The Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Model is a preventive, relationship-based and capacity building approach that partners mental health professionals with childcare providers to improve children's social, emotional, and behavioral development.
This approach attempts to prevent and/or eliminate behavioral challenges in children by increasing the capacity all caregivers to address them. Mental health consultants meet with administrators once a week for up to 10 months to develop policies and practices that support children's mental health and program-specific needs identified by the readiness assessment (i.e. HERS-ECC-Program Readiness Assessment). Priority will be given to the development of policies and procedures to prevent preschool expulsion and increase parental engagement.
Below are examples of activities that take place in program-level consultations based on children's needs.
|Type of Activity
|Children at-risk for behavioral problems.
|Children exhibiting challenging behaviors.
Program-level Consultations are implemented in accordance to the 5-steps implementation protocol of the IECMHC model:
The table below details this implementation protocol.
|Step 1: Initiation
|Step 2: Exploration of Concerns
|Step 3: Plan Development
|Step 4: Plan Implementation
|Step 5: Transition Planning and Maintenance
Effective consultations rely on the quality of the relationship between the mental health consultant and the administrator. Mental health consultants are responsible for building this relationship at every stage of implementation. Administrators are assisted in recognizing areas of improvement, maintaining progress, and brainstorming approach to future challenges. Administrators will also be encouraged to reflect on the growth and new skills of teachers and caregiver as well as any new perspectives demonstrated in consultations.
Program-level consultations are guided by the HERS-ECC-Program Readiness Assessment. This tool rates the preschool environment across 5 domains and 13 indicators:
|I. Develop and Clearly Communicate Program Practices and Procedures
|II. Develop and Clearly Communicate Social-Emotional Program Practices
|III. Develop and Clearly Communicate Expulsion and Suspension Policies
|IV. Staff Support and Supervision
|V. Program/Teacher-Parent Communication and Connection
|Additional Required Topic (Ongoing; Unscored)
The goal of program-level consultations includes but are not limited to the following.
As a result, the expected outcomes of these consultations are the development of expulsion prevention policies, access to reflective supervision for teaching staff, reduce stress and burnout to lessen attrition, fewer suspensions and expulsions, and improved school readiness.