Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH)
Topic Editor: Andy Gommandypgomm@gmail.com
IECMH addresses the social-emotional well-being of young children from birth to age 5 and provides a framework of promotion, preventive-intervention, and treatment approaches that are provided within the context of the child's relationship with their parent(s) and other caregivers.
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What Is Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health?
Social-emotional development is one of the developmental domains that must be addressed as a part of the evaluation and assessments to determine eligibility under 34 CFR §303.321, and in the IFSP under 34 CFR §303.344, and includes the child's ability to:
- identify and understand their own feelings;
- accurately read and comprehend emotional states in others;
- manage strong emotions and their expression constructively;
- regulate their behavior;
- develop empathy for others; and
- to establish and maintain relationships.
"IECMH is the developing capacity of the child from birth to 5 years old to form close and secure adult and peer relationships; experience, manage, and express a full range of emotions; and explore the environment and learn—all in the context of family, community, and culture."
Briefing Paper: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Early Intervention (Part C)
This briefing paper explores Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) policies and practices that state early intervention (Part C) programs may consider implementing to meet the social-emotional and mental health needs of infants and toddlers in the context of relationships with their parents and other caregivers.Get Started
Webinar Series: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) and Early Intervention (Part C)
These two webinars for early intervention (Part C) lead agency staff, state-level TA providers, and state IECMH partners address potential IECMH policies and practices to promote the social-emotional development and mental health of infants and toddlers in the context of relationships. The webinars were presented in collaboration with Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (CCHD), National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI), and ZERO TO THREE.
Session 1: IECMH Screening, Assessment, and Eligibility
- Early On Michigan Established Conditions
- Social and Emotional Health A Guide for Families with Children Birth to Age 8 (Michigan Department of Education, 2019)
Session 2: IECMH Practices and Services
- Medicaid-funded Behavioral Health Services: Ages 0–6 (Georgia Department of Community Health, 2022)
Videos on Early Childhood Mental Health
Early Childhood Mental Health (Harvard University)
"As early experiences shape the architecture of the developing brain, they also lay the foundations of sound mental health. Disruptions to this developmental process can impair a child's capacities for learning and relating to others — with lifelong implications.
Children's Social Emotional Development and Mental Health: Why Does It Matter?
Early childhood experiences can strengthen or disrupt a young child's social, emotional, and cognitive development, with consequences that can last a lifetime. This video from Administration For Children and Families entitled Children's Social Emotional Development and Mental Health: Why Does It Matter? spotlights the importance of integrating support for the social emotional development of young children and the well-being of their caregivers into all child- and family-serving programs.
Trauma and Toxic Stress
Neuroscience has shown that trauma and toxic stress experienced by infants and young children can have negative consequences on early brain development and can lead to negative lifelong developmental, mental, and health outcomes. IECMH practices and services can promote a child's resilience, as well as developmental and mental health outcomes, through supporting nurturing relationships with parents and other adults in the child's life.
See also: Child Maltreatment
Supporting Social-Emotional and Mental Health Needs of Young Children Through Part C Early Intervention: Results of a 50-State Survey
This webinar presents key findings from a 50-state survey from the National Center for Children and Poverty (NCCP) and Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF) on supports for social-emotional and mental health needs in Part C Early Intervention.
Topics include: screening, referral, and evaluation; eligibility; services for eligible and ineligible children; and collaboration, including referrals under CAPTA and Medicaid funding.
Presenters from NCCP, CCF and ECTA use the survey to discuss opportunities for strengthening state Part C policies and their implementation. They also highlight examples of promising state policies and practices.