Director: Stacey Owsley Wright
- Help build early childhood systems and access to comprehensive services and support 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 State Policies, plans, processes, and decisions affecting the Head Start target population and other low-income families.
Federal Priority Areas
- Collaborate with state systems to align early care and education services and supports for children and families prenatally to age five.
- Work with state efforts to collect and use data on early childhood programs to guide decision-making and improve child and family outcomes.
- Support the expansion of and access to high quality workforce and career development opportunities for staff.
- Coordinate with school systems to ensure continuity and alignment across programs, as appropriate.
- State and regional priorities as needed.
In addition to the federal purposes, federal Head Start legislation requires Collaboration Offices to serve as a resource to local Head Start agencies in their coordination, collaboration and alignment efforts. Stronger linkages at the local level can support improvement and quality of early childhood services. Additionally, Collaboration Offices are required to conduct an annual Head Start Needs Assessment to analyze and address these local agency collaboration and coordination needs. The strategic plan of the office is a fluid plan. The strategic plan is adjusted, as feasible, based on changes in federal, state, and Head Start/Early Head Start needs.
The other primary change in the Act [Public Law 110-134], Improving Head Start for School Readiness, Dec. 12, 2007], is a new requirement for the Governor of each State to establish or designate an early childhood education and care advisory council to address issues of collaboration, coordination, alignment, quality and availability of early care and education services. The body designated by Missouri’s Governor is the Missouri Early Child State Advisory Council. The MHSCO Director is an appointed member of the board.