Early Childhood Mental Health: Raising Awareness, Taking Action
This article examines how the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health has developed evidence-based practices that focus on assessing the state of the infant-parent relationship and working with the family in culturally and socially sensitive ways to strengthen it.
Created 20 years ago, this cross-disciplinary group of California early childhood health, education, and human services professionals decided to increase awareness about the human and social costs of untreated mental health problems among children ages birth to five.
The decision was made to take action with the goal of strengthening infant-family mental health systems and services in the state.
One such practice is relationship-based care. A strong emotional bond with a parent is essential to a baby’s earliest learning, development, and sense of security and well being. Best practices in infant mental health care, as established by research and experts in the field, start with a focus on assessing the state of the infant-parent relationship.
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