Integrating IECMHC into Early Childhood Systems

Integrating IECMHC into Early Childhood Systems



Along the continuum of promotion, prevention, and intervention in an early childhood system, IECMHC is a promotion and prevention strategy.

IECMHC offers the flexibility to deliver services in a variety of settings and can help programs and agencies throughout an early childhood system promote high-quality, equitable services and better understand the needs of infants and young children, the importance of early relationships, and the benefits of trauma-informed care (Overview of the IECMHC Approach within the Early Childhood System). 

When IECMHC is integrated – rather than seen as an add-on service – into other early childhood systems, it becomes valued as a necessary component.

Ensure that local early childhood systems work together to address the full range of mental health needs for infants and young children by engaging health, mental health, early childhood, and family support systems professionals in common conversations and activities to support the children and families with whom they work.

Assess infants’ and young children’s mental health needs and gaps in promotion and prevention in the community, and promote an integrated, cross-systems approach to problem-solving.

Illinois has created a leadership team across early childhood and family support systems, including collaboration among the Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), the state’s board of education early childhood block grant, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant quality set-aside funds.

Early childhood systems partners may have differing priorities, and IECMHC might not be recognized as a practice that can enhance or support these priorities. It may take some work to build relationships with early childhood systems partners to help them understand the multidisciplinary nature of IECMHC. The strategies identified in this section can help make the case for the relevance and benefits of IECMHC across systems.

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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.