Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health

Early Childhood Community of Practice

The Early Childhood Community of Practice (COP) provides an opportunity for discussion, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas and resources related to young children between the ages of birth to 8 who have mental health challenges and are currently being served by system of care communities. Through networking opportunities, the system of care communities serving these children will be better able to provide the necessary and desired assistance to children and their families. This is an area of service development that is still emerging, and this peer -to-peer exchange among practitioners has great potential to impact the field.

The early years are the most critical for neurological development, as the most significant brain growth occurs in the first six years of life. This is also the most critical time for building resiliency, and social and emotional foundations. The experiences of early childhood have a profound impact on the overall health and well-being of individuals throughout their lives. We know that children identified as hard to manage at ages 3 and 4 have a high probability (50 percent) of that difficulty continuing into adolescence (Campbell and Ewing, 1990). Those children who exhibit aggressive/antisocial behavior that persists to age 9 have poor chances for successful social emotional outcomes (Dodge, 1993).

The Early Childhood Team is made up of staff from the TA Partnership and staff from Georgetown University's National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health, and has assembled the profiles of the early childhood communities, as well as contact information for each community and which evidenced-based and promising practices have been implemented or are being considered across the communities.

More resources may be found on the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health's Early Childhood Web page, or the Early Childhood COP's Resources Web page.

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Featured Resources

Putting the Pieces Together: A Toolkit on Developing Early Childhood Systems of Care

Georgetown University Child Development Center, National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health (2011)

This toolkit is designed to help facilitate complex system-building efforts by drawing upon the experiences and expertise of communities engaged in this work.

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (PDF)

Cohen, E., and Kaufmann, R., Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2005.

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation provides a blueprint for child care providers to use when hiring a mental health consultant.

A Training Guide for the Early Childhood Services Community (PDF)

Hepburn, K. S., & Kaufmann, R. K., Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2005.

The companion piece to Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, A Training Guide for the Early Childhood Services Community, offers a guide for trainers to use when teaching the early childhood community how to use the blueprint.

Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood, Revised

ZERO TO THREE

ZERO TO THREE’s revised, developmentally based diagnostic manual is based on a growing understanding of early cognitive development. The new diagnostic criteria include new subsets for depression; anxiety disorders, including separation anxiety and social anxiety; and feeding behavior disorders.

Early Childhood Mental Health in a System of Care
This Web site is an excellent source for publications related to early childhood mental health.