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California Head Start State Collaboration Office


Head Start is a national program administered by the Office of Head Start within the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Department of Health and Human Services. Head Start programs provide comprehensive developmental services for low-income children from birth to entry into elementary school.

Head Start is currently funded at over $8 billion and serves nearly one million low-income children and families nationwide, as reported on the 2015 Head Start Program Fact Sheet (produced by the Office of the Administration for Children and Families Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center [ECLKC]). The program is child-centered, family-focused, comprehensive, and community-based. Head Start services are designed to address developmental goals for children, employment and self-sufficiency goals for adults, and support for parents in their work and child-caring roles.

Head Start is a direct federal-to-local program administered by over 1,600 locally based public or private organizations, called "grantees," across the country.

Why are there Collaboration Offices?

The ACF recognized the important role of states in the development and implementation of policies and initiatives that affect low-income families and their children. Because of its federal-to-local funding, Head Start programs were often not included in policy and implementation discussions at the state level. As a result, Collaboration Office grants were developed to create a visible presence for Head Start at the state level and to assist in the development of multi-agency and public-private partnerships among Head Start and other interested stakeholders.

Why is collaboration between Head Start and state programs important?

California's Head Start program is the largest in the nation. In fiscal year 2016, over 100,000 children were served by Head Start with a program budget of over $965 million. California's Head Start programs are administered through a system of 185 grantees and 88 delegate agencies, as reported in the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Head Start Program Information Report (PIR). The majority of these agencies also have contracts with the California Department of Education (CDE), to administer general child care and/or State Preschool programs. Many of the programs are located at the same site.

State child care and development services in California are funded at over $2.6 billion in a mix of state and federal funds. The CDE currently has approximately 1,332 contracts dispersed through approximately 746 public and private agencies providing services to approximately 400,000 children in FY 2015-16.

For more information about the Head Start programs in California, visit the California Head Start Association Web site External link opens in new window or tab..

What is the California Head Start-State Collaboration Office?

In 1990, the ACF funded the first "wave" of collaboration grants in 12 states. California was first awarded a grant in 1992 to the CDE, and the California Head Start-State Collaboration Office (CHSSCO) was created. The program was expanded in 1992, 1996, and 1997, and now all states participate. Each state is awarded $125,000 to $225,000 yearly (with a 25 percent state match) for a five-year period.

The CHSSCO works closely with:

  • The California Head Start Association.
  • The ACF regional office.
  • The Office of Head Start and the Child Care Bureau.
  • The Head Start technical assistance providers.
  • The CDE, other state departments, and other organizations and agencies in the child care and development community.

Current CHSSCO Advisory Committee members

Head Start Collaboration Office Priorities

The CHSSCO creates partnership activities for the Head Start Collaboration office priorities.

Head Start Collaboration Offices (HSCO) exist “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 OHS to work and partner with State agencies and local entities to leverage their common interests around young children and their families to formulate, implement, and improve state and local policy and practices. To be effective, the HSCO director must hold a full-time position of sufficient authority and access to ensure collaboration is effective and involves a range of State agencies2.

The Office of Head Start has prioritized the work of the HSCO to guide their work. The six priorities include:

  1. Partner with State child care systems emphasizing the EHS-CC Partnership Initiatives
  2. Work with State efforts to collect data regarding early childhood programs and child outcomes
  3. Support the expansion and access of high quality, workforce and career development opportunities for staff
  4. Collaboration with State Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS)
  5. Work with State school systems to ensure continuity between Head Start and Kindergarten Entrance Assessment (KEA)
  6. Any additional Regional Priorities

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.

1Head Start Act Section 642(B)(a)(2)(A)
2Head Start Act Section 642(B)(a)(3)(B)

For a sampling of some of the publications developed through these partnerships, visit the CHSSCO Publications Web site.

Find a Head Start Program External link opens in new window or tab.

For more information about the California Head Start-State Collaboration Office, please contact:

Stephanie Myers, Director
Head Start State Collaboration Office
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 3410
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-323-9727

The California Head Start-State Collaboration Office is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, and the California Department of Education.

Questions:   Stephanie Myers | | 916-323-9727
Last Reviewed: Monday, May 06, 2019
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