Nebraska Head Start Collaboration Office

Building and Bridging Systems in Early Care and Education

Head Start Collaboration Offices (HSCOs) facilitate partnerships between Head Start agencies and other state, territorial, or tribal entities that provide services to benefit children from families with low incomes. They also 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.

To assist in supporting state early childhood systems, the federal Office of Head Start implemented Collaboration Projects in states beginning in 1990. Nebraska was one of the first 12 states to pilot a Collaboration Project and by 1998 all 50 states and two provinces had established what are known today as Head Start Collaboration Offices.


HSCO National Priorities

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

  1. Collaborate with state systems to align early care and education services and supports for children and families prenatally to age 5.
  2. Work with state efforts to collect and use data on early childhood programs to guide decision-making and improve child and family outcomes.
  3. Support the expansion of and access to high-quality workforce and career development opportunities for staff.
  4. Coordinate with school systems to ensure continuity and alignment across programs, as appropriate,  particularly with state preschool, kindergarten, and with Title I, McKinney-Vento, and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act programs.


State and Regional Priorities

In addition to the National Priorities listed above, federal Head Start legislation requires Collaboration Offices to serve as a resource to local Head Start grant recipients in their coordination and collaborative efforts. Stronger linkages at the local level can support improvement and quality of early childhood services. Collaboration Offices are required to conduct or update a needs assessment annually to analyze and address these local agency collaboration and coordination needs.  The Nebraska Head Start Collaboration Office Needs Assessment update can be found here:  2022 Nebraska HSSCO Needs Assessment Summary

The Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 also required 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 Nebraska’s governor is the Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council [ECICC]. The HSCO director is an appointed member of and reports to this Council.


Questions? Contact Us!

The Nebraska Head Start Collaboration Office is housed in the  Office of Early Childhood at the Nebraska Department of Education.

For additional information contact Steph Knust, Head Start Collaboration Office Director at the Nebraska Department of Education, at, or by phone at 531-207-9832.

Updated March 18, 2024 4:08pm