The Mississippi Head Start State Collaboration Office (MSHSSCO) is located in the Office of the Governor. The MSHSSCO director is appointed by the governor.
The mission of MSHSSCO is to help improve the lives of low-income children from birth to school entry and their families in Mississippi through collaboration, education, and legislation.
Since receiving initial funding in 1997, MSHSSCO has enhanced the capacity of Head Start and other early childhood programs and improved outcomes and opportunities for young children. MSHSSCO develops collaborative partnerships with early childhood and family service providers, educators, advocates, and agencies statewide. Its location in the Office of the Governor assures frequent and significant access to the governor and other key policymakers and planning bodies.
Mississippi has a State Early Childhood Advisory Council. The MSHSSCO director currently serves as the recorder for the Council and has served on three committees: Workforce Development, Health Access, and Coordinated Services Delivery.
- Early Hearing and Detection Intervention (EHDI), Mississippi Department of Health
- Healthy Mississippi Obesity Coalition
- Mississippi Head Start Association
- Mississippi Department of Education
- Mississippi Department of Human Services, Office of Early Childhood Care and Development
- State Interagency Coordinating Council at the Mississippi Department of Health
- EnVision Eye Care
- Healthy Homes Mississippi Home Visiting
- Mississippi Early Childhood Association
- Mississippi Center for Education Innovation
- University of Mississippi Medical Center
- Promoting better linkages between Head Start Agencies and other child or family supportive services, such as those provided under Section 619 or Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- Promoting better linkages between Head Start and other agencies that provide health, mental health, and family services.
- Supporting Head Start programs' ability to access professional development opportunities.
- Assisting in building inclusive early childhood systems and increasing access to comprehensive services and support for homeless children.
- Increasing potential financial independence of Head Start families through support and coordination of existing welfare systems which address employability issues and family-oriented services.
- Facilitating Head Start and LEA transition plans for children from Head Start to kindergarten.
- Assisting Head Start programs to coordinate activities with the state agency responsible for administering the program carried out under the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858 et sq.) and entities providing resource and referral services to make full-day/full-year services available to children.
- Increasing communication, collaboration, and coordination of existing community partnerships and recognizing effective collaborative community service projects serving low-income children and families.
- Enhancing collaboration and coordination by Head Start programs and child welfare providers.
- Enhancing collaboration and coordination between Head Start and other entities providing family literacy services.
- Passed the Early Learning Collaborative Act of 2013 through the education efforts of the Mississippi Head Start Association, Head Start grantees, and MSHSSCO to help legislators understand Head Start. It created a collaborative delivery pre-K, which relies on partnerships between Head Start, public schools, and private providers to serve all 4-year-olds in a community.
- Received a System of Care planning grant that allows the state to spend the next year designing a coordinated and comprehensive array of services for children 0-5 with mental health needs. The grant will be facilitated by the Department of Mental Health and Mississippi Families as Allies.
- Organized statewide focus groups with Head Start parents and caregivers of children who may be at risk for mental health challenges such as poverty, premature births, developmental delays, trauma, military, and being in foster care.