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States Advance Infant Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Policy and Practice

The ZERO TO THREE Policy Center recently engaged ten states in a 9-month technical assistance (TA) project to help them improve mental health assessment and treatment of infants and toddlers, with an emphasis on strategies to finance these services.

Each state participated in a cross-state convening, developed action plans, and worked with a TA specialist to advance their specific goals. Despite the relatively brief TA period, participating states made significant progress on their IECMH priorities, such as:

  • Both the North Carolina and Massachusetts teams convened statewide IECMH summits. Massachusetts’ meeting offered in-depth discussion and planning about DC:0-5, workforce development, mental health consultation, and integration of IECMH into primary care. North Carolina’s summit focused on strategizing and aligning efforts in policy, workforce development and DC:0-5 training, and expansion of evidence-based interventions.
  • Louisiana’s team successfully advocated for IECMH to be adopted by the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board as one of four priority areas for the coming year. An interagency workgroup is developing a strategic plan to inform the state’s work.
  • Virginia’s team partnered with Medicaid to improve the use of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit for mental health supports and created a document that includes all current Medicaid reimbursable services available to young children. They also advocated for including IECMH language in a request for proposals for Virginia’s managed care program.
  • Oregon developed a DC:0-5 crosswalk and accompanying guidance documents to assist mental health providers in billing Medicaid for IECMH services. The team disseminated the crosswalk widely through presentations to Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs), early learning collaboratives, clinicians, and state agencies.

Learn more about IECMH policy and how you can support it in your state here.


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