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Little Kids, Big Questions
is a series of 12 podcasts that translates the research of early childhood development into parenting practices that mothers, fathers and other caregivers can tailor to the needs of their own child and family. Click here to listen to or download the podcasts. This podcast series is generously funded by MetLife Foundation.

Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Awareness

The Baby Monitor

April 30, 2012

ZERO TO THREE Promotes Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Awareness

What prevents states and communities from delivering mental health services to infants, young children, and families? And what can be done to overcome these obstacles? With the help of infant-early childhood mental health and policy experts from across the country, the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center has taken a closer look at these issues and is pleased to announce the release of a new resource, Making It Happen: Overcoming Barriers to Providing Infant-Early Childhood Mental HealthMaking It Happen illuminates the scientific evidence for infant-early childhood mental health (I-ECMH) policies; examines issues faced by national, state, and local program directors and mental health practitioners in providing I-ECMH services; and proposes a set of recommendations for policy improvements at the federal level.  Additionally, it provides a context for the issues and barriers states face when financing services for those most in need and during a time of life when those services would have the highest rate of return.  Read the paper to learn more!

You can help ensure the social and emotional developmental needs of infants and toddlers in your community are being met this Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. In our May advocacy calendar, this month's challenge is to identify at least one policymaker in your state and send them a copy of the new ZERO TO THREE paper, Making It Happen: Overcoming Barriers to Providing Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health. Download May's Advocacy Developmental Milestone calendar now!

Federal Policy Update

Congress will not be producing a budget blueprint this year, as the two houses will not come to an agreement on funding levels.  The Senate has announced that it will abide by the spending limits in last summer’s debt ceiling bill (Budget Control Act or BCA) and call it a day. Meanwhile, the House has taken a step further, not only adopting a budget that calls for more spending cuts than the BCA, but also going through its own reconciliation process to achieve those lower spending targets. While the House process isn’t likely to go anywhere, it does give a detailed view of where priorities lie on that side of the Hill. The bottom line is that benefits for vulnerable children and families will lose out to tax cuts and deficit reduction.  Read our Federal Policy Baby Blog to learn more.

State Policy Update

Arkansas Provides Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation to Early Care and Education Programs

Arkansas is strengthening early childhood mental health (ECMH) supports in early care and education programs through its ECMH consultation project. Consultants work out of community health centers in six regions of the state, partnering with licensed child care programs to increase the capacity of providers, programs, and families to prevent, identify, treat, and reduce the impact of mental health problems among young children. Consultants work with programs over a 5-7 month period during which they conduct formal observations of the environment, screen children for behavioral concerns, and provide training to caregivers. Training focuses on topics such as problem-solving, coping with stress, and incorporating activities that will strengthen children’s social skills into daily routines. The ECMH consultation program has been in place since 2004. An evaluation of the project found that teachers who received consultation services displayed higher levels of sensitivity compared to those who had not and that children in intervention sites scored higher on teacher ratings of protective factors and had fewer behavioral problems compared to children in other settings. Read the full state policy update now.

Publications & Resources

Register Now for Child Welfare Webinar
Click here to register for the upcoming webinar, Meeting the Developmental Needs of Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System. This webinar, presented by ZERO TO THREE and the Child Welfare Information Gateway on May 7, 2012 from 2:00 – 3:30 ET, will discuss how the science of early childhood development could inform child welfare policies and practices for infants and toddlers.

Children's Mental Health Awareness Day Event
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day will host the 2012 Awareness Day national event on May 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Washington, DC. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets for this free event. If you don't live near Washington, DC, you can watch the live webcast of the event at www.samhsa.gov/children.

New Briefs from the National Center for Children in Poverty
The National Center for Children in Poverty has released two new briefs: Paid Family Leave: Strengthening Families and Our Future looks at the effects of maternal employment and parental leave policies on children’s health and development. Comprehensive Obesity Prevention in Early Childhood: Promising Federal and State Initiatives presents a range of early childhood obesity prevention initiatives to inform states of ways they can build strong systems to reduce childhood obesity rates.

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