Connecticut Head Start State Collaboration Office

The CT Head Start State Collaboration Office works across state agencies, and in partnership with Head Start programs, the Connecticut Head Start Association, and representatives of the broader early childhood, family support, and professional development communities in planning and implementing collaborative activities and initiatives that upon strengths and address identified needs for low-income children and families in the state.

What is Head Start?

Head Start programs promote school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families by supporting the development of the whole child.  Head Start programs support children’s growth and development in a positive learning environment through a variety of services, which include early learning, health, and family well-being. Head Start is free for those who qualify.

Head Start in Connecticut

The Office of Head Start directly funds 17 CT grantees (23 grants total) serving approximately 6,000 children and families per year. Over $71m federal Head Start funds and $5m state supplemental funds support direct services for CT’s children and families. Find out more about the State Head Start Supplement grant.

What are Head Start Collaboration offices (HSCOs)?

Head Start Collaboration Offices (HSCOs) facilitate partnerships between Head Start agencies and other state entities that provide services to benefit low-income children and their families.

Section 642B of the Head Start Act

This section authorizes the creation of State and National Collaboration offices to provide a structure and a process for the federal Office of Head Start to work with state and local entities on issues and policies that affect young children and their families. 

Working together, they formulate, implement, improve and align state and local policies and practices. To be effective, the State and National Head Start Collaboration directors must ensure collaboration “is effective and involves a range of state agencies” to support the development of multi-agency and public and private partnerships at the state and national levels.

Read the 2023 HSCO Needs Assessment Report

In August 2023, the CT Head Start Collaboration Office commissioned a survey of Connecticut’s Head Start directors to identify their needs in key areas. The goal was to help shape the state’s strategy for supporting early childhood programs in line with federal guidelines. Read the 2023 report.

What role do the HSCOs play?

These partnerships are intended to:

  • Assist in building early childhood systems
  • Provide access to comprehensive services and support for all low-income children
  • Encourage widespread collaboration between Head Start and other appropriate programs, services, and initiatives
  • 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 target populations and other low-income families 

Methods of coordination

Methods by which State Head Start Collaboration Officers coordinate and lead efforts for diverse entities to work together include:

  • Communication — Convene stakeholder groups for information sharing and planning.  Be a conduit of information between the Regional Head Start Office and the State and local early childhood system.
  • 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, and implementation of cross agency State systems for early childhood, including the State Advisory Council (in Connecticut, the Early Childhood Cabinet), that include and serve the Head Start community.  

Scope of work

The Office of Head Start has prioritized the goals of the HSCO to guide their work. The 6 priorities include:

  • Partnering with state child care systems emphasizing the Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership Initiative
  • Working with state 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 Improvement Systems (QRIS)
  • Working with state school systems to ensure continuity between Head Start and Kindergarten Entrance Assessment (KEA)
  • Any additional regional priorities
Read the Connecticut Head Start Programs Analysis Report

This report compares Head Start data in Connecticut from 2022 to 2023. Get information about:
– Program services and staff
– The children and families we serve
– The importance of Head Start in Connecticut

Read the report.

About this report
Every year, Head Start programs across the country complete a Program Information Report (PIR) for the Office of Head Start. These reports are key data sources for the Head Start community, partners, Congress, and the general public. The Head Start Collaboration Office asked the CT Data Collaborative to create this data story based on PIR data.

For information on current initiatives and partnerships, contact:

Karen Pascale
Head Start State Collaboration Office Director
Connecticut Office of Early Childhood
450 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT 06103

Last updated June 10, 2024