Collaboration

Louisiana Head Start

Collaboration Project Purpose

The goal of the Louisiana State Head Start Collaboration Project is to create and offer support to state to statewide partnerships among Head Start program, child care programs and public school pre-kindergarten programs.

The Louisiana Head Start State Collaboration Project plays an important role in helping make progress in improving the lives of young children and families. The office assists with relevant state initiatives and brings the support and perspective of Head Start to the development of a comprehensive early childhood system in Louisiana in 10 specific service priority areas – Health Care Services, Homelessness, Welfare, Child Welfare, Child Care Services, Family Literacy, Disabilities, Community Services, Education, and Professional Development.

Started in 1997, the LSHSCP is federally funded and embraces the principle of serving the whole family as the key strategy for improving developmental, social and economic conditions for low-income children. The project also identifies gaps and overlaps in service delivery to low-income families and initiates/recommends strategies resulting in improved access, delivery and co-ordination of services for families with young children. The project is charged to develop initiatives in eight priority areas: education, child care, health care, welfare, family literacy, national services activities, homelessness, and children with disabilities.

     The following purposes of the Head Start State Collaboration Office are defined in Public Law 110-134 “Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007”:

(i) assist Head Start agencies to collaborate with entities involved in State and local planning processes to better meet the needs of low-income children from birth to school entry, and their families;

(ii) assist Head Start agencies to coordinate activities with the State agency responsible for administering the State program carried out under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858 et seq.) and entities providing resource and referral services in the State, to make full-working-day and full calendar year services available to children;

(iii) promote alignment of curricula used in Head Start programs and continuity of services with the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework and, as appropriate, State early learning standards;

(iv) promote better linkages between Head Start agencies and other child and family agencies, including agencies that provide health, mental health, or family services, or other child or family supportive services, such as services provided under section 619 or part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1419, 1431 et seq.); and

(v) carry out the activities of the State Director of Head Start Collaboration authorized by law

      Kahree Wahid serves as the Collaboration Director for the Louisiana Head Start State Collaboration Project. The director is responsible for the following tasks as defined by Public Law 110-134 “Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007”:

(A) conduct an assessment that:

  • addresses the needs of Head Start agencies with respect to collaboration, coordination/alignment of services, and alignment of curricula/assessments used in Head Start programs with the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework and State early learning standards;
  • shall be updated on an annual basis; and
  • shall be made available to the general public.

(B) develop a strategic plan that is based on the assessment that will:

  • enhance collaboration/coordination of Head Start services by Head Start agencies with other entities providing early childhood education/development, health care, mental health care, welfare, child protective services, education/community service activities, family literacy services, reading readiness programs, services relating to children with disabilities, other early childhood education/development for limited English proficient children/homeless children, and services provided for children in foster care/children referred to Head Start programs by child welfare agencies;
  • assist Head Start agencies to develop a plan for the provision of full working-day, full calendar year services for children enrolled in Head Start programs who need such services;
  • assist Head Start agencies to align curricula/assessments used in Head Start programs with the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework and, as appropriate, State early learning standards;
  • enable Head Start agencies to better access professional development opportunities for Head Start staff, such as by working with Head Start agencies to enable the agencies to meet the degree requirements, including providing distance learning opportunities for Head Start staff, where needed to make higher education more accessible to Head Start staff; and
  • enable the Head Start agencies to better conduct outreach to eligible families.

(C) promote partnerships between Head Start agencies, State and local governments, and the private sector to help ensure that children from low-income families, who are in Head Start programs or are preschool age, are receiving comprehensive services to prepare the children for elementary school;

(D) consult with the chief State school officer, local educational agencies, and providers of early childhood education and development, at both the State and local levels;

(E) promote partnerships between Head Start agencies, schools, law enforcement, relevant community-based organizations, and substance abuse and mental health treatment agencies to strengthen family and community environments and to reduce the impact on child development of substance abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, and other high-risk behaviors that compromise healthy development;

(F) promote partnerships between Head Start agencies and other organizations in order to enhance Head Start program quality, including partnerships to promote inclusion of more books in Head Start classrooms;

(G) identify other resources and organizations (both public and private) for the provision of in-kind services to Head Start agencies in the State; and

(H) serve on the State Advisory Council in order to assist the efforts of Head Start agencies to engage in effective coordination and
collaboration.