Head Start Collaboration Office

The Rhode Island State Head Start Collaboration Office resides at the RI Department of Human Services and is funded by the federal Administration for Children & Families (ACF), which oversees the collaboration office and its mission.

Head Start Logo
classroom early learning


The creation of State and National Collaboration Offices is authorized by Section 642B(a)(2)(A) of the Head Start Act. The purpose of the Head Start Collaboration Offices (HSCOs), state and national offices, is to guide the work of all collaboration offices. Since 1990, ACF has awarded Head Start collaboration grants to support the development of multi-agency and public and private partnerships at the state and national levels.

Head Start Collaboration Offices facilitate partnerships between Head Start agencies and other state, territorial, or tribal entities that provide services to benefit children from families with low incomes. These offices contribute to state systems for early care and education, which coordinate and regulate various services for children from birth to age 5 and their families. The state systems are designed to increase the effectiveness of early childhood services by linking young children and their families to the support they need. Information in this section connects to resources that can help you assist children and families as they access services to become lifelong learners and meet ongoing needs.

Head Start Collaboration Offices: National Priorities

The Office of Head Start (OHS) established four priority areas to guide the work of the Head Start Collaboration Offices (HSCOs).

1. Collaborate with state systems to align early care and education services and supports for children and families prenatally to age 5. Collaborate across systems to support:

  • Health, mental health, and social and emotional well-being
  • Home visiting
  • Comprehensive service delivery
  • Services and supports for children who are experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, children with disabilities, and children who are dual language learners
  • Quality improvements
  • School readiness initiatives
  • State background check systems
  • Child care
  • Child welfare
  • Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships
  • Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Health Integration Prenatal-to-3 Programs

2. Work with state efforts to collect and use data on early childhood programs to guide decision-making and improve child and family outcomes.

Support appropriate access to and use of data to guide decision-making and to improve outcomes in areas such as coordinated eligibility and disparities in access to services.

3. Support the expansion of and access to high-quality workforce and career development opportunities for staff.

Work with state professional development systems, including workforce registries and career pathways, and with institutions of higher education to promote expansion and high-quality career development opportunities.

4. Coordinate with school systems to ensure continuity and alignment across programs, as appropriate.

Promote continuity of services, program alignment, and support for successful transitions, particularly with state preschool, kindergarten, and with Title I, McKinney-Vento, and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act programs.

State and Regional Priorities

According to the Head Start Act, HSCOs “facilitate collaboration among Head Start agencies and entities that carry out activities designed to benefit low-income children from birth to school entry, and their families (Sec. 642(B)(a)(2)(A))." They provide structure and a process for OHS to work and partner with state agencies and local entities to leverage their common interests around young children and their families to formulate, implement, and improve state and local policy and practices.

A close up of a little boy with big hair and a navy blue hoodie.

Scope of Work

OHS has prioritized the goals of the HSCO to guide their work. The six priorities include:

  1. Partnering with state child care systems emphasizing the Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership Initiative
  2. Working with state efforts to collect data regarding early childhood programs and child outcomes
  3. Supporting the expansion and access of high-quality workforce and career development opportunities for staff
  4. Collaborating with State Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS)
  5. Working with state school systems to ensure continuity between Head Start and Kindergarten Entrance Assessment (KEA)
  6. Any additional regional priorities

Head Start Collaboration Offices: Regional Priorities

The Office of Head Start has established regional priorities that guide Head Start Collaboration Office's work plans. The regional priorities are: 

  • Services to children experiencing homelessness
  • Services to children with disabilities
  • Health services
  • Child welfare
  • Parent and family engagement
  • Subsidy/TANF
  • Community services
  • Military families

For more information of the RI Head Start Collaboration Office...

Contact Catherine Green, Head Start Collaboration Office Director, at Catherine.Green@dhs.ri.gov