Florida Head Start

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What We Do

The work of the Florida Head Start State Collaboration Office depends upon both national and state priorities. The Florida Head Start Collaboration Office engages in a number of projects and activities designed to enhance early learning systems and services for children, families, and communities.

  • Serves on various planning committees: Early Childhood Education Framework, Healthy Families Florida, Child Abuse Prevention and Permanency Advisory Council,
    McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Committee, Home Visiting Coalition, Oral Health Florida, Expanding Opportunities for Inclusion of Children with Disabilities Workgroup, and Florida Transition Project.
  • Facilitates a Migrant Oral Health Subcommittee of Oral Health Florida to address the unique needs of Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs.
  • Partners in the development of a research agenda within Head Start programs that has resulted in the nationally recognized report, "Florida Head Start: A Portrait of Our Head Start Children's Outcomes."
  • Collaborated with the University of Florida College of Dentistry and Oral Health Florida and the American Dental Education Association to convene the first Oral Health Advocacy Day.
  • Sponsored, with the State of Florida Office of Adoption and Child Protection, an informative session for policymakers on the Strengthening Families Initiative to support positive outcomes for families.
  • Presented to Florida’s Children and Youth Cabinet, in partnership with Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Project staff, a proposal promoting the creation of a State Advisory Council on Early Education and Care.
  • Coordinated with professional development partners, a draft statewide comprehensive cross-sector professional development plan with the intent to ensure an increase of quality community based options for children with disabilities in Florida.
  • Represented Head Start on the State of Florida Early Childhood Standards revision steering committee and the steering committee for the Florida Professional Development Initiative.
Who We Serve

The Florida Head Start State Collaboration Office (FHSSCO) is a federally funded office with the specific purpose of supporting and improving collaboration between Head Start and other providers of educational, medical, and social services in Florida. The office coordinates federal, state, and local policy to help ensure a unified early care and education system. Sponsored by the Florida Institute of Education at the University of North Florida, hosted by the Agency for Workforce Innovation Office of Early Learning and in partnership with the Florida Head Start Association, FHSSCO works to coordinate activities with the governor’s office, key state agencies, and other early childhood associations and advocacy groups.

How We Impact

The three primary goals of these partnerships are:

  • Help build early childhood systems and access to comprehensive services 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
  • 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.
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