Massachusetts Head Start State Collaboration Office (MAHSSCO)
Collaboration on behalf of children and families is one of Head Start’s highest priorities. The Head Start Act establishes a Collaboration Office within each state. HSSCOs were developed to create a visible presence for Head Start at the state level and to support the development of multi-agency and public/private partnerships among Head Start and other interested stakeholders to support low-income children and families. These partnerships are intended to:
- Assist in building 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; and
- Facilitate the involvement of Head Start in State policies, plans, processes, and decisions.
Head Start is an integral part of the Commonwealth’s commitment to developing a mixed system that includes all early education and care programs and services. The MAHSSCO works collaboratively with the MA Head Start Association to enhance partnerships and mutually-developed agendas for the MHSA meetings and the HSSCO Advisory meetings.
The Office of Head Start (OHS) has prioritized the goals of the HSSCO to guide its work and the priorities include:
- Partnering with state child care systems, emphasizing the Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership Initiative
- Working with states efforts to collect data regarding early childhood programs and child outcomes
- Supporting the expansion and access of high-quality workforce and career development opportunities for staff
- Collaborating with State Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)
- Working with state school systems to ensure continuity between Head Start and Kindergarten.
The MA HSSCO also has three regional priority areas that include: Early Childhood Mental Health, Children and Families experiencing Homelessness, and the Opioid epidemic.
The MA HSSCO is located at the MA Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and is supported by the MA HSSCO Advisory Committee that meets four times a year and includes Head Start parents and staff as well as representatives from state agencies, organizations that work with low-income families, the Region I Office of Head Start and the Head Start technical assistance network. Click here for more information about HSSCOs. To learn more about EEC, click here.
The Head Start Act requires states to establish a State Advisory Council (SAC) on Early Childhood Education and Care to promote state system building efforts.The purpose of the SAC is to identify opportunities for, and barriers to, collaboration and coordination among Federal and State funded child and family development and early childhood education programs, increase the number of young children who participate in high quality programs, and support the professional development needs of early childhood educators. Governor Patrick’s administration designated the Board of Early Education and Care as the MA SAC, and they continue to serve as the MA SAC.
Contact the MA HSSCO:
Carol Nolan, MA HSSCO Director