What Do We Do?
In addition to the federal purposes, federal Head Start legislation now requires Collaboration Offices to serve as a resource to local Head Start agencies in their coordination and collaborative efforts. Stronger linkages at the local level can support improvement and quality of early childhood services. Additionally, Collaboration Offices are required to conduct an annual needs assessment to analyze and address these local agency collaboration and coordination needs.
Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act, (Dec. 12, 2007) requires the governor of each State to establish or designate an early childhood education and care advisory council to address issues of collaboration, coordination,alignment, quality and availability of early care and education services. The body designated by Missouri’s Governor is the existing Coordinating Board for Early Childhood. The HSSCO Director is an appointed member.
Partner with State child care systems emphasizing the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Initiatives
Work with State efforts to collect data and regarding early childhood programs and child outcomes
Support and expansion and access of high quality, workforce and career development opportunities for staff
Collaboration with State Quality Rating Improvement Systems
Work with State school systems to ensure continuity between Head and Kindergarten Entrance Assessment
The methods by which Head Start Collaboration Offices coordinate and lead efforts for diverse entities to work together include:
Communication: Convene stakeholder groups for information sharing, planning, and partnering and serve as a conduit of information between regional offices, the State and local early childhood systems.
Access: Facilitate Head Start agencies’ access to, and utilization of, appropriate entities so Head Start children and families can secure needed services and critical partnerships are formalized.
Systems: Support policy, planning, partnerships and implementation of cross agency State systems for early childhood, including the State Advisory Council, that include and serve the Head Start community.
Missouri Head Start State Collaboration Office's Support Structure:
MHSSCO Advisory Council - Provides guidance on activities and initiatives
University of Missouri- College of Human Environmental Sciences, Department of Human Development and Family Science, Center for Family Policy & Research - houses the Collaboration Office. The University of Missouri provides administrative oversight through funds from the Administration for Children and Families.
Missouri Head Start Association - An important partner in collecting and disseminating information,and serving as the “voice of Head Start”
The Office of Head Start and Region VII Administration for Children and Families - provides funding and guidance
Missouri Department of Social Services, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services all provide funding to match the federal grant
Where to Find Us?
Collaboration Offices may be found in human services agencies, child care resource and referral agencies, public universities, departments of education, governor’s policy research offices, etc. Regardless of the where, all Collaboration Offices are charged to facilitate collaboration among Head Start agencies…and entities that carry out activities designed to benefit low-income children from birth to school entry, and their families1. They provide a structure and a process for the Office of Head Start to work and partner with State agencies and local entities to leverage their common interest around young children and their families to formulate, implement, and improve state and local policy and practices.
1 Head Start Act Section 642(B)(a)(2)(A)
The Missouri Head Start-State Collaboration Office is housed in the Center For Family Policy & Research at the University of Missouri. http://mucenter.missouri.edu/home.htm