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Child Support, Child Care and Head Start Collaboration: Innovations & Ideas

Published: September 18, 2012

October 23, 2003

State IV-D Directors
Child Care and Development Fund State Child Care Administrators
State Head Start Collaboration Project Directors

Dear Colleagues:

We are very pleased to share with you the attached report, "Child Support, Child Care and Head Start Collaboration: Innovations & Ideas." The report highlights and compares approaches of six Section 115 demonstration grant projects designed to promote collaboration between state Child Support Enforcement, Child Care, and Head Start programs. We hope that the experiences and lessons learned from these six demonstration projects will be valuable to you in attempting to structure and implement similar collaboration efforts.

The report contains a myriad of "how to" and "how not to" lessons which should help any state interested in collaboration between Child Support, Child Care and Head Start - or indeed, in collaboration in general. Some of the major themes highlighted in the report are:

    Focus on the inter-program common goal of helping families and children achieve emotional and financial well-being.
    Be patient but persistent: building collaborative efforts takes time and staff commitment.
    Identify and address inter-agency staff and customer barriers: develop flexible strategies to transform misinformation or hostility into acceptance and trust.
    Foster success: need key and inspirational leadership, strong personal relationships and a common vision.

As we all know too well, it takes a multitude of agency and community services to address the complex needs of disadvantaged families. The Administration for Children and Families is committed to helping agencies develop strong partnerships at the state, local and community levels so we can deliver the array of services to the families and children who depend on us.

We hope you will use the information shared in this report to continue to build strong partnerships to better serve our nation's most vulnerable families and children.

Sincerely,

Joan E. Ohl Commissioner
Administration for Children,
Youth and Families

Sherri Z. Heller, Ed.D.
Commissioner
Office of Child Support Enforcement