Current initiatives by the Connecticut Head Start Collaboration Office
CT Head Start Association (CTHSA) and CT Head Start Training & Technical Assistance (TTA) Center – The CT HSSCO works closely with the CTHSA and TTA Center to coordinate federal resources and supports for Head Start and Early Head Start grantees and to share these resources and lessons learned with the wider early childhood system in the state.
Early Head Start Meeting & Sharing – The HSSCO supports Early Head Start grantees to meet quarterly to share resources and support one another’s work and to engage state partners to assist in providing comprehensive services to pregnant women, infants and toddlers and their families.
DCF-Head Start Partnership – For over 15 years the CT HSSCO has staffed, funded and co-convened this valuable collaboration to work better together in support of families. DCF and Head Start staff from the 14 local DCF Area teams from across the state come together quarterly with their key partners, ECCP and Supportive Housing for Families, and more recently Part C/Birth to Three and Child First, at statewide meetings to strengthen their understanding of one another’s programs and their working relationships to better support families. An Early Childhood Child Welfare federal grant infused Strengthening Families and Infant Mental Health into practice with families.
Pyramid Partnership/CSEFEL – Building on national efforts to better address the social emotional needs of young children and their families, this collaboration of the HSSCO and the CT Head Start TTA Center with Part B-619/ Preschool Special Education, Part C/Birth to Three and ECCP has brought together various additional partners to bring the Pyramid Model resources to the early childhood community in Connecticut. The Partnership pools federal resources from several sources to ensure they are reflect in the wider early care and education system at the state and local levels.
WIC-Head Start Partnership – For the past four years WIC and Head Start have partnered first with UConn and more recently with University of St. Joseph to better coordinate WIC and Head Start resources to create unified messaging for families and to align resources to better meet the needs of children at nutritional risk in our state. With grants from USDA, parents and program staff were surveyed to learn about their needs. Interventions include increased communication among partners, alignment of practices and co-sponsoring and co-location of activities and services for families. These ongoing efforts have been highlighted at professional meetings and in publications.
SHAPE – This USDA federal grant project supports a partnership of the HSSCO, the CT Head Start TTA Center and Head Start mentors with SSDE and DPH to share I Am Moving, I Am Learning (IMIL) with center and family based early childhood settings. IMIL, an evidence-based approach that addresses childhood obesity in preschool-aged children by promoting healthy nutrition and physical activity, is widely used in Head Start nationwide. SHAPE shares this resource with non-Head Start preschool programs.
Infant Mental Health Capacity Building – The HSSCO works closely with the CT-AIMH to build a workforce competent in services suing an infant mental health approach. A collaboration with DCF, Part C/Birth to Three, and Family Based Recovery provides subsidies for staff to receive Reflective Supervision. The HSSCO supports CT-AIMH to facilitate local networks that encourage programs share training resources and support staff to obtain endorsement in Infant Mental Health.
Head Start-Family Shelter Partnership – Head Start grantees have partnered with family shelters in their communities to increase Head Start/Early Head Start enrollment, to “child proof” family shelters, and to work better together to support families with housing needs. By engaging one another in each other’s service networks, housing resources can be shared with early childhood providers and early childhood resources can be shared with housing providers thus offering more coordinated services to families.
Health Supports – The HSSCO meets with Head Start/Earl Head Start Health and Nutrition Managers to provide support for their network and to assist in connecting Head Start with state health systems. Current issues for this group include connecting with dental service providers, addressing discontinuity between the CT Early Childhood Health Assessment Record (yellow form) and new electronic health forms, and partnering with CHDI in presenting the EPIC module on Early Childhood Health to pediatric practices.
Connecticut Activities – The HSSCO is a member of the CT Early Childhood Cabinet/State Advisory Council, the Head Start Advisory Council and the OEC Leadership Team. The HSSCO participates on work groups, advisories and task forces that address a variety of topics related to the needs of Head Start and other low-income families, e.g., Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Advisory, CT Two-Generational Work Group and OEC’s Home Visiting Work Group.
National Activities – The HSSCO is an active member of the Connecticut, New England and National Head Start Associations. The HSSCO sits on the Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Youth and its Early Childhood Committee and serves as Treasurer and Operations Committee Chair. The HSSCO currently serves on an Advisory Committee for the Office of Head Start National Center on Health to promote pediatric partnerships with Head Start. The HSSCO works closely with the Office of Head Start and the National Network of State and National Collaboration Offices to achieve goals as set for the in the Head Start Act.
CONNECTICUT HEAD START ASSOCIATION
Copyright 2013, 2017, 2018.
Connecticut Head Start Association, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
Jennifer Johnson, Director
Connecticut Office of Early Childhood
450 Columbus Blvd, Suit 304
Hartford, CT 06103
Telephone: ((860) 500-4412