Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) helps promote healthy social-emotional growth in young children by bolstering skills and knowledge among the adults in their lives. Consultants work with early childhood professionals in a variety of settings, including home visiting, to build their capacity to respond to families’ mental health concerns and nurture parent-child relationships. Many consultants are mental health professionals with master’s degrees in related specialties and/or state-required credentials.
This brief spotlights three states’ efforts to implement IECMHC in home visiting programs:
It also highlights two local projects, the Kent County Nurse-Family Partnership and Children’s Wisconsin Home Visiting Programs.
Our summaries reveal several shared features among innovative efforts. For example, IECMHC typically includes a reflective supervision component that helps home visiting professionals pause and reflect on their work and its unique circumstances.* Consultants generally do not meet with families, although they may observe home visits as requested to weigh in on specific situations or facilitate a warm hand-off to services.
Notably, there is no go-to funding source to bring IECMHC into home visiting. Programs can leverage federal funding sources, however, to offset costs. We highlight these sources, along with several other options for programs that meet additional criteria.
*See the full brief for citations.
Suggested citation: Miles, E. M., Bose, S., & Atukpawu-Tipton, G. (2023). Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in home visiting. National Home Visiting Resource Center Innovation Roundup Brief. James Bell Associates and Urban Institute. https://nhvrc.org/brief/infant-early-childhood-mental-health-consultation/
Acknowledgments: Thank you to Mary Mackrain and Linda Delimata for shaping our team’s questions and understanding. Thank you to Delreen Schmidt-Lenz, Terri Enters, Kate Rood, Emily Skavnak, Kara Singleton, Kristin Kopcha, and Kevin O’Brien for sharing information about their home visiting programs. Thank you to Heather Sandstrom, Allison Meisch, Joelle Ruben, and Jill Filene for shaping and editing the brief, and to Kristine Neurauter for providing formatting support.