Early Childhood

First Steps and CSS Early Learning Center

First Steps

First Steps, Missouri's Early Intervention system, is an important program for young children with developmental delays and their families. First Steps provides services for children from birth up to 3 years old, with developmental disabilities or diagnosed conditions associated with developmental delays.

First Steps is:

  • A voluntary program intended to help families understand their child's special needs, obtain the help they desire, and provide the best conditions for their child's growth and development
  • Offers coordinated services and assistance to young children with special needs and to their families
  • Ensures the family and child receive services in their natural environment, such as home and child care
  • Children are eligible for services if they exhibit a significant delay in one or more of the following developmental areas: cognition, communication, physical, social-emotional, and adaptive. Children may also be eligible if they have a diagnosed physical or mental condition associated with developmental delays or if the infant was born very premature

Serving 11 counties in Southwest Missouri: Barry, Barton, Bates, Cedar, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, St. Clair, and Vernon.

Families can contact First Steps of Southwest Missouri by calling:

Toll Free: 866-583-2392

Local Office: 417-623-3243

CSS Early Learning Center

The CSS Early Learning Center is a state licensed facility that provides quality childcare for children from birth through six years. Services are provided to children with developmental delays, children with special needs, as well as typically developing children living in Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties. The CSS Early Learning Center accepts children from outside the Joplin Metro area if the parent provides transportation. Trained staff manage behavioral issues, tube feedings, seizure protocols, medication administration, and more.

ECSE Transportation - Staff actively participate in a child's transition to public school in Joplin, Carthage, Webb City and Carl Junction. Children attending half-day Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) programs in surrounding public schools may attend the CSS Early Learning Center for half-days.

Therapy - Children participating in the Missouri First Steps Program may have their therapy at the Center. On-site therapy services may be available including but not limited to behavior intervention services and special instruction.

CSS Early Learning Center will accept child care reimbursement from The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Section for Child Care Regulation.

For additional Information, contact the CSS Early Learning Center at 417-673-4940.

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