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New Jersey Advances Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Policy, Practice, and Workforce Development

New Jersey was one of ten states that participated in a three-year infant and early childhood mental health (I-ECMH) learning community facilitated by the National Center on Children in Poverty, ZERO TO THREE, and the BUILD Initiative, and funded by the Alliance for Early Success.

During the August 2015 closing session of the learning community, participants from New Jersey shared their accomplishments. Highlights include:

  • In 2013, New Jersey completed the process to bring the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health Endorsement® system to the state. Since its inception in January 2014, over 60 professionals have received the New Jersey Infant Mental Health Endorsement (IMH-E®).
  • The Keeping Babies and Children in Mind (KBCM) training was developed by Montclair State University-Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health to help professionals address I-ECMH in their work with infants, children from birth through age eight, and their families. This free training series reached over 1,850 individuals in the 10-county impact area. KBCM also provided 24 hours of reflective supervision to over 100 professionals throughout the 10 counties. KBCM has now become a foundational training for early childhood professionals across the state and is continuing with funds from New Jerseys Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant (RTT-ELC).
  • New Jersey brought the CSEFEL (Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning) Pyramid Model to the state. A Master Cadre of 12 individuals completed training in 2015 and an implementation pilot began soon after.
  • New Jersey implemented Project LAUNCH activities at the state level and in Essex County.
  • New Jersey’s centralized intake system, developed by the Department of Children and Families in collaboration with the Department of Health, has now expanded to all 21 counties and extends beyond home visiting to focus on broader early childhood services. This work at the local level includes early screening and assessment using the Perinatal Risk Assessment and appropriate referral as needed. Central intake sites have an information system to support collecting and tracking data. State partners are providing technical support to strengthen local linkages and continuous quality improvement.
  • New Jersey brought other models to the state (e.g. Incredible Years and Circle of Security) to look at how they can be part of a continuum of strategies to support I-ECMH and how they intersect with the CSEFEL Pyramid Model.


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