Head Start Collaboration Project

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the federal government establish state Head Start Collaboration offices?

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), through the Office of Head Start and its twelve regional offices, is responsible for directly funding Head Start programs throughout the United States.  Because Head Start is one of a very few programs that is funded directly by the federal government, Head Start programs were seen as not well integrated into state policies and programs.  Recognizing the important role of states in the development and implementation of enhanced program development, greater information exchange and more comprehensive early childhood services, ACF developed a demonstration program to support the development of state Head Start Collaboration Offices.

In 1990, the first 12 states, including New York, were funded to create visibility for Head Start at the state level and to develop partnerships with state and local funders of support services to low-income families and their children.  The program was expanded in 1992, 1996 and 1997, now Collaboration offices exist in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Why is collaboration between Head Start and state programs important?

Nationally the Office of Head Start administers over $6.6 billion serving over 900,000 low-income children.  Head Start is mandated to provide comprehensive child-centered, family-focused, community-based programs designed to address the developmental needs of children, and support their parents in their work and child-caring roles. Head Start programs work closely with the providers of early childhood and family services funded by state and local sources in their communities. The Collaboration office provides leadership at the state level to ensure the most effective use of resources and alignment with state’s efforts to provide the highest quality comprehensive services to the greatest number of young children and their families.

What is the New York State Head Start Collaboration Office?

Since 1990, in the first “wave” of collaboration grants, New York State has been funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to promote Head Start involvement in state policy and planning, informing state agencies about the policies, procedures and services and providing information to Head Start programs and the Regional office about state initiatives.

The State Council on Children and Families is uniquely situated in state government to implement the activities of the collaboration project.  Comprising the commissioners and directors of the state’s 12 human service agencies, the Council ‘s purpose is to identify and address interagency issues that affect the lives of New York States’ 8 million children and their families.  Established in 1977 to develop more efficient and effective systems of support and services for children and families, the Council is the Governor’s lead agency for initiatives created to enhance the lives of children and families by promoting a family literacy/family support agenda in New York State.

What is the role of the New York Head Start Collaboration Project in administering Head Start programs in the state?

The New York State does not provide any administrative functions for Head Start programs.  All questions regarding establishing new Head Start programs or reports or comments on the functioning of specific Head Start programs should be directed to the Office of Head Start.

What is the role of the Head Start Association in the NYS Head Start Collaboration Project?

The New York State Head Start Association as the representative of Head Start programs across the state serves as a primary partner in many of the activities of the Collaboration Project.  Through their network of programs and staff, the Head Start Association is able to identify emerging issues that can be addressed by the NYS Head Start Collaboration Project.  They also use their expertise and experience to help develop strategies to address issues.