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Policy Statement

Healthy social and emotional development position children to learn, to develop positive relationships and to be successful.

Download the ECCP® Policy Document »

What do all young children ages birth to five require for healthy social emotional development?

  • Predictable and responsive caregivers
  • Safe and consistent environments
  • Healthy relationships / attachments
  • Basic needs are met (food, shelter, medical, etc.)
  • Parental supports
  • Quality childcare

What does it look like when children do not have opportunities to have these needs met?

  • Highly reactive – unable to regulate emotions
  • Low responsiveness
  • Challenging behaviors
  • Poor attachments or connections to caregivers
  • Poor social skills and poor peer relations
  • Difficulty with focus, attention, initiative-learning problems
  • Medical manifestations

Why birth through age five?

  • Brain research tells us about the impact the environment and relationships have on the developing brain and that birth to three is a critical time where pathways are set to later impact development, learning and successes.
  • Adverse life experiences have significant impacts upon the development of young children. Effectively preventing or addressing these in the early years, can divert or mitigate experiences toxic to a child’s development.
  • Fewer resources are needed earlier in a child’s life with proportionately greater outcomes.
  • When opportunities are made available that provide a ‘level playing field’ for all children, these can mitigate toxic stressors and set children on a trajectory toward success.

What are some of the barriers?

  • Public understanding of early childhood mental health is often limited to visualizing a child with a chemical imbalance or a child who experiences poor parenting. It is more effective to consider “leveling the playing field” so all children have opportunities to develop emotionally, socially and academically.
  • Few available resources to effectively address the mental health needs of young children.
  • The importance of quality childcare environments and healthy caregiver relationships are underrepresented. Quality early care and education opportunities are limited by a lack of resources and a workforce with limited supports.

What can Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation do?

  • Cost-effective way to “even the playing field” for all young children by serving early care and education environments.
  • Effectively reaches children in their natural family and community environments and extends the reach of services by creating partnerships among and between the caregivers in the child’s life.
  • Facilitates screening of many children and provides services to larger groups indirectly by building caregiver and family capacity.
  • Children identified with higher needs are offered targeted strategies and can be referred to more intensive services when indicated.
  • Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation is a critical component within the ‘continuum of care’ necessary to meet the needs of young children birth through age 5.