Exciting efforts by multiple organizations in Alabama are helping to raise awareness and capacity in the field of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH).
Exciting efforts by multiple organizations in Alabama are helping to raise awareness and capacity in the field of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH). Some of the most recent developments in the state include:
- Because of Alabama Project LAUNCH, the first two full-time IECMH Consultants for the state have been working with early childhood providers and a pediatric practice in one county. Replication of this model is being developed.
- The newly formed Alabama Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, First 5 Alabama, is building capacity across the state and supporting professionals in earning the Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health®. Membership swelled to over 300 in 2018.
- As of October 2018, independent mental health providers in Alabama are eligible to become Medicaid providers under their own license. Prior to this change, providers were required to work under a psychiatrist/MD who was a Medicaid provider. The state is hopeful that this will increase the number of providers who are available for children birth – 5 years old.
- A full-time State IECMH Coordinator position was formed in March 2017 as a result of a partnership between the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education and the Alabama Department of Mental Health (through Project LAUNCH). The Coordinator will lead efforts to improve the Alabama Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health system of care, including enhancing workforce development and seeking out future funding opportunities.
Looking forward, the state received grant funding in 2018, and as a result, will be hiring 5 additional IECMH Consultants as well as sustaining one of the Project LAUNCH consultants. These consultants will provide support solely for childcare providers across the state. There is also a budget proposal within ADMH which, if approved, will provide an additional six IECMH consultants in 2020. These consultants will provide support to early intervention programs throughout the state as well as to other early childhood providers and pediatric practices as needed.