The Massachusetts Head Start State Collaboration Offices (MAHSSCO) is located in the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). The director is appointed by the Department of Early Education and Care Commissioner as designee of the Governor.
EEC’s mission is to support all children in their development as lifelong learners and contributing members of the community, and to support families in their essential work as parents and caregivers. We are responsible for the licensing and regulation of approximately 11,000 family, group, and school-age child care providers, as well as nearly 700 residential care programs and adoption/foster care placement agencies. We also administer financial assistance for over 50,000 children to access high-quality early education and out-of-school time programs that support their developmental success, provide additional parenting resources and services for families, and support the professional development of educators in the early education and care field.
In Massachusetts, the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) is designated as the State Advisory Council (SAC), where the HSSCO is administered. The Head Start State Collaboration Director is heavily involved in supporting the work of the SAC.
The role of the MAHSSCO Advisory Committee is to advise and assist the MAHSSCO to fulfill its mission. Members participate in quarterly meetings focused on creating collaborative partnerships and the development and implementation of the MAHSSCO Strategic Work plan.
The following partnerships and collaborations were developed through the MAHSSCO Advisory Council:
- Administration of Children and Families (ACF)
- Department of Children and Families (DCF)
- Department of Early Education and Care (EEC)
- Department of Elementary and Secondary (ESE)
- Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD)
- Department of Public Health (DPH)
- Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS)
- Head Start and Early Head Start programs
- Head Start parents
- Horizon's for Homeless Children
- Massachusetts Community Action Programs Association (MASSCAP)
- Massachusetts Head Start Association (MHSA)
- Multilingual Action Council (MAC)
- Office of Refugees and Immigrants (ORI)
- University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute
- Wheelock College
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Strengthening Head Start and public school partnerships.
- Aligning standards, curriculum, and assessment with public schools.
- Increasing partnerships with institutions of higher education.
- Aligning professional development resources across the OHS National Centers and the Head Start Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) System, Readiness Centers, and Educator Providers Support (EPS) grantees.
- Defining and addressing barriers for dual language learners (DLLs).
- Supporting high-quality programming and instructions through Head Start participation in Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and Professional Qualification (PQ) Registry with all Head Start grantees (center-based and family child care) meeting the 100 percent participation.
- Promoting interoperability between data systems serving all children and families.
- Coordinating and supporting programs to reach families with comprehensive oral health services.
- Ensuring coordination, collaboration, and access across systems for homeless families.
- Supporting service and outreach efforts for military families through the allocation of military vouchers to eligible families. The Collaboration Office is recommending modifying the current EEC definition of military families to allow for greater access to the EEC waitlist. The Collaboration Office drafted the Education and Care Management Bulletin (EMB) and is currently working with EEC's legal counsel to move forward with the revision and approval. See http://www.mass.gov/edu/government/departments-and-boards/department-of-early-education-and-care/news-and-updates/2013/regional-institutes-supporting-military-families.html for details.
- Promoting better linkages, coordination, and access to timely health care services, including mental health, vision, obesity prevention, maternal and child health, and disabilities.
- Enhancing collaboration and coordination of Head Start services with other agencies providing family and child welfare.
- Promoting and supporting state and local connections that enhance family literacy and financial education.
- Supporting immigrant, refugee, and migrant and seasonal workers and families.
- Developed Early English Language Development Standards (E-ELD), which are aligned with the state's Early Learning Standards. The Standards concur with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. Funded by the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant. See http://www.wida.us/DownloadDocs/standards/EarlyELD/WIDA_2013_EELD_Standards.pdf [PDF 1.9MB] for more information.
- Developed an Interagency State Agreement (ISA) with the Office of Refugee and Immigrants (ORI) to support DLLs. The goals of New Start: Supporting Multilingual Young Children and Immigrant Refugee Families is to equip providers, stakeholders, and other professionals with knowledge on immigration policy as it impacts children and families, cultural competency, and child development and educational principles in the context of multilingual homes and multicultural environments. Funded by RTT-ELC.
- Awarded the Head Start State Supplemental Renewal Grant for $8.1 million. This grant is for the Head Start grantees to enhance program capacity to serve state-funded children and offer them Head Start services.
- Succeeded in getting Head Start parents to join the Advisory Council.
- Assisted MASSCAP to develop a financial literacy education online course and webinar, and provide training on the modules to the Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) grantees within the commonwealth. Funded by the RTT-ELC.
- Developed public school partnerships with Head Start through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Over the past three years, a series of nine regional meetings provided: 1) an overview of the requirements of the federally mandated Head Start Act of 2007 and MOUs between Head Start and local education agencies; 2) an opportunity to share best practices in activities such as assessment, curriculum, and joint professional development; and 3) transitions from Head Start to public school. Participants included Head Start and public school staff, early childhood coordinators, special education staff, and CFCE coordinators.