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Head Start Collaboration Project

Farm to Head Start Story

Farm to ECE provides children in Early Childhood settings increased access to healthy, regionally produced foods through local purchasing, opportunities for hands-on gardening experience and nutrition, food, and agricultural education. Read this scripted “Farm to Head Start” story with the little one in your life to help them understand the benefits of locally grown fruits and veggies. Print this story and fill in the blanks to make it their own!

Click here to view the “Farm to Preschool” version if you are working outside of a Head Start program.

For other Farm to ECE strategies please visit:


Prekindergarten and CBO/Head Start Collaboration (2023)

As state administered prekindergarten continues to expand in New York State, this is an exciting time for Head Starts and Community Based Organizations to continue to build and strengthen new and existing collaborations within your community.


Below you will find some helpful resources to support you as you build new collaborative partnerships in your community

1 - Recorded Webinar
     July 2023 Intro - CCF, Patty Persell

     July 2023 Session 1 - CCF, Patty Persell

     July 2023 Session 2 - NYSED Erik Sweet, Dr. Tina Rose-Turriglio

     July 2023 Session 3 - OCFS, Jim Hart

2 - 2023 Question and Answers (COMING SOON) - The Q & A from this webinar will be posted as soon as possible.

3 - Sample PreK/Head Start/CBO Contract

Here is a sample contract for a school district and a Head Start program to use as a guide to establish a collaborative agreement.

4 - PreK Sample RFP

5 - PreK/Head Start/CBO Tip Sheet

This is a helpful tool that lists the things to consider before entering into a prekindergarten and Head Start/CBO partnership.

6 - NYS PreK Collaboration Resources

7 - NYS PreK Learning Standards

8 - 2022 New York State Early Learning Alignment Crosswalk

Early care and learning professionals can use this crosswalk to understand how The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five (HSELOF), The New York State Early Learning Guidelines, Birth to 8, and the New York State Prekindergarten Learning Standards, A Resources for School Success represent the best knowledge of children’s development.

9 - All About StartwithStars

Here you can learn all about Start with Stars, a QUALITYstarsNY initiative, and how it works.

10 - All About QUALITYstarsNY

Here you can learn all about QUALITYstarsNY and how it works, and what it can offer your school, Head Start or Community Based Organization.


Resources for Parents:


High School Equivalency for Head Start Parents webinar


How to support Early Head Start and Head Start parents in accessing WIC, SNAP and Summer Meals (2024)


Education Head Start Projects and Activities:



1) Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Guidance Briefs - PreK to 3rd Grade

  1. Leadership
  2. Curriculum
  3. Environment
  4. Interaction
  5. Assessment
  6. Family Engagement
  7. Behavior
 Vetted by the field and free to YOU!
2) The New York State Early Learning Guidelines
The The New York State Early Learning Guidelines describe typical child development. The Guidelines are not standards, but are meant to inform teachers and parents about how children typically develop from birth to age five and offer strategies for adults to help support the child’s full development in all domains.

3) New York State Early Learning Alignment Crosswalk
The New York State Early Learning Alignment Crosswalk compares domains in each of the following three documents: 

  • The Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework
  • The Prekindergarten Foundation for the Common Core
  • The NYS Early Learning Guidelines


Universal Pre-kindergarten (UPK) and the Head Start Pre-k Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

The Head Start Collaboration Project worked with the State Education Department and other key stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to increase the number of school districts participating in the UPK program while at the same time building partnerships between school districts and community-based programs such as Head Start. In addition, Head Start programs have been working to meet the requirements in the Head Start Reauthorization Act to develop MOUs with school districts on better collaborating to meet the needs of preschool-age children. 


Parenting Education

The New York State Parenting Education Partnership (NYSPEP) was established in 2007. The major goals of the Parenting Education Partnership are to normalize participating in parenting education and making evidenced- based parenting education more readily available. The membership of the partnership includes representatives of the:

  • Head Start Collaboration Project
  • Children and Family Trust Fund
  • State Education Department
  • Department of Health
  • Office of Mental Health
  • New York State Fatherhood Initiative (Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance)
  • Prevent Child Abuse New York
  • NYS Association of Family and Consumer Science Educators
  • Head Start Programs
  • Parents as Teachers
  • SCO Family Services and Homes for the Homeless
  • Parenting Educators
  • Family Resource Centers
  • National Parenting Education Network

