The Head Start Act (as amended December 12, 2007) requires the Head Start State Collaboration Offices (HSSCOs) to conduct a needs assessment of Head Start & Early Head Start grantees and delegate agencies in the State in the areas of coordination, collaboration alignment of services, and alignment of curricula and assessments used in Head Start programs with the Head Start Child Development & Early Learning Framework and, as appropriate, State Early Learning Standards

The Head Start Act also requires the HSSCOs to use the results of the needs assessment to develop a strategic plan outlining how they will assist and support Head Start/Early Head Start grantees and delegates in meeting the requirements of the Head Start Act for coordination, collaboration, transition to elementary school and alignment with K-12 education. HSSCOs must also annually update the needs assessment and strategic plan and make the results of the needs assessment available to the general public within the State. 

The purpose of gathering this information is to identify your needs in the specified areas and inform the activities of the annually revised strategic plan for the Head Start State Collaboration Office in your state. This information can also be used to inform Head Start grantees’ and delegates’ program improvement at the local/grantee levels and supports them in meeting Head Start Performance Standards and other federal regulations. 

This needs assessment survey is organized around the Federal priority areas for the HSSCOs. These priority areas include: 

1.       Health Services;
2.       Services for Children Experiencing Homelessness;
3.       Welfare/Child Welfare;
4.       Child Care;
5.       Family Literacy;
6.       Services for Children with Disabilities;
7.       Community Services; 
8.       Education (School Readiness, Head Start – Pre-K Partnership Development);
9.       School Transitions and Alignment with K-12;
10.   Professional Development; and
11.   Early Childhood Systems Development
Part 1 asks you to rate the extent of your involvement with various service providers/organizations related to the content area. This part uses a 4-point Likert scale and definitions to reflect your progress in relationship-building at this point in time.
Part 2 asks you to indicate the level of difficulty your program has had engaging in each of a variety of activities and partnerships.  A 4-point scale of difficulty is provided, ranging from “Extremely Difficult” to “Not At All Difficult,” as shown below. The purpose of this part is to assist you in identifying challenges you may be experiencing in building successful partnerships at the local and state levels to support the delivery of quality education and comprehensive services to your children and families.  

Part 3 includes two open-ended questions at the end of each section of the survey instrument.  The first will give you the opportunity to document any remaining concerns that were not covered in the survey. The second question gives you the opportunity to document what is working well in your program, and to indicate if any of these successful strategies/activities may be helpful to other programs.

Your Head Start State Collaboration Director will aggregate the survey findings from all Head Start/Early Head Start and delegate agencies in your state and then compile a report that will be forwarded to the Federal and Regional Office of Head Start. Results will also be made available to you and to the general public.

Thank you for taking the time to reflect on the coordination and collaboration challenges and accomplishments in your program(s).