HSSCO: Head Start State Collaboration Office

Building and Bridging Systems in Early Care and Education

Who Are We?

Head Start-State Collaboration Offices [HSSCO or SCO] are charged with consulting broadly among early care and education systems at the federal, state, and local level. The state Head Start Association is encouraged to be engaged to support and inform state early childhood policies, plans, and processes.

Since Head Start began in 1965, the field of early childhood has grown as the needs of young children and families have also grown. Systems to develop quality programs ultimately support young children in learning and in life. To support these early childhood systems, the federal Head Start offices implemented Collaboration Projects in 1990. Nebraska was one of the first 12 states to pilot a Project and by 1998 all 50 states and two provinces had established State Collaboration Offices. Each governor designates the location of the “HSSCO” within state government or other statewide entity.

Why Do We Exist?


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.

What Do We Do?


In addition to the federal purposes, federal Head Start legislation now requires Collaboration Offices to serve as a resource to local Head Start agencies in their coordination and collaborative 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 needs assessment to analyze and address these local agency collaboration and coordination needs.
Needs Assessment Report August 2012

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 Nebraska’s governor is the existing Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council [ECICC]. The HSSCO director is an appointed member of and reports to this Council.

While Collaboration Offices are now directing more activities to the local Head Start agency, we continue to address the comprehensive early care and education systems issues. We know that changing systems through authentic collaboration takes time and requires intense and intentional dialogue. Our vision is that the face of every young child and their family remain at the center of that dialogue to focus our energy and resources to support and strengthen positive change in early care and education.


Where Are We? How to Find Us

Collaboration Offices can be found in human services agencies, child care resource and referral agencies, public universities, departments of education, governor’s policy research offices, etc. Regardless of the “where,” all Collaboration Offices are charged to assist states in the development of collaborative early childhood initiatives and mechanisms to link Head Start programs with state systems and efforts on behalf of all children and families living in poverty or economic disadvantage.

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

For additional information, contact Joan Luebbers, Head Start Early Childhood Systems Director at the Nebraska Department of Education, at joan.luebbers@nebraska.gov; or by phone 402-471-2463.

Training Approval

Beginning August 1, 2014, the Early Childhood Training Center will approve training that is used to satisfy child care licensing criteria for required training, annual in-service, and training needed for participation or advancement in Step Up to Quality. Please see the information below regarding training approval.

Announcement of Training Approval Letter

Approval of Training from DHHS – LB 967

Training Requirements by License Type

Automatically Accepted ECE Training (full list)

Online Automatically Accepted ECE Training (online trainings)

More information for:

Early Childhood Trainer

Early Childhood Provider/
Early Childhood Professional

Office of Early Childhood

Our Vision: All young Nebraska children are
secure, healthy, and successful.

The Office of Early Childhood provides leadership, guidance and support to:

  • develop high quality environments for young children;

  • promote equitable access to inclusive programs and services for all children from birth through age eight;

  • facilitate state and community partnerships that address the needs of young children and their families; and,

  • provide professional development, technical assistance and resources for personnel in early childhood care and education settings.

Activities of the Office of Early Childhood include the development and implementation of policy, data collection and evaluation, leadership for systems development of early childhood initiatives, and collaboration among programs and agencies.

The Office of Early Childhood carries out the work of the Early Childhood Training Center, which disseminates an extensive print and media collection of early childhood resources, maintains a comprehensive training calendar, manages a broad array of training opportunities for early childhood personnel and families, and facilitates the state’s integrated early childhood professional development system.

The Office of Early Childhood works jointly with the NDE Office of Special Education and the Head Start State Collaboration Office (HSSCO), and provides support for the Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council (ECICC).

Early Learning Guidelines Revisions

The Nebraska Department of Education – Office of Early Childhood, along with several partner agencies, have been working to revise and update one of our core documents for early childhood education (ECE) in Nebraska – The Early Learning Guidelines. While much of the core document remains, we are excited to share many updates to format, language, and content that we hope will make this document more usable for our primary audience – ECE educators in Nebraska. And with all we do, we hope educators will use this information to improve the lives of children and families in our state.

We would like to request feedback from educators and professionals across the state. Please take a moment to review the linked draft of the Early Learning Guidelines and send any feedback/suggestions for edits to Katie Miller at katie.miller@nebraska.gov by April 15th, 2018. Katie can also be reached at 402-557-6889. Thank you for your support of early childhood in Nebraska!

Draft Early Learning Guidelines 

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