhood Policy (3)

Pub_Af 7176: Policy, Leadership, and Policy Advocacy (3)

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The online Early Childhood & Family Policy program is flexible, affordable, and designed for you!!
  • 100% online, no campus visits required
  • Flexible timeline to completion – continue to work while earning your degree
  • Rolling admissions – courses offered year-round
  • Flat-rate tuition – no added distance or out-of-state costs
  • Tuition reduction available for MU/Extension employees and military members
  • Federal financial aid eligible
  • Applied focus to enhance your current work or support future career goals
  • Learn alongside other working professionals across the nation
  • Hands-on advisers help you meet your goals
  • Take charge of your learning and career growth

Graduates from the Early Childhood and Family Policy certificate program are prepared to work in a variety of settings:

  • Government, legislative, or lobbying offices
  • Early childhood organizations
  • Global non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Local and national advocacy agencies
  • State or federal departments, such as:
    • Corrections
    • Education
    • Health and human services
    • Labor
    • Mental health
  • Social services
Flyer for the Early Childhood & Family Policy online graduate program

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HDFS Online Graduate Partners

The Early Childhood & Family Policy online graduate certificate program is offered as a collaborative partnership in conjunction with several other university partners. Visit the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA) website for the most up-to-date information regarding tuition, course offerings, and teaching faculty.

Visit the Missouri Online website for more information about online programs, how to apply, and to request enrollment in our Early Childhood & Family Policy courses.

Louis Manfra, MU College of Education & Human Development

Early Childhood & Family Policy Adviser

Louis Manfra

Phone: (573) 882-8455