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“Needed Now More Than Ever:” Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in an Unprecedented Time

Jun 7, 2021

Jenny Afkinich, Jenny Torres, Laura Latta, Kate Sweeney Wasserman, Katherine Endy, and Margo Candelaria, Institute for Innovation and Implementation University of Maryland, Baltimore

Abstract

Maryland’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) program has pivoted to respond to the complex and changing needs of early childhood education providers and the families they serve during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consultants have innovatively adapted and increased outreach, support services, classroom and child observation, and consultation. The Parent, Infant, & Early Childhood team at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work’s Institute for Innovation and Implementation conducted focus groups with consultants, IECMHC program directors, and state partners. This article presents three primary themes resulting from the focus groups: working remotely, focusing on equity, and the importance of IECMHC services.

We need to make sure we’re … responding to teachers’ and families’ and children’s needs. But also at the same time, focusing on prevention. That’s where we’re focused in infant early childhood mental health. We’re working with the families as soon as we can. —State partner

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