Program History

Before the implementation of the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP®) program, there were a number of key early childhood stakeholders in Connecticut that championed the need for effective mental health supports for young children. They understood the importance of reaching children early and of ensuring the involvement of caregivers in their services. They also believed that by providing caregivers needed support, the impact would reach well beyond each individual child. They advocated for the development of an early childhood mental health consultation system.

The need for such a system was further highlighted in an important study conducted by Dr. Walter Gilliam of Yale University Child Study, noting the high suspension expulsion rates of children in early care and education settings throughout the United States1. Dr. Gilliam’s work gained national attention and precipitated the need for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation by speaking to the implications that mental health consultation can have in reducing the suspension/expulsion rates by providing supportive services to caregivers.

Together through the dedication and advocacy of Connecticut’s Early Childhood champions and through Dr. Gilliam’s research, ECCP® had a platform. Advanced Behavioral Health, Inc. moved early childhood mental health consultation from concept to implementation through the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP®).

A review of the ECCP® program history provides an important context for the program’s development and progress. It also demonstrates that such a program cannot successfully move from concept to implementation in isolation.

2001

  • The State of Connecticut’s Community Mental Health Strategy Board is established to look at service gaps related to mental health in both the adult and child mental health systems. Recommendations are made for 10 initiatives to be funded (five adult and five child).

2002

  • In the spring, Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families is awarded funding from the Community Mental Health Strategy Board for five early childhood initiatives, including one to develop an early childhood mental health consultation program that would reduce the suspension and expulsion rates of children birth to five in early care and education settings.
  • In May, Advanced Behavioral Health Inc. (ABH), a private, non-profit, behavioral health care company, responds to the Department of Children and Families' Request for Proposal (RFP) entitled Early Childhood Behavioral Health Services: Mental Health Consultation to Childcare. ABH’s application outlines a statewide, data-driven system called the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP®). ABH® wins this RFP through a competitive process.
  • In October, ABH® develops and implements a statewide pilot program called the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP®). ECCP® is built upon the research and experience in the field; of particular relevance is the work of Knitzer (2000 and 2001) and Wishman et. al. (2001)2. The program focuses on three levels of care: Child-Specific, Classroom-Based and Intensive Center.
  • Funding for this first year (until September 30, 2003) is provided by the State of Connecticut’s Community Mental Health Strategy Board through the Department of Children and Families. During this time the University of Connecticut conducted a process evaluation of the ECCP® program implementation and early operations.

2003

  • The ECCP® is funded by the State of Connecticut’s Community Mental Health Strategy Board through the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI) until June 30, 2004.
  • During this period, the ECCP® program adds the DCF child component to the existing ECCP® services provided. This component is designed to support children in their foster care placement and by doing so, reduce placement disruption.

2004

  • ABH® is awarded bridge dollars to sustain the ECCP® program for July and August of 2004, through a grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation (CHF). The funding dollars afforded through this grant enable the ECCP® program to offer uninterrupted services until DCF’s funding becomes available in September.
  • In September 2004 (through June 2005), DCF commits longer-term funding dollars to sustain the ECCP® program. At this time, DCF also enters into a two-year Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the State Department of Education (SDE) to provide funding for another component of the ECCP® program, focused on children with special needs. These services are designed to support children who have an IEP, attend a community-based center, and have social emotional needs.
  • The Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI) funds a rigorous random-controlled evaluation of the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership, the first rigorous study of its kind in the nation. The evaluation is conducted by Walter S. Gilliam, PhD Assistant Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine.

2005

  • From July 2005 through June 2006, ECCP® is primarily funded by DCF.
  • ECCP® enters the second year of the Yale Evaluation.

2006

  • The ECCP® randomized control group study conducted by Walter Gilliam of Yale Child Study is completed.
  • In June 2006 (through July 2007), ECCP® funding is expanded. DCF provides funding for the ECCP® expansion.
  • ECCP® develops and implements an in-home component available to all intensive child cases.
  • In addition, ECCP® lengthens the services provided on all three service levels and enhances the director component with a focus on enhancing behavior policies in early childhood care settings.

