NYS Infant & Toddler Resource Network
Most of New York’s children will spend some of their formative years in child care outside the home.
The quality of that care will help shape the rest of their lives.
ECLC works with a network of seven Regional Infant Toddler Technical Assistance Centers across New York State. Established in 2002 with funding from the New York State Office of Children and Families Services, the Infant Toddler Technical Assistance Centers are located within host CCR&Rs. A staff of highly trained Infant Toddler Specialists comprise this statewide network, and offer a plethora of valuable resources for parents and child care providers. Included among the services that Centers provide are the following:
- Training and technical assistance to the child care provider community;
- Information on best practices for families and providers;
- Support to the CCR&Rs within the region;
- Support to the NYSOCFS regional office staff;
- Assistance to the community in expanding comprehensive service delivery for infants, toddlers and their families.
Our Infant Toddler Project reaches out to communities, child care providers, and families to promote safe, nurturing environments for the youngest New Yorkers. It emphasizes the high-quality early care that’s essential to a child’s long-term social, emotional, and intellectual development. That, in turn, has a positive ripple effect on schools, businesses, and communities across New York State.
Adverse Childhood Experiences
In the 1990’s, the CDC-Kaiser Permanente conducted a research study to explore the relationship between adversity before the age of 18 and later life health outcomes. To see the original questionnaire, click here. These experiences, known as “ACEs”, or Adverse Childhood Experiences, included:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Physical Neglect
- Emotional Neglect
- Mental Illness
- Experiences of Domestic Violence
- Incarcerated Relative
- Substance Abuse
There were two main take-aways from this study:
- ACEs are common experiences in the lives of our children.
- There is a “dose-response” relationship. Meaning, the more experiences of adversity that a child has, the higher their risk of later life health problems, like diabetes, obesity, smoking, missed work, heart disease, stroke, cancer and/or depression.
The limitations of the original study continue to be explored, however the results continue to be replicated today. It is important to recognize that the scope of adversity that our children and families can and do experience goes well beyond the original 10 ACEs. To learn more about ACE research and the impacts on our developing mind, bodies, and brains, listen to Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’s, “How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across the Lifetime”
Adverse Childhood Experiences are Preventable
Although a higher number of experiences of adversity places children at greater risk for health problems as adults, we must recognize that “risk does not equal destiny”, and with a greater understanding of the science of resilience, there are also ways to reduce the associated risks (Wallace, 2020).
What can individuals do?
Research and practice on resilience and protective factors continue to confirm that safe, consistent, and predictable relationships help to provide a strong buffer against the impacts of early adversity. As adults, we can:
- Change our thoughts and narratives from “what’s wrong with you” to “what happened to you? What was your experience?”
- Recognize that a child’s behavior is their way of communicating. Lets wonder, “what is this behavior trying to tell me”?
- Help children to understand the connection between our thoughts, experiences, and behaviors. Help them to learn words to describe the “big emotions”, and “big feelings”.
- Teach skills and strategies for coping and problem solving.
- If you see something concerning, say something. Connect families to professionals in the community for extra support.
Remember, the ACEs Questionnaire was originally a research tool, and children should not be asked to complete it. The ACE Questionnaire should only be used as an assessment tool to inform interventions by trained medical or mental health professionals. Attending community training or webinars on the ACEs Questionnaire does not constitute the training required to promote the use of the questionnaire in that way.
What can communities do?
The work of preventing or responding to ACEs on an individual level is intertwined with community level responses, as well as intentional themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As stated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,
“By addressing the conditions that give rise to ACEs and simultaneous addressing the needs of children and parents, these strategies take a multi-generation approach to prevent ACEs and ensure safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments (2019)”.
For example, consider “The Pair of ACEs” Tree by The Building Community Resilience Collaborative:
How do communities approach the adverse community environments in order to ultimately reduce the prevalence of ACEs for children and families? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has proposed the following approaches and strategies, described in greater depth in Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm, and Programmatic Activities:
Strengthen economic supports to familes
Change social norms to support parents and positive parenting
Provide quality care and education early in life
Enhance parenting skills to promote healthy child development
Intervene to lessen harms and prevent future risk
Source: Forston, B.L., Klevens, J., Merrick, M.T., Gilbert, L.K., & Alexander, S.P. (2016). Preventing child abuse and neglect: A technical package for policy, norm, and programmatic activities. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To continue to understand this multi-level approach to address and prevent ACEs, visit:
- The Building Community Resilience Collaboration
The Milken Institute school of Public Health at The George Washington University
- Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES): Leveraging the Best Available Evidence
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Trauma-Informed Practice Is a Powerful Tool, But Its Also Incomplete
Goldin & Khasnabis, Education Week
Need Local Support?
New York State Children’s Alliance (NYSCA)- Statewide Map of Child Advocacy Centers
Infant Toddler Mental Health
The Infant Toddler Mental Health Consultation (ITMHC) Project has been made possible through an expansion of funding for the Infant & 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.