Capacity Building for Delivering and Evaluating Consultation

Capacity Building for Delivering and Evaluating Consultation

Pregnant mom with family

Over the last 10 years, an increasing number of states, communities, and programs have been building their capacity to deliver and evaluate mental health consultation services for young children and their caregivers. In some states and communities, this work focused on helping to design and deliver consultation services through specialized programs that are specifically designed to provide ECMHC. In others, the work focused on facilitating partnerships at the state level between early care and education (ECE) providers, such as Head Start and Early Head Start, other early childhood services, and mental health agencies and providers. These partnerships supported collaboration and planning for early childhood mental health services and supports, including consultation, at the state and community levels. Some early care and education programs and local mental health agency providers focused on their unique program and community concerns, establishing working relationships with existing agencies and private practitioners who could be contracted to provide consultation.

In a recent survey of State Children’s Mental Health Services Directors and Early Childhood Comprehensive System Coordinators, 29 of the 35 states that responded indicated that early childhood mental health consultation services are available in their state and 21 of those reported state-wide efforts. Six of the 35 states indicated that while ECMHC services are not currently available, their state is moving in that direction (Duran, et al, 2009). In addition to expanding efforts to make consultation available, there are a number of models for training early childhood mental health consultants and increasing their availability (Korfmacher & Hilado, 2008). These models are in various stages of development, including training opportunities such as systematic in-service training, pre-service training, endorsement, and certificate or credentialing programs (Allen et al 2008). However, access to these training opportunities is often limited; available to those mental health professionals who are already engaged in a specific consultation program within which this training occurs. Other training programs, such as those focused on infant mental health, may not include a specific focus on consultation. Training in early childhood mental health consultation remains an important area of growth.

All of these important landmarks and the continuing work in early childhood mental health consultation can help to inform and strengthen consultation services in Head Start and Early Head Start.

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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.