In recognition of families’ multiple stressors, Louisiana created a training course in infant mental health that is offered to all Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting home visitors. The course is also offered to community partners from Early Intervention and Department of Family Services.
Early on, the Louisiana Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program leaders recognized that their clients were likely to have a number of stressors, including maternal and infant mental health issues, which could interfere with parenting and the parent-child relationship.
Unfortunately, there were few mental health services for children younger than 5 years old or pregnant women. As a result, a 33-hour training in infant mental health (Foundational Infant Mental Health training) is now offered to all MIECHV home visitors and is also available to community partners from Early Intervention and Department of Family Services. In addition, state administrators added a half-time licensed mental health professional to each home visiting team of up to 8 people. There are currently 12 licensed mental health clinicians that support 19 teams in the state. The mental health specialists provide direct services to clients, and they also provide education, support, and guidance to the home visitors. Working hand-in-hand, the infant mental health specialist and home visitor are now better able to meet the mental health needs of very young children and their parents who are served by home-visiting programs. The program serves approximately 3,900 families annually.
Learn more about Louisiana and how other states are using MIECHV funds to strengthen their early childhood systems in ZERO TO THREE’s paper, The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program: Smart Investments Build Strong Systems for Young Children.
Updated November 2019