Policy Resource

Illinois Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant Project

Oct 9, 2017

The Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Project at the Illinois Children's Mental Health Partnership (ICMHP) seeks to enhance the awareness of the mental health needs of young children and their families, enable stable and continued enrollment of children with social/emotional challenges in child care settings from birth to 7 years old, and strengthen the capacity of individual agencies to address the needs of young children.

Since 2008, the project has funded mental health consultants (MHCs) who provide training, infant and early childhood mental health consultation, and referrals to enhance the capacity of mental health providers, child care providers and home visitors. Initially, the MHCs were employed by just a select number of local mental health providers, Healthy Families Illinois, or social service agencies at various project sites across the state that were identified as ready to support this service. Now, consultation is available throughout the state.

Since 2012, the federally funded Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Project, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, has included mental health consultation to thirteen Illinois communities. In addition to these 13 communities, infant and early childhood mental health consultation is offered to 41 other home visiting programs through a depression prevention curriculum training, and consultation to support that work. In 2013, the ICMHP released a report, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation to Home Visiting Programs Model, which provides a review of the stages of program development, role descriptions and lessons learned.

Updated May 2020

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