This past year has brought the topic of mental health, especially for young children, front and center.
What is Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation?
It’s a collaboration between a professional consultant with early childhood mental health expertise and one or more caregivers, typically an early care and education provider and/or family member. In a family child care setting a mental health consultation aims to improve the ability of the provider and staff to prevent, identify, treat and reduce the impact of mental health problems among all children from birth to age 8 in their program or for a specific child. The child’s family is also supported in this consultation model.
There has been ongoing work in Maine to find ways to support young children in their social and emotional growth. We now have the Maine Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) which is funded and managed by the State of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services. With ECCP Masters level consultants work with child care providers/directors, principals, teachers, and parents to identify strengths and find strategies which will promote positive outcomes for young children.
Maine Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP) is now providing support, education, and consultation services at no cost in the following counties:
The service level is based on the needs of the individual child or program seeking the service. ECCP is not therapy. Services may last for 14 weeks for classroom/program service. For the child-specific service it lasts about 10 hours over 6 weeks and provides a brief behavioral screening of the child. ECCP then provides ideas/strategies on what might help the adults and the child. If needed, ECCP can help families get any additional resources that may be needed or helpful.
If you have a child who may be experiencing anxiety, behavioral challenges, poor social skills, or is at risk of suspension or expulsion from your childcare setting you may want to reach out and complete a referral to ECCP. It’s important to know that this service isn’t just for behavioral concerns. A child may also be experiencing a stressful event such as the birth of a sibling, parental separation, loss of a family member, or a community stressor such as a storm, flood, etc. Consultation topics may also cover such areas as: creating a positive classroom/program culture, or building effective partnerships with families.
Who Can Make a Referral?
Referral for the Core Classroom services is made by the provider. Referral for the child-specific service can be made by parents, and/or provider. ECCP is completely voluntary, which can begin and end if you wish. The child’s parents must provide consent for any child-specific service to happen.
For more information or to make a referral contact:
Amy Beaulieu, LCSWMaine / ECCP® Program Manager / Office of Child & Family Services / 2 Anthony Avenue / 11 State House Station / Augusta, ME 04333 / firstname.lastname@example.org / Ph: (207) 624-7900 / Toll free: 1-877-680-5866
A 1-1/2 hr informational webinar recorded on February 1, 2021 for childcare providers, early childhood educators, and other interested community members describing the Maine ECCP® program and services to be offered can be viewed on YouTube