2007

  • From July 2007 through June 2008, ECCP® maintains the program expansion size and further solidifies the in-home and director policy components.
  • Walter Gilliam of Yale Child Study is contracted by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), through a competitive application process, to begin another program evaluation.
  • The State Department of Education (SDE) develops an MOA with DCF for ECCP® to develop and implement a consultation model where a Behavioral Health Team (BHT) is created as an internal resource that builds ongoing capacity at the center level. The service is named ECBC and is managed under the ECCP® program.
  • Solid Ground: A Resource for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation is published. This resource is intended to support workforce development related to Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants; and to help early childhood stakeholders understand: 1) the key elements in developing and implementing an early childhood mental health consultation program; and 2) the importance of a data-driven system in implementing and monitoring a quality program that remains consistent across large geographic areas.

2008

  • From 2008 through 2010, Walter Gilliam of Yale Child Study conducts two random control studies on the pre-k and infant toddler ECCP® services. Preliminary results are promising for significant and meaningful impact.

2011

  • In June, the State Department of Education (SDE) MOA with DCF for ECCP®’s ECBC program is scheduled to end. ECCP®/DCF fully incorporates the ECBC model into ECCP® as one of ECCP®’s three levels of care, the Intensive Site service.
  • ECCP® launches Tips for Tots, 1-page informational resource for early care and education providers. Several series are developed: The Classroom Environment; Supporting Young Children; and DCF Series: Young Children in Foster Care.

2012

2013

  • ECCP® is invited to become a member of the RAINE group – Advancing Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Practice, Policy and Research.
  • The Southwest Human Development Center of Phoenix, Arizona hosts the annual Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) Summit. ECMHC leaders from across the country are invited to meet in Arizona to share about the most recent advancements in the field of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. Representatives from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Michigan and Washington DC, are present. The goal of the summit is to further the field of ECMHC and to solidify future directions in best practices.

2014

  • The ECCP® website is launched.
  • ECCP® is invited to participate in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Experts Meeting on Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC). SAMHSA has selected the ECCP leadership as one of 12 national experts to engage in a consensus-building process and to dialogue with federal leaders about the state of the field and key policy recommendations.
  • In September, ECCP Replication-Demonstration Project;  Nassau County New York.
  • In October, Launch Grant New Haven- Awarded.  ECCP particpated in the Elm City Launch where the focus is upon child mental health-early detection and timely treatment andy systems collaboration.  ECCP will provide a demonstration project extending ECCP services through grade 3 in the New Haven area.

2015

  • ECCP Director Elizabeth Bicio, selected member of the expert group for national Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation.  The Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Training and Technical Assistance is managed through a contract between the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Education Developmental Center, Inc. (EDC).  EDC works in partnership with Georgetown UniversityCenter for Child and Human Development in this work.  SAMHSA, for its part, is closely collaborating with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Agency for Chilren and Families (ACF).
  • In July, Connecticut's Office of Early Childhood-National Preschool Expansion Grant Includes ECCP to increase ECCP capacity by serveral ECCP Consultants to service a focused client of School Readiness Classrooms in selected towns in CT.
  • August, Connecticut's Technical Assistance Provider Core Knowledge and Competency Framework Committee.

2016

   

1 Walter, Gilliam, S., Ph.D (2005). Pre kindergartners Left Behind: Expulsion Rates in State Pre kindergarten Systems.

2 Knitzer, Jane (2000). Using Mental Health Strategies to Move the Early Childhood Agenda and Promote School Readiness. National Center for Children in Poverty.
Knitzer, Jane (2001). Learning from Starting Points: Findings from the Starting Points Assessment Project. National Center for Children in Poverty.
Wishman, Amy, Kates, Donald, and Kaufmann, Roxanne (2001). Funding Early Childhood Mental Health Services & Supports. Georgetown University Child Development Center for Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), SAMHSA.