Missouri parents might have to pay for development program

JEFFERSON CITY | Missouri senators want parents to start paying to remain in an early childhood development program.

The move to start charging for early childhood development comes after budget writers recommended cutting more than half of the state's funding for Parents as Teachers. That program started nearly 30 years ago and since has spread across the country.

One service offered by the program sends trained workers into homes to provide free child-rearing instruction to parents. Senators have given preliminary approval to legislation that would give parents six free visits. After that, parents would need to cover part of the cost if the child has no developmental delays.

State education officials would implement the billing system. The legislation needs another vote before moving to the House.