Adapting to Changing Political Conditions

Adapting to Changing Political Conditions



Politics and funding priorities are intertwined. When leadership changes with entities like the state legislature, county commissioners, school boards, and tribal leadership, it’s important to be able to make the case for the importance of IECMHC, regardless of leadership’s political priorities, which means ensuring that IECMHC programs have the tools they need to respond to shifts in political conditions.

Prepare talking points that identify specific IECMHC outcomes in multiple outcome areas, such as return on investment, enhanced infant and early childhood development, teacher retention, equity promotion, and relationships between infants and young children and caregivers. This will prepare programs to respond as conditions change.

Identify political priorities and compare these with IECMHC program priorities to ensure that the IECMHC program can adapt to current conditions.

In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, states struggled to meet infants’, young children’s, and families’ increased need for mental health services. Through Colorado’s Early Childhood Mental Health Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, federal early childhood relief money was made available through an executive order by the governor. This money supported 14 supplemental IECMH consultants statewide to help children, families, and staff members cope with stress resulting from the pandemic. The $1.4 million was allocated for hiring IECMH consultants across the state, the $1.4 million was allocated to focus on supporting the health and well-being of children, families, and providers impacted by COVID-19 by addressing trauma, grief, loss, and emotional distress; fostering healthy adult-child relationships; and building resilience.

Flexibility to adapt to changing conditions – whether they are political, environmental, or demographic – is critical in order to ensure your program or initiative can sustain through events such as elections, population changes, and unexpected events such as we have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Having flexibility in your model doesn’t mean you need to change your mission, but instead show how your mission can fit into and adapt to a variety of conditions and meet the needs of your communities during these times.

Champions and Partnerships
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.