The NYSPEP has recently reorganized its workgroups to focus on examining best practices in parenting education programs; designing methods of evaluating effectiveness in parenting education; developing methods to increase public understanding of positive parenting practices; and promoting professional development for parent educators. Work group activities include: 

  • Providing accessible, user-friendly information for parenting educators on the research regarding elements of effective programs, as well as evidenced -based parenting curricula and programs. 
  • Developing and disseminating documents to assist parenting education programs in a campaign designed to normalize the utilization of community supports and resource-rich websites and materials to strengthen parenting practices.
  • Establishing a website with resources and contact information on NYSPEP:
  • Creating a calendar of training workshops, conferences and other events that offer professional development and networking opportunities for parenting education providers.
  • Providing training for parenting educators on topics identified in focus groups held last year.
  • Establishing a task group to explore developing a parenting educator credential.
  • Promoting effective cross system support for parents and parenting education through policy papers and professional presentations.


Health Care Head Start Projects and Activities:


Oral Health

New York State was chosen as one of eleven states to participate in the Office of Head Start and American Academy of Pediatric Dentists Dental Home Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to link every child to a dental home which will provide screening, treatment, and where necessary, referral for specialized services.

Collaboration Project staff serve as a member of a statewide Oral Health Coalition comprised of over 150 individuals and organizations including several Head Start programs that are working together to ensure that all children, particularly low-income children, have access to dental care services.


Obesity Prevention

Responding to the increasing alarm in New York and other states over the unhealthy weight gain in young children, Head Start Collaboration Project staff attended the “I Am Moving, I Am Learning”  training and action planning session in October 2007.

The sessions resulted in programs committing to making staff and program changes that encourage healthier food choices, increased activity for staff and children, and educational messages for everyone, including the families of the Head Start and Early Head Start students. Technical assistant specialists have facilitated subsequent meetings of participants across the state. The Collaboration Office has supported these efforts while working to bridge this initiative with others sponsored by the Health Department.


Child Care Head Start Projects and Activities:


Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

Obtaining quality child care is difficult for all families. It is especially difficult for low-income working families who may work irregular hours and cannot afford the cost of care let alone high quality child care. Recognizing the importance of quality child care, New York is developing and implementing a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), QUALITYstarsNY. For more information, see  This site contains general information on the initiative, answers to frequently asked questions, the program standards for both center-based programs and family child care providers as well as a survey to provide feedback on both sets of standards. Additionally, through the website, people are able to sign up to receive electronic notification of periodic updates to QUALITYstarsNY.


Welfare and Child Welfare Head Start Projects and Activities:


Home Visiting

Families moving from welfare to work require a range of supports and services to meet their economic needs, gain the education and training required to obtain sustainable employment, and raise healthy children. Collaboration Project staff are working with the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy and the New York State Department of Health on efforts to develop a comprehensive system for identifying and meeting the needs of vulnerable families. The system would include several components including: screening all pregnant women and their families early in the prenatal period, making appropriate referrals for needed services, and providing comprehensive home visiting services for families identified as vulnerable or at-risk.

The provision of home visiting services would be based on community and individual family needs. Included in the array of home visiting programs that would comprise the system are: Nurse Family Partnership, Healthy Families New York, Parent Child Home Programs and Early Head Start that provide a either exclusively home visiting services or a combination of home-based and center-based services.



Community Services Head Start Projects and Activities:


Alcohol and Substance Abuse

The NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services licenses several residential treatment programs for alcohol and substance abusing women. Many of the women in these programs have children who reside in the centers with them. While services vary by program, there are no specific requirements for meeting the developmental needs of the children. Collaboration project staff have assisted by linking these children and their families to Early Head Start, Head Start, and other early childhood programs. To support facility staff in helping women in their programs meet their child’s developmental needs, the Collaboration Project Director developed a report describing New York’s system of early childhood services including how families can locate and enroll their child in Head Start and Early Head Start


Homeless Head Start Projects and Activities:


All Head Start programs must prioritize children who are homeless for enrollment. The Tip Sheet for Head Start Providers has information about how to identify children who are experiencing homelessness and how to enroll them in Head Start. The Head Start Housing Questionnaire should be used by Head Start staff as part of the enrollment process to identify any child who is homeless. Both documents were developed by the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students ( in concert with the New York State Head Start Collaboration Project.

Learn "Everything that You Need to Know: Enrolling Children who are Homeless in Early Head Start and Head Start." 


