Program Structure

Program Structure

Learn about components of successful IECMHC programs, national programs and models and tools to strengthen your IECMHC services.

Empirical Studies on IECMHC Programs

What Works (2009)

This seminal reports summarizes the results of a mixed methods study that focused on six effective IECMHC programs in early care and education settings. A conceptual framework was developed which continues to influence the design of IECMHC programs nationally.

What’s Working (2018): IECMHC and Family Friend and Neighbor Care

This report summarizes work done through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development in 2018 to explore the role that IECMH consultants can play to support Family, Friend, and Neighbor providers.

IECMHC and the Pyramid Model

Crosswalk of Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Pyramid Model Coaching: Building Capacity in Early Childhood for the Promotion of Social and Emotional Health

It is essential that early childhood programs and practitioners have the skills to promote the social and emotional health of young children. Young children’s social-emotional development sets the foundation for other cognitive and academic skills and for their future relationships. This resource brief highlights and describes the unique and complementary aspects of two successful approaches early childhood programs can use to support children’s social and emotional skills: infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC) and the Pyramid Model.

Understanding Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and the Pyramid Model: How do these approaches fit together and how are they different?

This resource was completed as part of the Center of Excellence for IECMHC, Phase 1. Many programs have both IECMH consultants and Pyramid coaches working together or in parallel. This brief provides information on how consultation and coaches fit together and highlights important differences.

All Hands on Deck: Partnering with Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Consultants to Implement the Pyramid Model

This product was created by the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations to explore the relationship between IECMH consultants and Pyramid Model coaches. The focus is on how consultants can support coaches in early childhood settings.

Designing an IECMHC Program

Program Manuals

  • Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) Guide: Standards, Rationale, and Guidance for the State of Maryland
    This resource was developed in 2011 for the Maryland ECMH Project and an updated version appears on this page of the CoE website. We have included this earlier version here as an example of how to structure a program manual which includes: (1) a well-articulated set of program standards supported by (2) a rationale for each standard, based on the current evidence base; (3) examples of self-assessment indicators for each standard; and (4) a comprehensive appendix of forms that support all aspects of IECMHC work.
  • The Georgetown Manual for School-Based Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Services
    This manual describes a framework to the provision of ECMHC in school settings. Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development articulated this framework for ECMHC as implemented in a pilot program in a DC charter school for Pre-K 3- and 4-year-old classrooms. ECMHC services are organized into phases and described at multiple levels: child-/family-focused, classroom-focused, and programmatic consultation. The Appendix contains foundational materials describing the GU practice-based principles for ECMHC as well as tools to gather ECMHC data on children and classrooms. This document is intended as a resource that could aid other programs in the development of their manuals, though program manuals go beyond this content to also include site-specific implementation details.

Helpful Background Materials

  • The Essential Activities of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: Guidance for the Field from a Consensus-Building Study (2022)
    Through a Delphi study design—a collaborative, consensus-building approach—the CoE utilized IECMHC expert stakeholders from various settings to identify the core elements and activities of consultation. This resource not only brings universal guidance and cohesion to the IECMHC field, but also provides the foundation for a fidelity tool. It offers direction for programs and practitioners seeking to deliver equitable, high-quality consultation in any setting.
  • Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: Brief Report of Adaptations in the Virtual Learning Environment (2022)
    AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter Schools serve exclusively 3- and 4-year-olds in the District of Columbia and receive Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC). ECMHC at AppleTree has been guided by the Georgetown Model for School-Based ECMHC (Hunter et al., 2016) with consultation at AppleTree’s early learning campuses delivered at the programmatic, classroom, and individual student/family levels. ECMHC services were adapted to AppleTree’s virtual setting in March 2020 and during the 2020-2021 school year. This paper describes the core tenets of ECMHC, ECMH consultants core competencies, ECMHC adaptations in the virtual settings at AppleTree, identifies the central elements of in-person ECMHC that remained consistent during virtual learning, and presents key points for virtually adapting ECMHC.
  • Creating Practice-Based Principles for Effective Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Services (2012)
    Through a collaborative, consensus-building effort called a Delphi process, IECMHC expert stakeholders refined a set of ten practice-based principles for IECMHC, in addition to a definition for IECMHC and list of its primary goals. In lieu of a manualized approach, these ten principles are offered as an alternative measure of program fidelity to the essential elements of IECMHC, while also allowing for individualization across settings and communities.
  • Developing and Implementing a Program wide Vision for Effective Mental Health Consultation
    This in-depth guide provides guidance and support for early childhood program administrators with respect to ensuring IECMHC in implemented in coordination with a wide vision for the center. It includes specific guidance on programmatic elements of IECMHC from hiring to supporting consultants.
  • Designing an IECMHC Program: Four Essential Building Blocks (Accompanying Worksheet)
    Designing an IECMHC program is complicated and requires careful planning through a coordinated team of stakeholders. These two parallel resources simplify the design of IECMHC programs into four building blocks and provides guidance for how to explore each of these areas. A worksheet was created to help programs assess what has been completed and track progress.
  • Sample Needs Assessment
    Conducting a needs assessment with stakeholders is a crucial first step in designing an IECMHC program. This resource provides a comprehensive overview and template of the necessary areas for data collection to complete a needs assessment specific to IECMHC program development.
  • A Day in the Life of an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant
    This resource contains a series of real-life vignettes that describe the different phases of the work that a MHC may encounter in the course of an average day. Reflective questions are included that make this a great resource for on-boarding a new consultant.
This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.