About Head Start Collaboration

Section 642B of the Head Start Act authorizes the creation of State and National Collaboration Offices. The Head Start State and National Collaboration Offices Framework guides the work of all collaboration offices. Since 1990, the Administration of 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.

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

The Office of Head Start has established national and regional priorities that guide Head Start Collaboration Office's work plans. Find priority-specific information by selecting the boxes below.

National Priorities

Partner with state child care systems emphasizing the Early Head Start – Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership Initiatives

The EHS-CC Partnerships require a strong relationship between the Head Start Collaboration Office and the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Administration Offices. These and other partnerships work with child care help support access to quality early care and education programs for all families with low incomes, as well as access to more comprehensive services.

State Specific Resources

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Work with state efforts to collect data regarding early childhood programs and child outcomes

State policymakers need to establish policies, practices, and structures that ensure appropriate access to data. They also must help stakeholders use data effectively to guide decision-making around early childhood education (ECE) systems. As a stakeholder in state ECE systems, Head Start can help support and provide valuable input and data for a well-coordinated ECE data system that can feed into a national data system.

State-specific Resources

National Resources

Support the expansion and access of high quality, workforce and career development opportunities for staff

Work with state professional development systems and institutions of higher education to promote expansion and high quality career development opportunities. This allows clear cut access for early childhood providers to meet degree and credentialing requirements.

National Resources

Collaboration with State Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS)

Work toward aligning the Head Start Program Performance Standards with state efforts to rate and improve the quality of programs through Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS). Support Head Start program use of QRIS and partnering with child care and early childhood systems at the local level.This also provides a foundation to look at how Head Start, QRIS and state licensing align for a stronger ECE state system.

Work with state school systems to ensure continuity between Head Start and Kindergarten Entrance Assessment (KEA)

Foster seamless transitions and long-term success of Head Start children. Promote continuity of services between the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and state early learning standards. Include pre-k entry assessment and interoperable data systems.

State Specific Resources

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Regional Priorities

Services to Children Experiencing Homelessness

HSSCNOs support access to services for children and families experiencing homelessness through coordination with state and local education agencies implementing McKinney-Vento requirements.

State Specific Resources

National Resources

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Services to Children with Disabilities

Increase opportunities for children with disabilities.

National Resources

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Health Services

Promote access to timely health care services, including those around general health, oral health, and mental health.

National Resources

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Child Welfare

Establish or enhance coordination with child welfare services, including foster care and child protective services.

National Resources

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Parent and Family Engagement

Parent and family engagement in Head Start and Early Head Start (EHS) is about building relationships with families that support family well-being, strong relationships between parents and their children, and ongoing learning and development for both parents and children.

Family Engagement

National Resources

Family Literacy

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Subsidy/TANF

Encourage and support collaboration with welfare systems, such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

National Resources

Community Services

Support full utilization of relevant community services, including public schools, public libraries, museums, and law enforcement agencies. HSSNCOs also promote effective outreach efforts to Head Start-eligible families.

National Resources

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Military Families

Support outreach by Head Start grantees to military families whose children do not have access to quality early childhood services when located away from military installations.

National Resources

Last Reviewed: October 2016

Last Updated: October 5, 2016