Learn about the importance of promoting equity and reducing disparities when engaging in infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC).
Equity is central to the mission and values of the Center of Excellence for IECMHC. The Center works to promote equity and reduce disparities based on adults’ various “isms”—from racism to sexism to classism—as well as implicit bias. While evidence of disparities exists across various sectors, one indicator in particular has gained widespread recognition of late: preschool expulsion data.
If we are to reduce the disproportionate numbers of children of color and boys being expelled from early care and education settings, then the issues of equity and disparity require critical attention. At its core, IECMHC is meant to create fundamental shifts in early childhood professionals’ beliefs, attitudes, and practices to support more effective caregiving for all children, regardless of race, gender, class, or a myriad of other factors.
Vision Statement in Support of Equity in IECMHC
The Center's vision is that infant and early childhood mental health consultants will be committed to and work tirelessly for the rights of children and their families, especially when addressing mental health issues. The language, concepts, and core competencies of all IECMHC program models will guide consultants to provide IECMHC services to all children and families. All IECMHC practices will be developed with an equity lens, which will continue to advance the field; implementation of these practices will positively impact every child and family touched by these efforts.
Publications and Resources
The following documents and videos highlight key issues pertaining to equity when engaging in IECMHC. They also help define terms and issues around equity and disparities, and set the stage for IECMHC as an important conduit for promoting equity.
- The Center of Excellence Equity Statement – 2017 (PDF | 378 KB) reinforces the fundamental role that IECMHC can play in creating equity in services and approaches for young children and in reducing preschool expulsions.
- Key Resources for Promoting Equity and Reducing Disparity – 2017 (PDF | 894 KB) provides web-based guidance for state, tribes, and community leaders in the form of best practices and practical strategies.
- Promoting Equity and Reducing Disparities in IECMHC Systems and Programs: Glossary and Definitions – 2017 (PDF | 409 KB) encourages IECMHC practitioners to adopt the use of a common language.
- The video Recognizing Bias and Promoting Equity in Early Childhood Settings (six minutes) features interviews with experienced IECMHC practitioners. These experts discuss the importance of addressing implicit bias and providing a culturally responsive environment in early childhood settings.
- The video Supporting Cultural Traditions Within the Child Care System (two minutes) highlights a case study that shares a success story of culturally informed work in a tribal early childhood setting.