The Massachusetts Head Start State Collaboration Office (MA HSSCO) is located at the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). The MA HSSCO is supported by an advisory group that meets four times a year and includes Head Start staff, as well as representatives from state agencies, organizations that work with low-income families, the Region I Office of Head Start and the Head Start Training and Technical assistance network. The MA HSSCO works collaboratively with the Massachusetts Head Start Association (MHSA) to enhance partnerships and mutually-developed agendas for the MHSA meetings and the MA HSSCO Advisory meetings.
The MA HSSCO has three regional priority areas: supporting early childhood mental health, supporting children and families experiencing homelessness, and addressing the early childhood education workforce crisis. Goals for the MA HSSCO also include:
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.