In Massachusetts, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation programs provide consultation services to address and support the social-emotional development and behavioral health of children in early education and care and out-of-school time settings. The early childhood mental health consultation services funded by the Department of Early Education and Care's (EEC) Mental Health Consultation Grant are available across the Commonwealth.
ECMH consultants also provide support and guidance to programs, educators, and families to address the developmental, emotional, and behavioral challenges of infants and young children to ensure healthy social-emotional development, reduce the suspension and expulsion rate in early education and care settings, and promote school success.
ECMH consultants can work in partnership with your program to:
- Design and implement program policies, procedures and practices that are responsive to the social-emotional and behavioral health needs of children
- Assess strengths within the early education and care environment supporting children’s social and emotional development
- Strengthen educators' skills to identify children with or at-risk for behavioral, developmental, or mental health difficulties
- Adapt curriculum and enhance behavior management skills that are responsive to children with a range of developmental, social, and emotional needs
- Implement positive behavior interventions and supports using evidence-based practices, like the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) Model
- Build collaborative relationships with families to support children in the classroom and their homes
- Develop strategies for staff self-care
- Successfully retain children in your program or family childcare
ECMH Consultation Services may include:
- Classroom observations and strategies for creating supportive learning environments
- Customized training and/or coaching for educators, such as identifying signs and symptoms of trauma in infants, toddlers, and young children
- Guidance for developing ongoing partnerships with families, using strength-based approaches
- Individual observation and assessments of children (with parental consent)
- Guidance in the development and use of individualized behavior support plans for children, with input from parents and educators to prevent and reduce concerning or challenging behaviors
- Assistance with referrals to community-based services that meet the mental health, social welfare, and other basic needs of children and family (with parental consent).