The Missouri Head Start State Collaboration Office (MOHSSCO) is located in the University of Missouri Center for Family Policy and Research. The Missouri Department of Social Services oversees the MOHSSCO. MOHSSCO is one of the leaders in building a coordinated early childhood system that provides access to high-quality comprehensive services for all children and families in the state through the use of evidence-based information. The Office promotes collaboration to close gaps, overcome barriers, and build trusting relationships among all of those committed to Missouri's children.
Major partnerships include:
- Missouri Learning Standards and School Readiness
- Early Childhood Assessment Pilot
- Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Steering Team
- Strategic collaboration establishing state- and community-based partnerships
- Head Start and local education agencies (LEAs) joint meetings
- “Head Start: A Critical Link in the Early Education System” series
- Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS™)
- Birth to age 5 multi-domain screeners matrix
- Head Start Data Project
- School Readiness Summit
- Department of Health the Early Childhood Comprehensive Services Steering Committee
- Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program Steering Committee
- State Interagency Coordinating Council
- Governor's Committee to End Homelessness
- Head Start and Early Head Start grantees
- State-based T/TA system
- Missouri Head Start Association (MHSA)
- Office of Head Start Region VII
The Missouri Coordinating Board for Early Childhood (CBEC) was established in statute in 2004 and became operational in 2007. It is the state's public and private entity for coordinating a cohesive system of early childhood programs and services intended to support the healthy development and school readiness of all Missouri children from birth through age 5.
The CBEC functions as Missouri's State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Care and Education under the federal Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, Public Law 110-134. Members of the CBEC are gubernatorial appointments with Senate approval. MO Revised Statute 210.102.2 describes the CBEC's responsibilities.
The major goals of MOHSSCO include:
- Increasing collaborative efforts between MO and Head Start and Early Head Start programs to promote a seamless, comprehensive early childhood system.
- Improving transition efforts for children and continuity of services between Head Start and LEAs.
- Supporting progress in developing early childhood data systems and integrating Head Start and Early Head Start into the longitudinal data system.
- Supporting efforts to establish a coordinated and integrated early childhood professional development system that will provide staff working in Head Start and Early Head Start and other early education programs opportunities to access and advance through the system and promote competency, retention, and equitable compensation.
- Increasing coordination among Head Start, child care, and pre-K partnerships to improve quality of services and provide access for more full-day/full-year service opportunities for Head Start and Early Head Start families.
- Promoting the inclusion of children with disabilities in the broad range of activities and contexts within the early childhood comprehensive system.
- Increasing collaborative efforts among Head Start and Early Head Start agencies and agencies supporting families experiencing homelessness.
In addition to the contributions listed above, MOHSSCO has accomplished the following:
- Partnered with CBEC to support the development of a Missouri Head Start school readiness video to be used as an informational tool in the goal of educating school districts, communities, and policymakers about Head Start, the impacts of the program, and the importance of including them as a partner in systems building efforts.
- Served on CBEC workgroups and attended meetings throughout the year to connect the Head Start community and to integrate Head Start standards and philosophy into the larger systems development. The workgroups formulate recommendations for a more streamlined state early care and education system, a state of the art trainer registry, a professional development portal, articulation recommendations, and a mission statement with guiding principles. The portal provides access and resources in the area of trainer registration, professional recognition, available training and learning standards, and staff competencies.
- Partnered with MHSA to support the development of a Missouri Head Start School Readiness video to be used as an informational tool in the goal of educating school districts, communities, and policymakers on the Head Start program, the impacts of the program, and the importance of including Head Start as a partner in systems building efforts.
- Developed a mental health awareness state resolution with the aim of supporting all state and local entities interested in the social-emotional well-being of children. Widely disseminated, the resolution sought endorsement and urged our citizens and all organizations interested in the well-being of children and families to participate in exercises aimed at increasing public awareness and education to expand the understanding of children's mental health needs. The resolution targeted Children's Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week.
- Developed an issue brief on EHS-CC partnerships for the Head Start community to educate stakeholders and policymakers on EHS-CC partnerships.
- Partnered with MHSA and the Head Start T/TA system to provide disabilities, Early Head Start, education, and family engagement community of practice (CoP) opportunities. CoP is an evidenced based well researched, teaching, and learning strategy.
- Partnered with Department of Social Services Children's Division to develop a state memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Child Welfare and Head Start.
- With the purpose of assisting grantees in developing and managing collaborations, a handbook on collaboration was developed, called "Strategic Collaboration: Establishing State and Community-Based Partnerships."