Children with Disabilities Head Start Projects and Activities:


Head Start/State Education Department Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

The Collaboration Project has worked with staff of the Region II Technical Assistance Network and State Education Department to revise the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Preschool Special Education Program. The MOU is currently available click here.

Head Start Collaboration Project staff work closely with the Region II Head Start Technical Assistance Network to provide whatever assistance programs need to use the statewide MOU as a tool to meet their requirements to develop MOUs with local school districts.


Temporary Task Force on Preschool Special Education

The Head Start Collaboration Director served as a member of the Temporary Task Force on Preschool Special Education. The Task Force was established in legislation to review the current preschool special education system and provide recommendations for improving transitions, integrating children with special needs into mainstream environments. A report was prepared and efforts have now begun to implement the report’s recommendations. Many of the recommendations should make it easier for Head Start programs to effectively serve children with disabilities.


Professional Development Head Start Projects and Activities:

The Collaboration Project maintains which provides a one-stop location for information on early childhood career development. 


Trainers’ Credential

To help programs and providers identify high quality training opportunities, work has begun to establish a trainers’ credential and registry. 

The New York State Trainers’ Credential is a competency-based program for people providing training in early care and education. The credential program will validate the trainer’s education and experience with children and/or families or in a specialized content area, and evaluate the trainer’s competence in preparing and implementing professional development experiences that result in increased knowledge, improved professional practice, and eventually in higher quality programs for children and families. It is a voluntary, competency-based credential that is divided into three levels to accommodate trainers with varying degrees of education, expertise and training experience.

The Trainers’ Registry will make it easier for individuals and organizations seeking program and professional development training to locate trainers with the education, experience, and expertise needed to provide high quality training.


Literacy Development for Early Care/Education Providers

In partnership with the Office of Children and Family Services' Division of Child Care Services (formerly Bureau of Early Childhood Services), SUNY Research Foundation's Professional Development Program\Training Strategies Group, and Literacy New York (formerly Literacy Volunteers of New York State), the NYS Head Start Collaboration Project has developed a program to address the training and literacy needs of early care and education providers with low literacy skills.

While New York State has some of the highest regulatory standards for people providing early care and education in licensed or registered programs and settings in the nation, many people working as classroom assistants and family child care providers lack the literacy skills needed to provide quality services. Numerous training programs exist to help providers meet licensing standards. However, providers with low literacy skills cannot fully benefit from these trainings if they are unable to read and communicate effectively.

To address the needs of these providers, the project was designed to use existing early care and education training curricula as the context to provide adult literacy instruction. Trainers from child care resource and referral agencies, regional specialists, and Head Start staff received instruction in ways to modify technical information using valid adult education strategies thus making critical concepts and text accessible to more child care providers.



Eligibility for Participation in Head Start:


Age Requirements:

•     Early Head Start, a child must be an infant or a toddler younger than three years old.

•     Head Start, a child must: Be at least three years old or, turn three years old by the date used to determine eligibility for public school in the community in which the Head Start program is located; and be no older than the age required to attend school.

•     Migrant or Seasonal Head Start, a child must be younger than compulsory school age

Eligibility Requirements:

•     The family’s income is equal to or below the poverty line for family size; or,

•     The family is eligible for or, in the absence of child care, would be potentially eligible for public assistance; including TANF child-only payments, or the family receives SNAP; or,

•     The child is homeless, as defined in part 1305; or,

•     The child is in foster care.



HHS Poverty Guidelines for 2023

The 2023 poverty guidelines are in effect as of January 19, 2023


Select the link for the guidelines and additional information:


Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships

Click here to find out more about Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships.


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. 


Our Partners

The Council partners with the following federal and state organizations:



Patricia Persell 
Council on Children and Families
52 Washington Street
West Building, Suite 99
Rensselaer, New York 12144



To find a Head Start program near you please click here

Head Start Collaboration Project Resources

Tool Sub Title Here
Tool Desc
Developmentally Appropriate Practice Briefs (DAP)
Developmentally Appropriate Practice Briefs (DAP)
DAP Briefs 1 through 8
This compilation of 8 brief reports was developed by the NYS Early Childhood Advisory Council, NYS Head Start Collaboration Office, NYS Education Department and NY Association for the Education of Young Children to support students, families, teachers and leaders by highlighting key features of high quality early childhood teaching.
Data Fact Sheets and Infographics
Data Fact Sheets and Infographics
Fact sheets, Profiles, Figures and Infographics
Data sheets, fact sheets, data summaries, infographics
Related Links
Additional Web Resources
A list of useful external websites and resources