NHSA and CWLA Partner to Better Align Child Welfare Services and Advocacy




Washington, D.C.-On Wednesday, August 16, the National Head Start Association (NHSA) and the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) announced the signing of a partnership agreement to collaborate on policy advocacy and professional development and ensure a bright future for all children and families across America. Through the partnership, the organizations seek to build and enhance relationships between child welfare and Head Start in every corner of the country so they can better align their work on behalf of children and families.

Children in foster care receive categorical eligibility to Head Start and Early Head Start services and increased alignment at the state, federal, and local level will only improve outcomes for children. Leveraging our shared missions as two of the nation’s most prominent organizations supporting young children and families who are vulnerable, we seek to further child and family wellbeing by aligning and leveraging shared advocacy, effective and promising practices, and our collective community connections.

NHSA’s Executive Director, Yasmina Vinci, stated,

“Head Start and Early Head Start play a vital role in the success of young children in the foster care system in every corner of our nation. This partnership will enable community-based Head Start and Early Head Start programs to build stronger, more trusting partnerships with child welfare agencies that will not only protect young children, but will also strengthen families and ensure more children have an opportunity to succeed in school and in life.”

Donna Pressma, chief executive officer at The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey and a part of the task force that forged the partnership, commented on the significance of the partnership for children and families.

“Our two major dynamic child and family serving systems can better realize our mutual vision by working, advocating, and collaborating together. That vision is: that in America ALL children and their families must have equal access to the help, the knowledge, and the caring support that allows them to live longer healthier lives and to fulfill their goals in today’s changing world.”

This collaboration will allow NHSA and CWLA to better address the interests and needs of families. According to Keith Liederman, chief executive officer of Clover, formerly Kingsley House in New Orleans, a CWLA member agency, and Head Start service provider who was part of the task force that developed the agreement,

“it is vitally important that systems serving children and families are seamlessly aligned and coordinated, which is why this historic partnership makes so much sense.”

As both NHSA and CWLA believe that all children, regardless of their circumstances at birth, have the right to achieve their full potential, this partnership will further strengthen that commitment to our children, families, and communities.

About CWLA
CWLA is a powerful coalition of hundreds of private and public agencies that since 1920 has worked to serve children and families who are vulnerable. The organization’s expertise, leadership, and innovation on policies, programs, and practices helps improve the lives of millions of children across the country. In 2020, CWLA celebrated 100 years of leadership in creating and advancing standards of practice, advocacy, and information sharing to enhance the well-being of families, children, and youth.

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 840,000 children and families from systemically underserved populations, 250,000 staff, and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients. ••• Media Contact: Emily Wagner, Director of Communications, media@nhsa.org

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