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Francis Institute

Since the 1970's Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley (MCC-Penn Valley) has offered college credit classes through the vocational program known as Child Growth and Development. In 1990, several community leaders and educators embarked on a journey to increase the quality of care for children by providing accessible and affordable education and professional development opportunities to adults working in the field. A unique partnership was formed by MCC-Penn Valley, the Francis Family Foundation, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Affiliated Trusts and KCMC Child Development Corporation. Through this collaboration, the Francis Institute Resource Center was created to provide on-site technical assistance, education and training for early childhood and afterschool providers.

In 1995, with a lead gift from the Francis Family Foundation, a state-of-the art child care center was built to complement the existing Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program, providing students with opportunities for internships and observation. This addition allowed all of the Francis Institute's services to be housed in one area; bringing new and existing programs under one umbrella and forming a three tier entity which encompasses the CDCG, the child care center, and the Francis Institute Resource Center.

Making a difference

For over two decades, the Francis Institute has grown to be a strong leader and advocate in education on many levels. The Francis Institute has altered the traditional role of higher education by dramatically increasing the range and delivery of its educational programs. The MCC-Penn Valley Child Growth and Development (CDCG) department offers college credit coursework on and off campus through a variety of delivery systems.

The Francis Institute Resource Center offers continuing education training in English or Spanish that addresses a variety of needs, learning styles and levels. Professional Development Specialists (PDS) deliver customized on-site consultation services for early childhood and school-age programs preparing for licensing, pursuing accreditation, or participating in quality improvement initiatives on a state-wide and/or national level.