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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.


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):

  • Relationship-based
  • Collaborative
  • Individualized
  • Culturally and linguistically responsive
  • Grounded in developmental knowledge
  • Evidence-informed
  • Data-driven
  • Delivered in natural settings
  • Spans the continuum from promotion through intervention
  • Integrated with community supports

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:

Region 1

Sheila Tumiel           Child Care Resource Network   

Rebecca Reed         Chautauqua Opportunities 

Josie Virkus              ACCORD

Jameelah Masaed           Community Child Care Clearinghouse of Niagara

Amelia O Connor           Child Care Resource Network   

Region 2

Megin Insalaco          Child Care Council, Inc.

Andrea Piccone         Child Care Council, Inc.

Marilyn Cristofaro         Chemung Child Care Council, Inc.

Sally Espinosa         Child Care Council, Inc. 

Mirandia Pipher         Child & Family Resource, Inc.

Lyndsay Zastawny         Pro Action of Steuben and Yates, Inc.

Amanda Chapman          Child Care Council  

Region 3

Duquinha Thompson         Child Care Solutions

Cassie Elliot          Child Care Solutions

Tessa Stacy          Family Enrichment Network 

Emily Carlson           Child Care Solutions      

Region 4

Barbara Mitchell         Brightside Up, Inc.

Amelia Green             Brightside Up, Inc. 

Rebecca Delgiudice          Brightside Up, Inc.

Susannah Burgess         Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country  

Alana Jefferson (*serving regions 4 and 6)          Family of Woodstock 

Kimberly Polstein          Brightside Up, Inc.

Region 5

Amy Eng         Chinese-American Planning Council

Chanel Rigby         Child Development Support Corporation

Carin Leiva              Committee for Hispanic Children and Families

Natalie Rosario          Day Care Council

Region 6

Susan Panarella         Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc.

Alana Jefferson (*serving regions 4 and 6)        Family of Woodstock

Marisa Ix-D'Amato           Sullivan County Child Care Council, Inc.  

Cyndie Hackett                Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam, Inc 

Simone Smith                 Child Care Council of Rockland, Inc. 

Tara Marie Mullen             Child Care Council of Orange County, Inc.  

Region 7

Kristina Lacov           Child Care Council of Suffolk

Kimberly Hughes           Child Care Council of Nassau