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Michigan Advances Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment

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This article summarizes key themes from Michigan’s role in a convening of states and jurisdictions centered around improving state policies supporting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.

Cover of publicationChildren’s earliest experiences impact their brain formation and in turn, their social and emotional, physical, cognitive, communication, and sensory and motor skills development. Recognizing the tremendous opportunities and risks associated with this critical time, states are increasingly investing in promoting infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH), defined as the capacity of a child from birth to age five to experience, express and regulate emotions; form close, secure interpersonal relationships; and explore his/her environment and learn, all within the context of family and cultural expectations. ZERO TO THREE released two papers in 2018 and 2019 highlighting strategies states are employing to support children’s IECMH. Highlights from Michigan include:

  • In a section focused on developing and disseminating resources to help providers use the DC:0-5™ (a diagnostic classification of mental health and developmental disorders of infancy and early childhood published by ZERO TO THREE) for eligibility determination, treatment planning, and billing purposes, Michigan is highlighted. Michigan’s Mental health Code requires the use of the most recent DSM published by the American Psychiatric Association and approved by the department, but the state has long supported use of the DC:0-3R (now DC:0-5). The state mental health agency provides a state-specific crosswalk to the DC:0-3R, as well as related training to encourage providers to use this tool.
  • In a section focused on including DC:0-5 in cross-sector IECMH workforce development, Michigan’s work is highlighted. Michigan had previously invested in training mental health clinicians in DC:0-3R. With the release of DC:0-5, Michigan is again investing in professional development, using federal Mental Health Block grant funds, to ensure that mental health clinicians working with young children are using age-appropriate diagnostic tools. Webinar series are held throughout the state to teach clinicians how to use DC:0-5, as well as how to use a crosswalk to DSM diagnosis, to allow for reimbursement.

Learn more about how Michigan and other states are promoting IECMH in Advancing Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: The Integration of DC:0–5™ Into State Policy and Systems and Exploring State Strategies for Financing Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment.


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