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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.

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):

  • 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, ITMH Coordinator & Consultant   

Rebecca Reed         Chautauqua Opportunities, ITMH Consultant

Josie Virkus              ACCORD,        ITMH Consultant

Jameelah Masaed           Community Child Care Clearinghouse of Niagara,      ITMH Consultant

Region 2

Megin Insalaco          Child Care Council, Inc., ITMH Consultant

Andrea Piccone         Child Care Council, Inc., ITMH Consultant

Marilyn Cristofaro         Chemung Child Care Council, Inc., ITMH Consultant

Sally Espinosa         Child Care Council, Inc., ITMH Consultant 

Steven Tedone          ProAction of Steuben and Schuyler, ITMH Consultant/Specialist 

Mirandia Pipher         Child & Family Resource, Inc., ITMH Consultant

Lyndsay Zastawny         Pro Action of Steuben and Yates, Inc.,

Region 3

Duquinha Thompson         Child Care Solutions, ITMH Coordinator and Consultant

Aishah Rudolph         Child Care Solutions, ITMH Consultant

Cassie Elliot         Child Care Solutions, ITMH Consultant

Tessa Stacy          Family Enrichment Network, ITMH Consultant

Casey Mine           Child Care Solutions, Intern

Emily Carlson           Child Care Solutions      

Region 4

Barbara Mitchell         Brightside Up, ITMH Consultant

Amelia Green             Brightside Up, ITMH Consultant

Region 5

Amy Eng         Chinese-American Planning Council, ITMHC Consultant

Chanel Rigby         Child Development Support Corporation, ITMH Health Consultant

Marilyn Monroy         Committee for Hispanic Children & Families, ITMH Consultant

Natalie Rosario          Day Care Council, ITMH Consultant

Region 6

Susan Panarella         Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc., ITMH Consultant

Shandrika Potts-Mills        Child Care Council of Orange County, Inc., ITMH Consultant

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 Co.

Region 7

Kristina Lacov           Child Care Council of Suffolk, ITMH Consultant