head start programs in ga

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head start programs in ga

Georgia Head Start Collaboration Office

The Georgia Head Start State Collaboration Office (GAHSSCO) is located in Bright from the Start, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). Bright from the Start’s mission is to deliver exemplary early care and education programs that improve the quality of early learning experiences, increase school readiness, and improve overall school performance. The vision here is to increase the number of Georgia’s children and families who have access to quality early care and learning programs.


Major partnerships include:

  • Licensing
  • Georgia pre-K
  • Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS)
  • Nutrition
  • Quality initiatives – scholarships and incentives
  • Quality Rated Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)
  • Strengthening Families
  • GA Department of Education (DOE) – disabilities and autism training
  • Department of Public Health – lead poisoning and asthma
  • Fulton County Health Department – asthma
  • CAPS Task Force
  • English Language Learners Task Force
  • Reading by Grade Level
  • Georgia Oral Health Coalition
  • Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems
  • Georgia Head Start Association

Georgia identifies with the First Lady’s Children’s Cabinet. In April 2011, Governor Nathan Deal issued a second executive order continuing the Council, reappointing most of the previous members and naming some new ones. The Council resides in the First Lady’s Cabinet and is administered by DECAL’s Bright from the Start. The GAHSSCO and a representative of the Georgia Head Start Association have been part of the Council from the beginning.


The major goals of GAHSSCO include:

  • Licensing all Head Start centers
  • Ensuring Head Start and Early Head Start programs are part of QualityRated
  • Encouraging Head Start and Early Head Start grantees to participate in the unified data system
  • Operating more GA pre-K programs through Head Start grantees
  • Inclusion in the application of the Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards for school readiness
  • Participating in summer pre-K transition program
  • Effectively testing for lead and following up
  • Offering family literacy services where needed
  • Ensuring the State Professional Development System is in line with Head Start and Early Head Start standards
  • Participating in the Home Visitation Project
  • Supporting grade level reading by communicating the importance of attendance

Outcomes and Successes

In addition to the contributions listed above, GAHSSCO has accomplished the following:

  • Created state memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Head Start, GA DOE, and DECAL
  • Started a lead testing project for middle Georgia through Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Made 100 percent of Head Start grantees part of the unified data system
  • Found a 300 percent increase over the previous year for the immunization pilot
  • Increased participation in the summer transition program
  • Found more than 70 percent of Head Start sites are participating in Quality Rated
  • Encouraged 11 Fulton County Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms to participate in the School Flag Program to decrease asthma attacks in Atlanta
  • Made Early Head Start part of the state Infant/Toddler Network
  • Hired a parent engagement specialist for DECAL
  • Served on the national work group for Strengthening Families/Head Start Parent and Family Engagement
  • Worked to finalize state and Head Start professional development alignment
  • Served on and continue to be part of the Leadership Team for Home Visitation. This includes trainings for Head Start and Early Head Start and developing competencies for home visitors
  • Served on the State Leadership Team for Professional Development and worked on identifying competencies for home visitors as part of the system
  • Currently tracking Head Start chronic absenteeism and chronic tardiness in support of attendance as a requirement for success as part of a state grade level reading initiative

National Directories and Resources:

  • Office of Head Start
    • Agency Service Profile
    • A Guide to Resources for Developing School Readiness Goals [PDF, 154KB]
  • Office of Child Care
    • State Profiles
    • CCDF Grantee State and Territory Contacts
    • Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Statistics
    • Office of Child Care (OCC) Fact Sheet
    • Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Resource Guide
    • State Early Learning Guidelines
  • Health
    • Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT)
    • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Child Nutrition Programs
  • State Child Care Licensing
    • State Licensing and Regulation Information
  • Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)
  • Early Childhood State Advisory Councils (SAC)

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