What is SOAR?

SOAR (System Offering Actions for Resilience in Early Childhood) is committed to building community awareness and developing programs to promote the social-emotional wellness of children age 0-8 and their families in Boone County. Our focus is on early child wellness, universal developmental screening, information/referral, workforce development and treatment services.


SOAR is funded by the Boone County Children’s Services Board (BCCSB). The mission of the BCCSB is to improve the lives of children, youth and families in Boone County by strategically investing in the creation and maintenance of integrated systems that deliver effective and quality services for children and families in need. See other BCCSB funded programs here.


The SOAR initiative is a partnership with the University of Missouri School of Medicine Psychiatry Department and directed by the school’s chief of child and adolescent psychiatry, Laine Young-Walker, M.D. Learn more about Dr. Young-Walker.


Read article by Melissa Stormont and Dr. Laine Young-Walker,
“Supporting professional development needs for early childhood teachers: an exploratory analysis of teacher perceptions of stress and challenging behavior”


This work is an extension of the previous Boone County Project LAUNCH, a federal grant-funded program through the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).


Our Vision

A nurturing community that enhances the social and emotional well-being of young children and their families, allowing them to reach their full potential.

Our Mission

As a Center of Excellence in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health we provide a continuum of services and supports and partner to create a collaborative system that promotes social emotional well-being of young children and their families.


See SOAR partner organizations.



Developmental delays, learning disorders, and behavioral and social-­emotional problems are estimated to affect one in every six children. But, less than twenty percent of children are being routinely and universally screened for such delays using evidence-based instruments. This lack of screening leads to delays in identification and treatment.

In addition, there is limited expertise in the delivery of evidence­-based treatment in this population. These children struggle in their homes, when they enter kindergarten, and within their community. Research confirms that the early years present a window of opportunity to effectively intervene with at-­risk children. Early intervention can make all the difference.

Additionally, intervening in the early years can lead to significant cost savings over time through reductions in child abuse and neglect, criminal behavior, welfare dependence, and substance abuse (Cohen et al., 2011).

The SOAR Team includes:

Laine Young-Walker, MD

Principle Investigator
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

Vicki Davolt, MSW, LCSW

Co-Coordinator of SOAR Child Parent Psychotherapy Program
Child-Parent Psychotherapy Clinician

Rhema Anazonwu, MSW

Co-Coordinator of SOAR Early Childhood Positive Behavior Support Program
Early Childhood Positive Behavior Support Program Coach

Natalie Wuest, MEd, PLPC

Early Childhood Positive Behavior Support Program Coach
Behavioral Consultant

Erica Bryan

Early Childhood Positive Behavior Support Universal Coach

Meg Ladd, MEd

Early Childhood Positive Behavior Support Program Coach, Behavior Consultant
Behavioral Consultant

Sarah Holmes, MSW, LCSW

Child-Parent Psychotherapy Clinician

Morgan Yarnell, MSW, LCSW

Child-Parent Psychotherapy Clinician

Ashley Hobbs, MSW, LMSW

Child-Parent Psychotherapy Clinician

SOAR Evaluation