The Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Consultation Project improves the ability of staff, programs and families to prevent, identify, treat and reduce the impact of social, emotional and other mental health problems among children birth through 5 years of age.
The Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Project began in 2002 as a 3-year pilot program in Baltimore City and on the Eastern Shore. Based on the project’s success as shown in the program evaluation, the Maryland State Department of Education funded the expansion of the ECMH Consultation Pilot Project in 2006 statewide to the twelve child care licensing regions.
In Maryland, the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation project is both child/family focused and classroom/program focused. This hybrid model allows consultants to focus on specific child behaviors while working with teachers to improve the overall quality of the classroom environment.
The Project's goals are to:
- Promote positive social/emotional wellness practices in early childhood settings;
- Identify and work proactively with children who may have developmental, social, emotional, or behavioral concerns;
- Refer children and families in need of more intensive mental health services to appropriate support and/or clinical programs;
- Help children remain in stable, quality child care arrangements that support their individual needs;
- Increase teacher confidence and competence dealing with challenging behaviors through training, coaching and mentoring, and
- Build close partnerships with local community resources including Judy Centers, Head Start Centers, health departments, Child Find, Maryland Infants & Toddlers Program, preschool special education, and private consultation providers.
The ECMH Consultation Project has been very well received around the state. As one director observed, “Without your help there would be children we would never be able to care for, not that we don’t want to, we don’t know how to.” The ECMH consultants build strong relationships with families, programs, and teachers to prevent, identify, treat, and reduce the impact of mental health problems among children.
Click here for a brochure about the Early Childhood Mental Health Project.
Additional materials and resources for parents and providers on the Early Childhood Mental Health Project:
- Click here for the ECMH Consultation Standards for the State of Maryland
- Click here for a ECMH Legislative Brief
Here are some helpful ECMH-related websites:
- Center for the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning: http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/ -especially helpful are the “What Works Briefs”
- Technical Assistance Center on Social/Emotional Intervention for Young Children, also known as TACSEI: http://www.challengingbehavior.org/
- Maryland Learning Links: www.marylandlearninglinks.org
- The Georgetown Center for Early Childhood Mental Health: http://www.ecmhc.org
- Maryland Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning: https://theinstitute.umaryland.edu/SEFEL
- NECTAC, The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center: http://www.nectac.org
- Maryland Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care (BHIPP): http://www.mdbhipp.org