INFANT/EARLY CHILDHOOD MENTAL HEALTH CONSULTATION

The first five years of life are a time of unparalleled brain development in young children. Optimal development is only possible in the context of responsive, secure, sensitive relationships. It is estimated that between 9.5% and 14.2% of children age birth to 5 experience an emotional or behavioral disturbance. Increasingly, the social and emotional needs of infants and young children are recognized as a critical component of school readiness, overall well-being, and lifelong success. Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) is an effective prevention/intervention strategy for building parent/caregiver capacity to support young children’s social and emotional development and to identify and address mental health issues in the context of relationships across multiple settings and systems of care. IECMH Consultation partners a mental health professional with other professionals who work with infants, young children (birth through age five), and their families in the different settings where children learn and grow.   As a result, more and more states and communities are investing in IECMHC.  Since 2012, WI-AIMH has partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and provided 20+ Consultants to state funded, evidence-based, home visiting programs. Consultants have supported monthly reflective supervision to home visitors and supervisors strengthen program quality and reduce secondary and vicarious trauma and staff turn-over. In addition, WI-AIMH is partnering with Supporting Families Together Association, UW Madison, and UW Whitewater to implement a five-year demonstration project funded by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health for IECMHC in early care and education settings in several counties in Wisconsin beginning in 2019.