Collaboration with Head Start Agencies
TO: ALL STATE IV-D DIRECTORS
RE: Collaboration with Head Start Agencies
The Office of Child Support Enforcement and the National Head Start Association (NHSA) have entered into a partnership to assist parents to be more positive influences and provide increased financial support for their children. We will work together to assure that all Head Start programs and local Child Support offices develop partnerships to distribute information on child support services and assist eligible parents to access these services. I am enclosing a copy of the agreement, which I am pleased to share with you.
I believe that the OCSE-NHSA partnership represents a significant opportunity for the Child Support Enforcement Program. It follows the recent reauthorization of Head Start, in which Congress made the promotion of child support services a function of Head Start agencies. Now more than two thousand Head Start programs nationwide must "inform custodial parents in single-parent families133about the availability of child support services for purposes of establishing paternity and acquiring child support; and refer eligible parents to the child support offices of State and local governments." (Head Start Act, Sec.42 (b)(11)(A)(B). In turn, State and local Child Support staff need to understand how Head Start operates to collaborate effectively with its staff, as outlined in the agreement.
NHSA is committed to assisting Head Start Programs to carry out this new function by collaborating with OCSE. I am enclosing also a copy of our recent joint letter to the Head Start State Associations in which we encouraged each President to meet with the State Child Support Enforcement Director. I would ask you to welcome and facilitate this meeting so it results in an ongoing Head Start-Child Support partnership in your State. The aim should be to work together1) to provide training on fatherhood and child support issues, and 2) to encourage and assist all Head Start Programs throughout the State to make on-site provisions for Child Support staff to provide parents information and assistance on child support services.
I know I can count on you to engage the resources of the Head Start Program to promote child support services in your State. I ask you to circulate my letter and enclosures to your local Child Support Offices and encourage them to collaborate with the local Head Start Programs.
David Gray Ross
Office of Child Support Enforcement