Supporting Children and Their Families
WestEd supports many of the nation’s early childhood intervention, mental health, and inclusion services by working closely with education entities such as home visiting programs, Head Start/Early Head Start, and special education programs.
We contribute to the professional growth of qualified experts who serve young children with disabilities and their families by working with agencies to promote social–emotional development and implement positive behavioral supports.
Bridging Research and Practice
Our extensive experience in providing services for children and their families includes successfully working at all levels—federal, state, and local—to bridge research and practice and implement strategies that will:
- Support the inclusion of children with disabilities and exceptional needs in home and early learning and care settings
- Address infant, family, and early childhood mental health
- Improve developmental screening
- Develop plans to address current barriers and improve systems of care for developmental, behavioral, and trauma screening and referral
- Facilitate the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development of young children by increasing the understanding and use of strategies that address toxic stress and improve resilience
Working in applied, dynamic community settings and emphasizing the engagement of diverse perspectives throughout our work, we strive to ensure excellence for young learners and their families through the intersection of anti-bias, inclusive, equity-driven research, programs, and policies. In collaboration with practitioners, we evaluate existing systems, identify gaps, and determine needs. Subsequently, we use resulting data to inform sustainability planning and qualitative and quantitative evaluation measures that assess program impact. This includes evaluation of child outcomes, family outcomes, provider practice changes, and changes in policies and procedures.
In addition to our extensive work throughout California, our teams provide technical assistance and professional development to all 59 states and territories, as well as the Bureau of Indian Education through federally funded technical assistance projects, state-specific contracts, and fee-for-service activities.
Our Work in Action
Early Start Comprehensive System of Personnel Development
Since 1992, the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has contracted with WestEd to deliver its Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD), a required component of a state early intervention system under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C. In California, the IDEA Part C program is known as Early Start. WestEd partners with DDS, its state agency partner, the California Department of Education, and Early Start state and local stakeholders, including families, to design and deliver competency-aligned, evidence-based training and resources for early intervention professionals, other early childhood service professionals, and families of infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental disabilities or delays.
Visit the Early Start Neighborhood Web site to learn more.
Supporting no cost infant and early childhood mental health consultation services, supports, and resources for all early learning and care providers in California
The California Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Network is a WestEd professional development project funded by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). The IECMHC Network provides consultation services, professional development supports, and resources for all childcare and early education providers in California, including center-based program staff, family care providers, and family, friend, and neighbor caregivers. The IECMHC Network’s services are designed to build the capacity of program staff and care providers to foster the developmental, social, and emotional health and well-being of young children in their care.
Visit the IECMHC Network website to learn more.