Opioids and Substance Misuse

IECMHC is an essential part of the continuum of care supporting families affected by opioids and other substance misuse.

Opioids and Substance Misuse


Infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) consultants can play an essential role in ensuring that families affected by opioid misuse receive support and services. The Center of Excellence’s vision is for IECMH consultants and other adults who work with infants and young children (e.g., home visitors, child care providers, early childhood educators) to have the tools, resources, and strategies to help children thrive and overcome the impacts of exposure to opioid misuse.

How IECMHC Can Help Families Affected by Opioids and Substance Misuse

Those who work most closely with at-risk families—home visitors, early care and education providers, and health care professionals—are increasingly seeing the impacts of opioid misuse: children whose parents have died of overdose; out-of-home or kinship placements for children whose mothers are in treatment or incarcerated; babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome; increased family violence; and increased emotional, physical, and economic family stress that impacts a child’s developmental trajectory.

IECMH consultants not only support home visitors and early care and education professionals, but they may also serve as important resources regarding the needs of children and families as they work with child welfare workers, law enforcement, courts, pediatricians, health care providers, and substance use recovery professionals.

IECMH consultants can support early childhood programs including home visiting in a number of ways:

  • Training staff to screen for substance misuse and to make referrals for community-based services
  • Helping programs strengthen their policies and procedures for supporting families and linking them to services for substance misuse
  • Helping caregivers understand how substance use within families affects the development of children

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Last Updated: 09/24/2018