Parent Spotlight: Courtney Leader is a Champion of Four!

Courtney Leader is a mother of four in Springfield, who has learned firsthand the importance of having safe and high quality child care for her children. Read more about her story below and why she’s a passionate advocate for early care and education!

Why did you become an advocate for early childhood education?

While waiting for a spot to open up in an Early Headstart program, my daughter was shaken by a caregiver. She was 4.5 months old and now has lifelong disabilities. She is now 6 years old. Long waitlists have always been a problem, but when you add special needs to the mix, it is even more of a challenge finding safe child care. I have a 6 month old now and the cost of safe care is very daunting.

Why do you think it’s important to be advocate as a parent?

People without small children don’t know the hardships of finding and affording childcare. As a parent, I want to see not just accessible childcare, but programs dedicated to educating and keeping my child safe during their formative years.

Why should Missouri invest more in early childcare and education?
The babies and young children are our future. We want them to be safe and secure as they grow so our children have the tools to succeed. As parents we can’t be as productive in the workforce if we are concerned about our children.

In one sentence, what does the ideal early childcare and education systems look like for families in Missouri?

Early childcare should be an accessible, safe, and dependable option for parents with young children who need it.

Final thoughts to share?

Young children need the social and educational aspects of early childcare, and as parents and caregivers, we need the peace of mind knowing our child is safe and being nurtured.

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