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Iowa Head Start State Collaboration Office

Despite its federal-to-local program structure, the Head Start community recognizes that the states play an important role in the formulation and implementation of policies and initiatives that affect low-income children and their families. Collaboration on behalf of children and families is one of Head Start’s highest priorities. Since 1990, the Head Start Bureau has funded Head Start-State Collaboration grants to create the capacity to support the development of multi-agency and public/private partnerships at the State level. The Iowa Head Start State Collaboration Office was established through these funds in 1993.

The Collaboration Office ensures the coordination of Head Start services with health care, welfare, child care, education and community service activities, family literacy services, services to homeless families, and activities relating to children with disabilities. As Iowa continues to invest in coordinated services for young children and their families, broad collaboration with Head Start occurs in a variety of ways, including the development and enhancement of state-level efforts to build early childhood systems through linkages, coordination, and integration of policies and services.

Training and Technical Assistance System

The Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) OHS and Office of Child Care (OCC) collaborate to effectively offer TTA across early care and education programs. This joint TTA system supports early childhood education (ECE) programs and educators in delivering quality services to children and their families across the country.

Leading TTA National Centers

Regional TTA network

The Region VII Office works with four categories of regional TTA specialists: early childhood, grant recipient, health, and systems. Most TTA specialists, at the direction of a Regional Office, give on-site TTA to individual grant recipients, to clusters of grant recipients with similar interests, and at state and regional events.

Early childhood specialists include infant/toddler and preschool specialists. Their work falls into four broad categories: school readiness; parent and family engagement; professional development for grant recipient staff; and collaboration at the state level. Every Head Start and Early Head Start grant recipient has access to an early childhood specialist.

Grant recipient specialists are deployed by Regional Offices to work with specific grant recipients. The first priority is to work with grant recipient that have findings identified through federal monitoring reviews. However, the specialists may also be assigned to work with grant recipients based on Program Information Reports (PIRs), audit findings, or other data reviewed by OHS. As determined by the Regional Office, and time and resources permitting, grant recipient specialists may also conduct training sessions or provide TA for individual grant recipients or groups of grant recipients that do not have an identified concern but wish to improve the quality of their program’s systems.

Each region also has at least one health specialist. The health specialist serves as a link between the region and NCHBHS. In that capacity, the health specialist helps disseminate evidence-based materials and resources to Regional Office staff, TTA specialists, and local grant recipients. At the direction of the Regional Office, the health specialist also offers TTA to individual grant recipients or groups of grant recipients.

The systems specialist works closely with other designated OCC TTA staff, as well as with Head Start State Collaboration directors and others. The primary responsibility of this specialist is to participate on a regional team to identify cross-system coordination opportunities between OHS and OCC. As time permits, they may work directly with grant recipients or with groups of grant recipients.


Brenda Spurgeon
Early Childhood Education Specialist 

Iowa Community Action Association

Over the years, Community Action and Head Start have worked together to achieve their shared mission of breaking the cycle of poverty and moving individuals and families towards self-sufficiency. Many Community Action Programs across Iowa oversee Head Start Programs. The Iowa Head Start Association also partners with the Iowa Community Action Association to contract lobbying services to support our agenda from Eide Walton to advocate and work with individual members of the Iowa Legislature, legislative leadership, and staff. 

What is Community Action?

In 1964, The Great Society, as envisioned by President Lyndon Johnson, was a sweeping plan to improve the lives of all Americans, regardless of their circumstances. Inspired by President Kennedy and his New Frontier, Johnson pledged to fulfill his promise of equal opportunity for all by enacting several comprehensive changes within the federal government. In August of that same year, the Economic Opportunity Act was signed into law by President Johnson creating the nationwide Community Action Network.


Katherine Riley Harrington
Executive Director

Want to know more?

Contact us to learn more about how Iowa Head Start Association can help you and your family.