The three primary goals of these partnerships are:
- Help build early childhood systems and access to comprehensive services for all
- 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 the development of state policies, plans, processes and decisions affecting the Head Start target population and other low-income families
The Head Start State Collaboration Offices play an important role in building partnerships at the state and local levels to ensure Head Start's participation in systems-integration strategies to benefit low-income children and families. Head Start and Early Head Start staff, other early care and education professionals, Head Start Training and Technical Assistance (T/TA) providers, policymakers, and state and local organizations will benefit from the resources and contacts developed by and for the State Collaboration Offices.
The Head Start Act of 2007 identifies the following ten priority areas for Head Start-State Collaboration Offices:
- Promote access to timely Health Care services, including general health, oral health, and mental health services.
- Support access to services for children and families experiencing Homelessness through coordination with state and local education agencies implementing McKinney-Vento requirements.
- Encourage and support collaboration with Welfare systems (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program).
- Improve or enhance coordination with Child Welfare services, including foster care and child protective services.
- Coordinate activities with state child care agencies and child care resource and referral agencies to strengthen partnerships between local Head Start and child care programs to make full-working-day and full-calendar-year Child Care services available to children.
- Promote and support state and local connections that enhance Family Literacy.
- Increase opportunities for children with Disabilities.
- Promote and support full utilization of relevant Community Services, including public schools, public libraries, museums, and law enforcement agencies, and promote effective outreach efforts to Head Start-eligible families.
- Facilitate alignment of curricula and assessments used by Head Start agencies with the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework and, as appropriate, state early learning standards and Kindergarten curricula. Promote and support appropriate curricula for limited English children and expand partnerships with LocalEducation Agencies that include partnerships with per-kindergarten and transition to kindergarten.
- Support Head Start grantees in better accessing Professional Development opportunities for staff to meet the Head Start degree requirements through sequences of training and coursework that lead to associate, bachelors and advanced degrees.