This article summarizes key themes from Tennessee’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.
Children’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 Tennessee include:
- In a section focused on increasing the number of IECMH providers with the support of IECMH associations and credentials, Tennessee’s work is described. Tennessee’s efforts are focused on increasing the number of professionals knowledgeable about infant mental health. They had more than 200 applicants for Infant Mental Health Endorsement® in the first six months, representing a broad range of sectors and disciplines across the IECMH workforce.
- In a section focused on building capacity for reflective supervision, Tennessee’s development of a system for regional reflective supervision is highlighted. Currently more than 40 supervisors from home visiting programs are participating in regional reflective supervision groups across the state.
Learn more about how Tennessee 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.
Tennessee is one of twenty states and jurisdictions participating in ZERO TO THREE’s IECMH Financing Policy Project that supports states in improving IECMH policy and practice, with a focus on financing.