Head Start Collaboration Offices (HSCOs), authorized by Section 642B(a)(2)(A) of the Head Start Act, promote partnerships at the local, state, and national levels to strengthen services for the Head Start community and children whose families live in poverty. Since 1990, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has awarded Head Start collaboration grants to support the development of these multi-agency and public and private partnerships. An annual report and summary of the annual report provide records of the work of the HSCOs.
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." They provide a structure and a process through which the Office of Head Start (OHS) can work and partner with state agencies and local entities to formulate, implement, and improve state and local policy and practices.
These partnerships are intended to:
- Assist in building early childhood systems
- Provide access to comprehensive services and support for all children living in families with low income
- Encourage widespread collaboration between Head Start programs and other appropriate programs, services, and initiatives
- Augment the Head Start program's capacity to be a partner in state initiatives on behalf of children and their families
- Facilitate the involvement of Head Start programs in state policies, plans, processes, and decisions affecting target populations and other families with low income
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 sets the priorities for HSCOs. They are to:
- Promote partnerships with state child care systems, emphasizing the Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership Initiative and access to comprehensive services
- Work with state efforts to collect data regarding early childhood programs and child outcomes
- Support the expansion and access of high-quality workforce and career development opportunities for staff
- Collaborate with state quality rating improvement systems such as QRIS
- Work with state school systems to ensure continuity between Head Start programs and receiving schools
An HSCO may also conduct some additional regional activities as needed.
Last Updated: May 31, 2022