The multidisciplinary field of infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) is growing across workforce sectors. The demand for IECMH services is increasing thanks to many systems building, policy, and practice efforts, but we continue to face significant challenges of clinical workforce capacity and are facing a growing IECMH clinical workforce crisis.
In 2020, ZERO TO THREE brought stakeholders throughout the U.S. together to explore the barriers and opportunities related to increasing the size, diversity, quality, and accessibility of the IECMH clinical workforce. With the help of consultants from XPLANE, a series of interviews, focus groups, and facilitated work sessions with more than 40 stakeholders yielded a visual map of the myriad pathways of influence and opportunity related to this issue.
Our nation is facing a critical IECMH clinical workforce challenge, which demands complex and innovative solutions. This document is intended to serve as a starting point for discussions about the complex issue of IECMH clinical workforce development.
IECMH Clinical Workforce Solution Pathways lays out four guiding principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion; mentorship; well-being of the workforce; and relationship-based practice. It further highlights four areas of opportunity:
- Awareness and Alignment
- Clinical Preparation & Ongoing Education
- Career & Workforce
- Growth and Sustainability