The creation of state and national Head Start Collaboration Offices (HSCO) is authorized by Section 642B(a)(2)(A) of the Head Start Act. The purpose of the Head Start State and National Collaboration Offices is to guide the work of all collaboration offices.
HSCOs exist “to facilitate collaboration among Head Start agencies … and entities that carry out activities designed to benefit low-income children from birth to school entry, and their families.”
Since 1990, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has awarded Head Start collaboration grants to support the development of multi-agency and public and private partnerships at the state and national levels.
Washington State has 50 grantees that serve 20,000 children and their families each year (prenatal to kindergarten) through Early Head Start and Head Start programs.
These Partnerships are Intended to:
- Assist in building early childhood systems
- Provide access to comprehensive services and support for all low-income children
- Encourage widespread collaboration between Head Start and other appropriate programs, services and initiatives
- Augment Head Start's capacity to be a partner in state initiatives on behalf of children and their families
- Facilitate the involvement of Head Start in state policies, plans, processes and decisions affecting target populations and other low-income families
Methods of Coordination
The methods by which HSCOs coordinate and lead efforts for diverse entities to work together include:
- Communication – Convene stakeholder groups for information sharing, planning and partnering, and serve as a conduit of information between regional offices and state and local early childhood systems.
- Access – Facilitate Head Start agencies' access to and utilization of appropriate entities so Head Start children and families can secure needed services and critical partnerships are formalized.
- Systems – Support policy, planning, partnerships and implementation of cross-agency state systems for early childhood, including the State Advisory Council, that include and serve the Head Start community.
Scope of Work
OHS has prioritized the goals of the HSCO to guide their work. The six priorities include:
- Partnering with state child care systems emphasizing the Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership Initiative
- Working with state efforts to collect data regarding early childhood programs and child outcomes
- Supporting the expansion and access of high-quality workforce and career development opportunities for staff
- Collaborating with State Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS)
- Working with state school systems to ensure continuity between Head Start and Kindergarten Entrance Assessment (KEA)
- Any additional regional priorities
Major Goals of the Washington Head Start State Collaboration Office
- Enhance services and quality for infant and toddler center-based services including the capacity to launch Early ECEAP
- Standards and monitoring are aligned across licensing, Early Achievers, ECEAP and Head Start
- Coordinated child-level data sharing between Early Head Start/Head Start grantees and the state longitudinal data system is in place
- Develop a coordinated monitoring system that creates efficiencies for Head Start grantees by sharing data
- Early Head Start/Head Start staff are able to access early learning credentials and professional development (Region X T/TA and MERIT)
- Improve pre-k transition to kindergarten
- Connect children and families involved with child welfare to high-quality early learning services, including Early Head Start/Head Start
- Strengthen inclusion practices and increase number of inclusive classrooms
- Strengthen connections for children and families who are homeless with Early Head Start/Head Start
- Increase resources to support children and parents with their social, emotional and behavioral health and increase connections to behavioral health services
- Expand access to Mobility Mentoring and Parent Educational Advancement strategies