Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC)


Early childhood mental health consultation is a culturally attuned, indirect service geared toward providing support for children birth through age 5 in early early care and education settings. Consultation provides guidance in capacity building of early care and education providers, and families, to construct an environment that benefits the mental health of young children. Services include teaming up with families, and child care administration and staff to create and implement strategies that promote social-emotional development of children. This holistic approach involves:

  • Classroom observations of peer-to-peer interaction of children & staff interaction with children

  • Behavior assessment of children

  • Behavior plan development & implementation

  • Heavily engaging providers and families to meet children’s needs

  • Working with caregivers to create a setting that fosters positive emotional health & learning

  • Lesson planning support that focuses on incorporating social-emotional extensions

While consultation does not involve direct psychotherapy services, if therapy becomes a need that arises, recommendations for additional resources will be provided. Consultation is more focused on behavior assessment, and provision of recommendations on approaches that will assist caregivers with effectively managing challenging behaviors.

You may want to consider ECMHC if:

  • You have concerns about your child’s development

  • Your child displays challenging behaviors that are difficult to manage

  • Your child may be faced with suspension/removal from an early care or education center

  • You want your care setting to have more support through staff training, and assisting children and families in meeting their emotional health needs

Two Types of ECHMC are offered:

Child/Family Centered Consultation

Child/Family Centered Consultation focuses on addressing the challenges that contribute to a child or family’s ability to function well in an early care or education setting. The consultant who provides this form of service works closely with parents and care providers to: 1) help caregivers understand the child’s behaviors; and 2) develop strategies at home and in the classroom, so that interventions will be consistent across each environment. It helps with the child learning to understand that his/her behaviors will be managed the same way at school and home.

Programmatic Consultation

Programmatic consultation focuses on improving the overall quality of the program, or assisting the program with resolving issues that affect multiple children, staff members, and/or families. The consultant who provides this form of service works closely with early care and education administrators to provide training to staff and parents on childhood mental health, as well as assist teachers in lesson plan development that incorporates teaching children how to express their emotions provides supplemental information for parents at home.

The following are examples of programmatic consultation services that are provided:

  • Children’s Mental Health & Understanding Behaviors

  • Best Practices in Early Childhood Mental Health

  • Cultural Competence

  • Staff Wellness and Team Building

  • Setting Up a Classroom that Optimizes Emotional Wellness in Children

  • Integrating Social-Emotional Development in the Classroom

  • Behavior & Classroom Management

  • Identifying and Addressing Program/Organizational Challenges