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Consultation Services at the Center for Early Relationship Support: Supporting early relational health for all children

Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) is a culturally sensitive, trauma informed prevention-based service that pairs a mental health consultant with early childhood caregivers to help them better support the healthy social and emotional development of children. IECMHC takes place in the different settings where young children learn and grow, such as home and center-based childcare, preschool, and in the home. The primary aim of consultation is to build the caregiving adult’s capacity to address children’s social and emotional needs, focusing on health promotion and early prevention before intervention is needed.  

IECMHC has been shown to reduce children’s challenging behaviors, lower the number of suspensions and expulsions from early care and preschool, and improve children’s social skills and emotional functioning. Consultation also reduces childcare provider stress, burnout and turnover, promotes healthy caregiver and peer relationships, and improves overall classroom quality. IECMH consultants are highly trained professionals with specialized knowledge in childhood development, the effects of stress and trauma on families, and the impact of mental health challenges on developing children.

Social and emotional health in early childhood—the ability for young children to form strong relationships, solve problems, and express and manage emotions—is critical for school readiness and lifelong success.

Consultation Services

Consultation in the Classroom

  • Collaborate with teacher teams for regular classroom observation, assessment and planning around specific needs of children, teachers and classrooms.

Consultation to Teachers

  • Partner with teachers in reflective practice to explore together the needs, experiences and perspectives of children, families and teachers.
  • Partner with teachers to provide another set of eyes on an individual child’s interactions, behaviors and activities.
  • Provide support for teachers’ emotional wellbeing, including mental health resource referrals for teachers.
  • Facilitate learning opportunities for teachers in various emotional wellness and social/emotional development topics including Circle of Security-Classroom (COS-C).

Program Consultation

  • Meet regularly with Center Leadership with a focus on shared goals, open communication and team building.
  • Participate in monthly classroom meetings, as members of the center’s multidisciplinary team to support children, families and teachers.
  • Facilitate trainings for center management and leadership teams, including Circle of Security and Reflective Supervision.

Parent Consultation

  • Meet regularly with Center Leadership with a focus on shared goals, open communication and team building.
  • Participate in monthly classroom meetings, as members of the center’s multidisciplinary team to support children, families and teachers.
  • Facilitate trainings for center management and leadership teams, including Circle of Security and Reflective Supervision.

IECMHC in Action

 

Who We Serve

The IECMHC Team at CERS engages in consultation services with early education and care partners throughout Greater Boston, including:

The History of IECMHC at CERS

The Center of Early Relationship Support was created in 1989 to support the relationships between mothers and babies. For the next 20 years, CERS developed expertise in supporting parents, and providing training to the professionals who work with them. In 2006 CERS formed a partnership with Horizons for Homeless Children to translate this expertise to support the relationships of professional caregivers (teachers) and the children in their care (students).

Our Impact

Currently, the Center for Early Relationship Support IECMHC team provides direct Infant/Early Childhood Consultation Services to:

  • 223 Children
  • 76 Teachers
  • 17 Supervisory Staff

Through consultation to leadership in early education and care centers, the IECMHC team impacts systems of care serving a total of:

  • 392 families

Sample Trainings Offered by the IECMHC Team

The CERS IECMHC team offers groups and training opportunities for teachers, staff and parents, with topics that include:

  • Circle of Security Classroom (COS-C)
  • Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P)
  • Reflective Supervision
  • Parent Mental Health
  • Additional Trainings Developed and Delivered as Needed

IECMHC Training Program

The Center for Early Relationship Support (CERS) is offering a free comprehensive training program in Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) for providers of color. The goal of the IECMHC Training Program, funded by the Workforce Expansion Project, is to increase the numbers of Black, Indigenous, People of Color and bilingual providers in the IECMH consultation field, and highlight the strengths, capacities and experiences of members of underrepresented groups.  

For more information about the training program, and for a link to the program application, please visit the IECMHC Training Program webpage.

COVID-19 Accommodations

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the IECMHC team has continued to offer consultation, training and support services to early education centers through teleconferencing.  When children, teachers or ancillary service staff are unable to be present in classrooms, consultants stay connected and continue to support the social and emotional needs of children, their caregivers and teachers. Remote services include teacher and classroom consultation, classroom meetings, teacher support groups, teacher and staff training, and resource referrals for services including family support, basic needs and mental health.

Contact Us

To learn more about IECMHC at CERS, and explore consultation services for your early childhood education center, please contact Terri Chebot, IECMHC Coordinator, at iecmhconsultation@jfcsboston.org.  

Sources

A comprehensive synthesis of research evidence for IECMH consultation from Georgetown University’s Center of Excellence for Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
The Center of Excellence for Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation’s accompanying annotated bibliography.  

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781-647-JFCS (5327)
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1430 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02451
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