The North Dakota Head Start State Collaboration Office (NDHSSCO) is located in the Department of Human Services, Children and Family Services. Children and Family Services oversees the NDHSSCO. The mission of North Dakota's Department of Human Services is to provide quality, efficient, and effective human services to improve the lives of people.
North Dakota's State Advisory Council is called the Early Childhood Education Council (ECEC). The ECEC is chaired by the Lt. governor and is made up of 21 members representing different agencies or programs. Most recently, members were appointed to subcommittees to work in the areas of early childhood quality, recruitment, retention and expansion, and data collection.
The major goals of NDHSSCO include:
- Building early childhood systems and enabling access to comprehensive services and support for all low-income children and their families.
- Encouraging widespread collaboration between Head Start and other programs and services, including Office of Head Start priority areas such as school transitions, health care, and professional development.
- Facilitating the involvement of Head Start in state policies, plans, processes, and initiative affecting the Head Start target population and other low-income families.
In addition to the contributions listed above, NDHSSCO has accomplished the following:
- Collaborated with state partners, Head Start programs, and national initiatives to develop a mobile dental care unit program serving children in hard to reach areas of the rural state.
- Completed the North Dakota Integrated Services Project, which began in 2008 through collaboration between pilot sites. The project created a network of learning collaboratives that integrated six components of quality services for children and youth with special health care needs.
- Launched a revised framework for the statewide quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) with 22 child care sites in February 2012.
- Aligned the Early Learning Guidelines 3 through 5 with the Head Start Child Development and Learning Framework. It also is being integrated into "Growing Futures" Early Childhood Professional Development Plan. In addition, the ND Department of Public Instruction completed a first draft aligning these guidelines with the kindergarten standards.