Infant Toddler Mental Health
The Infant and Toddler Mental Health Consultation (ITMHC) Project has been made possible through an expansion of funding for the Infant and Toddler Network, by the NYS Office for Children and Family Services. While the NYS ITMHC project recognizes and provides the full spectrum of services under the scope of mental health consultation, our consultants focus primarily on program and provider-level consultation.
ECLC, along side of Docs for Tots, NY Center for Child Development, and the NYS Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, collaborate to support a state-wide model of quality infant toddler mental health consultation, that strives to:
- Improve children’s social and emotional functioning;
- Reduce challenging behaviors;
- Impact the prevalence of suspensions and expulsions of children of color.
What makes this project unique is an intentional focus on service to infant and toddler caregivers, providing care to children up to 36 months of age. This is not therapy or a direct service to the child, but rather an intervention with adult caregivers to improve the environment to better support the children it serves.
Contact Carly Belmonte for more information.
What is Infant & Toddler Mental Health?
Because, in the United States, we tend to use the word “mental health” and “mental illness” synonymously, we recognize that hearing the words “infant”, “toddler”, and “mental health” in the same sentence can seem confusing and daunting, and can even cause some skepticism. Mental health, just like physical health, is a universal experience, and a normative area of childhood development to be nurtured. As such, we value the definition shared by Zero to Three, which states:
We believe that:
- Every child and family is deserving of quality, nurturing childcare by providers who have access to the resources that are needed to allow for a physically and emotionally safe environment.
- “Change occurs within the context of a relationship”, and thus we emphasize the importance of the collaboration between the mental health and child care provider.
- “Early Childhood Mental Health is not the absence of mental illness, but rather the presence of a feeling of safety and emotional security, comfort in connecting with trusted others, confidence in one’s developmental trajectory, an expectation that dependency needs will be met, and an assumption of one’s right to move, explore, and communicate.” (WestEd (2019). Program for Infant Toddler Care)
We are guided by the follow practice-based principles for mental health consultation, as identified by the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD):
How to access:
Services are typically provided at the request of a home- or center-based childcare’s provider or teacher. For more about your regional ITMHC project and consultants, reach out to your local CCR&R:
Megin Insalaco Child Care Council, Inc., ITMH Consultant firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Piccone Child Care Council, Inc., ITMH Consultant email@example.com
Marilyn Cristofaro Chemung Child Care Council, Inc., ITMH Consultant firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally Espinosa Child Care Council, Inc., ITMH Consultant email@example.com
Duquinha Thompson Child Care Solutions, ITMH Coordinator and Consultant firstname.lastname@example.org
Aishah Rudolf Child Care Solutions, ITMH Consultant email@example.com
Cassie Elliot Child Care Solutions, ITMH Consultant firstname.lastname@example.org
Tessa Stacy Family Enrichment Network, ITMH Consultant email@example.com