Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Resources and Services

With funding from the US Department of Education Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant (RTTT),  DMH in partnership with the Children's Behavioral Health Initiative and the Department of Early Education and Care, developed a guidebook for early childhood educators on infant and early childhood mental health resources and services in Massachusetts. While the audience for the guidebook is early childhood educators it contains information and resources useful to others working with very young children and their families. Click here to download a copy of the guidebook.

The Early Childhood Mental Health Partnership

The Early Childhood Mental Health Partnership’s goal is to expand mental health services for children 0 to 8 and their families, and to build mental health awareness and capacity in all child serving programs and agencies.  Its particular focus is the pediatric medical home, which is the first place many parents turn when they have questions about their children’s social or emotional development.  The Partnership provides professional and parent training programs, technical assistance, to child serving programs and in the Boston pilot sites, direct services for families and children. 

Through two SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration) grants MYCHILD and PROJECT LAUNCH; the Partnership aims to strengthen, expand and integrate statewide services for children with emotional and behavioral needs by creating a comprehensive system of community-based, culturally responsive, behavioral health services.  It also aims to support and promote statewide health care reform, with a strong focus on a medical home as a hub for health services for all Massachusetts citizens.

MYCHILD is a collaboration of families, health centers, and child serving agencies. In partnership with three pediatric medical homes & HealthCare for the Homeless, MYCHILD aims to identify young children (birth-1st grade) with significant behavioral and emotional needs and provide them with individualized, coordinated and comprehensive services. MYCHILD also aims to build the capacity of pediatric medical homes and community-based organizations to support young children with social and emotional needs through  individual consultation and group trainings.

Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) aims to promote healthy social and emotional development for children birth through age 8.  In Massachusetts, Project LAUNCH is a collaborative effort led by the Department of Public Health.  The Boston Public Health Commission oversees local LAUNCH efforts to improve systems of care for Boston children, working in partnership with the Mayor’s Thrive in 5 Initiative.  Guided by an evaluation by the Institute for Urban Health Research at Northeastern University; and state, local, and family councils; grant outcomes will inspire practice and policy changes toward a more integrated and sustainable early childhood service system throughout Massachusetts.

The Early Childhood Mental Health Toolkit is a comprehensive collection of tools and tips for incorporating early childhood mental health personnel and practices into the pediatric primary care setting.  A small change at the pediatrician’s office can make a large difference for a child. Integrating early childhood mental health concepts, services, and systems into the pediatric medical home helps to transform primary care; making the medical home a resource for the physical and mental health of a young child and a source of support for the entire family.