Missouri Head Start-State Collaboration Office
1400 Rock Quarry Road
Columbia, MO 65211

Community of Practice: A Missouri Example


Interested in better understanding the work of Head Start programs from across Missouri?  Click below for information regarding the Grantee Needs Assessment :

MHSSCO Needs Assessment Report 2014 FINAL.pdf

Strategic Collaboration: Establishing State and Community-Based Partnerships, was developed to assist Head Start grantees develop and manage community collaborations 

and resources to work towards outcomes focused on long-term, systemic changes in the community. In effective collaborations, everyone wins, especially children and families. Collaborations address complex issues that require a comprehensive approach. Member organizations and participants develop a common vision and share leadership. 


2015 Strategic Collaboration Handbook: Establishing State & Community Based Partnerships:

Collaboration Manual 5th Edition Final.pdf



e hope your efforts will result in improved coordination, enhanced functioning of your services, and ultimately, better support for the families and children served by Head Start. 

It is the intent of the Missouri Head Start-State Collaboration Office (MHSSCO) to develop additions to this manual in future years, highlighting local collaborations from different areas of the state.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Head Start & Local Education Agencies' Memorandums of  Understanding Agreements in Missouri

  Study and Report by Dr. Louis Manfra, University of Missouri-Columbia   2015-04-30 10.15 MHSSCO Advisory Council Mtg.wmv

Who Are We?


  Head Start-State Collaboration Offices [HSSCO or SCO] are charged with consulting broadly among early care and education systems at the federal, state, and local level. Since Head Start began in 1965, the field of early childhood has grown as the needs of young children and families have also grown. Systems to develop quality programs ultimately support young children in learning and in life. To support these early childhood systems, the federal Head Start offices implemented Collaboration Projects in 1990. Missouri was awarded in the third phase—1997. By 1998 all 50 states and two provinces had established State Collaboration Offices. Each governor designates the location of the “HSSCO” within state government or other statewide entity.  

Why Do We Exist?

Federal Purposes: 

Help build early childhood systems and access to comprehensive services and support for all low income children;

Encourage widespread collaboration between Head Start and other appropriate programs, services and initiatives and augment Head Start's capacity to be a partner in State initiatives on behalf of children and their families; 

Facilitate the involvement of Head Start in State Policies, plans processes and decisions affecting the Head Start target population and other low-income families.

What Do We Do?

Federal Requirements:

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) is a newer requirement for “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.

Federal Priorities: Education, Health, Professional Development, Children with Disabilities, Welfare, Child Welfare, Homeless Children, Child Care, Family Literacy Community Services


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 Studies, Center for Family Policy & Research - Houses the collaboration Office, provides administrative structure and direct guidance and supervision through a University designated contact

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 Elementary and Secondary Education - DESE is the grantee (contracting with the University) and provides a State contact for administrative oversight

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 assist states in the development of collaborative early childhood initiatives and mechanisms to link Head Start programs with state systems and efforts on behalf of all children and families living in poverty or economic disadvantage.  


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 


For more information, please contact: 
Missouri Head Start-State Collaboration Office
Stacey Wright, Director

Carolyn Stemmons, Assistant Director
573-884-3080 or 573-884-0579 (p)





Missouri Head Start Association  "Working together for Missouri's children and families!"   
P.O. Box 817    Jefferson City, MO    65102    (573)884-5078

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