Purpose

The quality of experiences in early learning and care settings is critical to the healthy development of young children. Research tells us that early experiences during the first years of life shape the developing brain. Stable, nurturing relationships with important adults and the quality of caregiver-child interactions and experiences are key ingredients for future learning, and developmental and behavioral health of young children. Infant and early childhood mental health consultation is a preventative, strength-based, culturally responsive approach that provides early learning and care settings, such as center-based and family child care programs, access to infant and early childhood mental health consultants. Infant and early childhood mental health consultation is not therapy, nor does it include assessment or diagnosis of specific children. Consultation is used to assist caregivers, teachers, staff and families in creating an environment in which children’s social and emotional development can thrive. IECMHC Network consultants work with caregivers and staff to ensure that all children have the skills to express and manage their emotions, make friends, and gain valuable problem-solving skills.