Since the inception of Head Start Collaboration Offices in 1990, the state-level offices have grown from a pilot of 12 states to include offices in every state in the country. Kentucky’s Head Start Collaboration Office has been housed within the state Governor’s Office of Early Childhood since 2011. The mission and goals of the Head Start Collaboration Office align with those of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood.
The Head Start Collaboration Office supports communication, access and systems to promote the inclusion of Head Start programs in early childhood systems within each state, territory or region. They also serve as a conduit of information for the Regional Head Start Offices, the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families, and state/territory and local early childhood systems. Head Start Collaboration Offices are funded through a renewable, non-competitive five-year federal grant from the Office of Head Start.
Head Start Collaboration Offices Priorities
- Partner with state child care systems emphasizing the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership and access to comprehensive services
- Work with state efforts to collect data regarding early childhood programs and child outcomes
- Support the expansion and access of high-quality workforce and career development opportunities for staff
- Collaborate with the state Quality Rating Improvement System
- Work with state school systems to ensure continuity between Head Start Programs and receiving schools
- Additional regional priorities
The Head Start Collaboration Office works with key partners, including the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, the Kentucky Head Start Association, the Division of Child Care, the Department for Public Health, and the Kentucky Department of Education to create and implement professional development opportunities across all sectors of early care and education services.
Head Start program data is integrated into larger data systems, promoting overall collaboration to ensure Head Start programs are always represented at the table for important discussions, they participate in quality improvement and rating systems, and make smooth and effective transitions between Head Start programs and kindergarten.