About the Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC)

The Center of Excellence for IECMHC supports states, tribes, and communities in using IECMHC as a tool for promoting mental health and school readiness.

The Center of Excellence for IECMHC supports states, tribes, and communities in using IECMHC as a tool for promoting mental health and school readiness. The overarching goal of the CoE is to increase the awareness, adoption, and broad-based implementation of IECMHC. The CoE offers a number of resources in support of this goal.

SAMHSA, with its federal partners, established the Center of Excellence (CoE) for IECMHC in September 2015. Learn more about the CoE:


The IECMHC Toolbox

This first-of-its-kind resource for the field of IECMHC assists programs and providers to:

  • Improve systems and policies
  • Implement effective models of IECMHC
  • Adopt competency standards for IECMH consultants
  • Prepare and support a robust workforce of IECMH consultants
  • Communicate key IECMHC messages to stakeholders
  • Develop strategies for financing IECMHC
  • Design and implement an effective research and evaluation plan
  • Adopt culturally sensitive policies and practices for implementing IECMHC in tribal communities
  • Increase equity and reduce disparities for very young children

This in-depth resource is available to all and can be used by those who are just learning about IECMHC as well as those steeped in the practice and wanting to improve or expand.

Professional Development for Pilot Sites

Using the IECMHC toolbox as the foundation, the Center of Excellence is providing high-quality, interactive, and intensive expert mentorship to 14 states and tribes, with the goal of supporting them in successfully implementing, funding, evaluating, and sustaining IECMHC.

Mentorship to the pilot sites is delivered both online and in-person. It engages a wide range of stakeholders, from state and tribal leaders to frontline IECMH consultants and others who support the social, emotional, and behavioral health of infants and young children in home visiting and early care and education.

Pilot sites are:

  • Coeur d’Alene Tribe: Early Childhood Learning Center
  • Colorado: Office of Early Childhood
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians: Head Start and Early Head Start
  • Illinois: Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development
  • Iowa: Department of Public Health
  • Minnesota: Department of Human Services, Mental Health Division
  • Maryland: State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood Development
  • Montana: Department of Health and Human Services, Early Childhood Services Bureau
  • New York State: Council on Children and Families
  • North Carolina: Division of Child Development and Early Education
  • Pennsylvania: Office of Child Development and Early Learning
  • Utah: Administration for Youth and Families, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health
  • West Virginia: Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Children and Families
  • Wisconsin: Office of Children’s Mental Health

Webinars and Podcasts

The CoE is offering an array of webinars and podcasts on IECMHC and navigating the IECMHC toolbox, with the goal of increasing awareness and adoption among interested practitioners, administrators, and policymakers. By focusing on areas of the toolbox and best practices that enable greater adoption and implementation of IECMHC, webinar and podcast participants will gain a solid understanding of IECMHC and how this practice promotes the mental health and school readiness of young children.

Lessons Learned and Case Examples

Once states, tribes, and communities begin using the toolbox and accessing the expert mentors, the Center of Excellence will gather their successes, challenges, and innovations and provide lessons learned to continue moving the field forward. Overarching learnings and case examples will be shared through enhancements to the toolbox, publications, and webinars for national audiences.

Expert work group

The CoE takes great pride in its nationally recognized Expert Work Group, which drove the creation of the IECMHC toolbox and continues to provide expert mentorship to the CoE, to pilot sites, and to the field as a whole. Expert Work Group members (PDF | 143 KB) include:

  • Leaders in early childhood systems, IECMHC research, and IECMHC implementation
  • Experts in the fields of early care, early education, and home visiting
  • Enrolled members of tribal nations
  • Experts in financing, addressing racial and ethnic disparities, and systems change

The Expert Work Group has contributed its expertise to several federal organizations and projects, for example:

  • SAMHSA’s Project LAUNCH, which promotes the wellness of young children from birth to age 8 by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of their development
  • The Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF Parents and Children Together (PACT)
  • The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, which offers voluntary support to pregnant women and at-risk parents from birth to kindergarten

In 2018, the Center of Excellence was proud to welcome a Tribal Expert Work Group (PDF | 141 KB) to lend their expertise and insight into advancing the work of IECMHC in tribal communities.

Federal partners

SAMHSA is the lead for the Center of Excellence. SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA is pleased to partner with HRSA and ACF in leading the CoE. HRSA, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care by strengthening the health care workforce, building healthy communities, and working to achieve health equity. ACF, a division of HHS, promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. The Office of Head Start, located within ACF, promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families through agencies in the local community.

Management of the CoE for IECMHC

Through a contract with SAMHSA, the CoE is led by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) in collaboration with Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD).

  • Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is the lead contractor for the CoE for IECMHC. EDC designs, implements, and evaluates programs to improve education, health, and economic opportunity worldwide. Collaborating with both public and private partners, EDC strives for a world where all people are empowered to live healthy, productive lives.
  • Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD) strives to improve the quality of life for all children and youth, including those with special needs; for adults with developmental and other disabilities; and for their families.
Last Updated: 08/02/2018