Additional Resources on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC)

Find infographics, studies, videos, and other resources on the IECMHC field, its impact, and federal policies that affect implementation.

Emergence of the IECMHC Field

What Works? A Study of Effective Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Programs – 2009 is an executive summary of high-quality ECMHC programs. It highlights the critical factors that make ECMHC an effective intervention in supporting a child’s social, emotional, and behavioral development, as well as the structures needed to make an ECMHC program successful.

Pre-Kindergarteners Left Behind: Expulsion Rates in State Pre-Kindergarten Programs – 2010 conducted by the Foundation for Child Development, examines pre-kindergarten expulsion rates in 40 states and the nation as a whole. The study found that expulsion rates among pre-kindergarteners surpass those of students in kindergarten through grade 12 in all but three states. It also found that the presence of in-classroom behavioral consultation significantly decreased the likelihood of expulsion.

Implementing Policies to Reduce the Likelihood of Preschool Expulsion – 2010 provides an overview of predictors for early expulsion, such as student-teacher ratio and length of class day. The policy brief also highlights several alternatives to expulsion and offers detailed steps to reduce early expulsion.

Enhancing Home Visiting With Mental Health Consultation – 2013 focuses on the integration of ECMHC into the home visiting program model as a means of increasing the support available to a family.

SAMHSA supported the Expert Convening on IECMHC – 2014 (PDF | 269 KB) to assess the state of the field and to identify gaps and next steps for moving the field forward. Experts discussed definitions, core competencies, and evidence of effectiveness, and engaged in a dialogue with federal leaders about creating greater opportunities for IECMHC across the nation.

For a history of the events, products, and research that have moved the IECMHC field forward, access the Major Milestones for IECMHC – 2015 (PDF | 55 KB) timeline.

The IECMHC Field Today

Expulsion and Suspension in Early Education as Matters of Social Justice and Health Equity – 2016 (PDF | 194 KB) synthesizes the current field of research on the “preschool to prison pipeline” and provides a call to action to further study the impact of suspension and expulsion prevention measures, including IECMHC.

For a real-world look at the core competencies of IECMHC, access the introductory video Understanding the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant: Lessons for Strengthening Practice – 2016. At the end of the video, complete the modules for a more in-depth understanding of the practice of IECMHC.

The Implementation of Young Child Wellness Strategies in a Unique Cohort of Local Communities – 2016 includes findings, strengths and challenges of implementing ECMHC within cohort 3 of Project Launch (beginning on Page 52).

The infographic Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Protects and Maximizes Our National Investment in Early Care and Education – 2015 (PDF | 856 KB) describes ECMHC and outlines three categories of services—child-focused, classroom-focused, and program-focused consultations—with practical examples for each category.

ACF offers several resources on reducing suspension and expulsion practices in early childhood settings, including a joint policy statement from Departments of Health and Human Services and Education – 2014 (PDF | 1.3 MB) on the federal government’s goals of limiting the use of suspension and expulsion in early childhood programs. The policy statement represents a call to action for states and programs to use federally funded resources, including ECMHC, to ensure that the social, behavioral, and emotional needs of young children are being met.

The Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in Home Visiting infographic – 2014 (PDF | 2.3 MB) shows how IECMHC can help offset the stress that children and families face when there are complex mental health concerns at home. The addition of a mental health consultant to a home visiting program provides a holistic way to address the mental health needs of at-risk families.

To learn more about what a mental health consultant does, access A Day in the Life of an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant – 2011 (PDF | 1.4 MB). This collection of vignettes from actual consultants gives an on-the-ground look at how mental health consultation supports the social and emotional health of children and families.

Last Updated: 04/19/2019