The Puerto Rico Head Start State Collaboration Office (PRHSSCO) is located in the Puerto Rico Governor's Office. The Governor's Advisor on Social Welfare Office oversees PRHSSCO and state agencies that serve families and communities (i.e., Departments of Family, Housing, and Sports and Recreation, Special Communities Office, etc.). The mission is to provide leadership and guarantee that all the initiatives developed and implemented by the agencies are aligned and contribute in a positive and lasting manner to improve the quality of services offered.
The mission of PRHSSCO is to serve as a liaison between and among public and private agencies that serve the early childhood population and Head Start and Early Head Start grantees. PRHSSCO strives to establish partnerships and collaborative efforts to build an effective early care and education system.
Major partnerships include:
- Head Start and Early Head Start grantees
- Special Education
- Department of Health
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program
- Department of Education
- Public and private entities that serve the 0 to 5 population
- Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – guarantees that all age-eligible children whose mother or father is in prison receives Head Start and Early Head Start services
Puerto Rico's State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care was created in 2008 with the approval of Public Law 93. The PRHSSCO director is a member of the Council.
The major goals of PRHSSCO include:
- Improving the access of Head Start and Early Head Start eligible children and their families to quality coordinated, comprehensive services that help them achieve their maximum developmental potential.
- To be actively involved in the development of public policy for early childhood.
- Actively contributing to the State Advisory Council and its efforts to align all the services and policies that have an impact on early childhood education and care.
- Strengthening communication between all relevant public and private agencies and Head Start and Early Head Start grantees and supporting all their efforts with children and families.
In addition to the contributions listed above, PRHSSCO has accomplished the following:
- Worked on the group that drafted Public Law 93 of 2008, which established Puerto Rico's early childhood public policy.
- Facilitated and strengthened the contribution of Head Start and Early Head Start in major committees and work groups, like the State Advisory Council and the Early Childhood Comprehensive System (ECCS) of the Department of Health and federal grant projects based on research for early childhood.
- Greatly contributed to the promotion of the Head Start and Early Head Start services among state agencies and with public and private organizations.
- Facilitates collaboration between grantees and major state agencies that serve pregnant women and young children (mainly Education, Family, Health, and Corrections).