Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation 

Since 2021, Healthy Child Care Colorado has served as Colorado’s Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Network Hub. We work on the local, state, and national levels to strengthen awareness and support for this unique and critical role. 

What is Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation? 

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) is a prevention-based approach that pairs a mental health consultant with adults who work with infants and young children in the different settings where they learn and grow, such as child care, preschool, home visiting, early intervention and their home.

Mental health consultation is not about “fixing kids.” Nor is it therapy. Mental health consultation equips caregivers to facilitate children’s healthy social and emotional development. 

ECMHC has been shown to:

  • Improve children’s social skills and emotional functioning
  • Promote healthy relationships
  • Reduce challenging behaviors
  • Reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions
  • Improve classroom quality
  • Reduce provider stress, burnout, and turnover 

What do Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants do? 

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants (ECMHCs) develop relationships with the adults and caregivers in young children’s lives to build adults’ capacity and skills to strengthen and support the healthy social and emotional development of children. 

  • Work to support strong relationships and supportive environments for children 
  • Focus on building the capacity of the adults in children’s lives to understand young children’s social-emotional development 
  • Are highly trained licensed or license-eligible professionals with specialized knowledge in childhood development, the effects of stress and trauma on families, the importance of attachment for young children, and the impacts of adult mental health on developing children 
  • Use a strengths-based approach and consider all levels of influence to support young children and their caregivers 

History

The ECMHC Network Hub is being built upon a strong foundation of work done throughout our state and nationally. If you are interested in learning more, please look at these resources. 

 

ECMHC Network Hub

The ECMHC Network Hub has been developed in partnership with the Colorado Department of Early Childhood, philanthropic partners, as well as an Advisory Team. We co-created the ECMHC Network Hub by utilizing existing resources, collecting input from the field, and by collaborating with the Advisory Team to develop key elements. The ECMHC Network Hub Foundations serve as our guiding document and includes our purpose, DEI commitment, guiding principles, desired outcomes, and core functions.  

State Leadership Team Named for ECMHC Network Hub

Healthy Child Care Colorado (HCCC) is launching the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) State Leadership Team (SLT), a collaborative team that includes both implementation and practice as well as policy and systems perspectives from across the state. The State Leadership Team guides and informs the development and execution of the ECMHC Network Hub’s Foundations and Implementation Plan. 

Member
Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations for the leadership team, it is vital that we remain responsive to the needs of the ECMHC workforce, and your engagement is of the utmost importance. We are thrilled to announce our confirmed State Leadership Team members are: 
  • Erica Cervantez, Early Childhood Council San Luis Valley 
  • Heather Craiglow, Colorado Department of Early Childhood 
  • Margaret Davis, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant 
  • Janina E. Fariñas, La Cocina 
  • Jason Gold, Healthy Child Care Colorado 
  • Sierra Hansen, Healthy Child Care Colorado 
  • Ty Johnson, Early Learning Ventures 
  • Kristin Klopfenstein, Colorado Evaluation & Action Labs (CEAL) 
  • Debbie Kunz, Bal Swan Children’s Center 
  • Lorendia Schmidt, Assuring Better Child Health & Development (ABCD) 
  • Jennifer Sommer-Sheppard, Aurora Mental Health Center 
  • Ayelet Talmi, University of Colorado School of Medicine 
  • Felicia Zeeh, Colorado Department of Early Childhood 

 If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Jason Gold.