The Pennsylvania Head Start State Collaboration Office (PA HSSCO) is located at the PA Key in Harrisburg. HSSCO is funded federally by the Office of Head Start in a grant to the PA Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).



Purpose of the Head Start State Collaboration Offices

The Head Start State Collaboration Offices (HSSCOs) exist “to facilitate collaboration among Head Start agencies and entities that carry out activities designed to benefit low income children from birth to school entry and their families.” They provide a structure and a process for OHS to work with State agencies and local entities to leverage their common interests around young children and their families to formulate, implement, and improve state and local policy and practice. To be effective, the HSSCO director must hold a full-time position of sufficient authority and access to ensure collaboration is effective and involves a range of State agencies.

HSSCO methods by which they coordinate and lead efforts for diverse entities to work together

  • Communication: Convene stakeholder groups for information sharing and planning. Be a conduit of information between the regional office and the State and local early childhood system.
  • Access: Facilitate Head Start agencies’ access to, and utilization of, appropriate entities so Head Start children and families can secure needed services and critical partnerships are formalized.
  • Systems: Support policy, planning and implementation of cross agency State systems for early childhood, including the State Advisory Council, that include and serve the Head Start community.

Scope of Work

HSSCOs facilitate collaboration among Head Start agencies and State and local entities as charged by the Office of Head Start (OHS) in the Regional Office.

School Transitions

To foster seamless transitions and long-term success of Head Start children by promoting continuity of services between the Head Start Child Development and Learning Framework and State Early Learning Standards including pre-k entry assessment and interoperable data systems.

Professional Development

To collaborate with institutions of higher education to promote professional development through education and credentialing programs for early childhood providers in states.

Child Care and Early Childhood Systems

To coordinate activities with the State agency responsible for the State CCDBG program and resource and referral, to make full-working-day and full calendar year services available to children. Include Head Start Program Performance Standards in State efforts to rate the quality of programs (Quality Rating and Improvement System or QRIS) and support Head Start programs in participating in QRIS and partnering with child care and early childhood systems at the local level.

Regional Office Priorities

To support other regional office priorities such as family and community partnerships; health, mental health, and oral health; disabilities; and support to military families. Other special OHS and ACF initiative requests for HSSCO support should be routed through the OHS Regional Offices.



In addition to the Office of Head Start goals, the PA Head Start State Collaboration Office works to create a visible partnership at the state level to support the development of multi-agency and public/private partnerships. These partnerships are intended to:

  • assist in building early childhood systems and access to comprehensive services and support for all low-income children;
  • create opportunities for Head Start to partner with state and local agencies in initiatives that impact children and their families; and
  • facilitate the involvement of Head Start in state and local policies, plans, processes, and decisions affecting children and families.



Tracy Duarte
PA Key
200 N. 3rd St, 3rd Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101




The Pennsylvania Head Start Association (PHSA) and the PA HSSCO work in partnership to further their collective goals. The Pennsylvania Head Start Association is a non-profit organization actively involved in improving the lives of families and children, particularly those with low-income.

PHSA functions as an advocacy organization for Head Start programs, families, staff, and administrators in Pennsylvania. Leadership from the PA HSSCO and PHSA meet regularly in a variety of settings in order to keep lines of communication flowing in a positive direction and developing strategies to facilitate the involvement of Head Start in state and local policies, plans, processes, and decisions affecting low-income children and families.

In addition to PHSA, the PA HSSCO also maintains active communication and coordinates its activities with those sponsored by the ACF Region III Head Start office, particularly in conjunction with staff members from ICF Caliber who offer support to local Head Start grantees. Staff members from the PA HSSCO, ICF Caliber, PHSA, and the regional office meet three times per year to discuss and strategize coordinated efforts of support for Head Start grantees and their partners.

Click here for more information on the Pennsylvania Head Start Association.