Beginning at the Beginning: The Foundational Elements of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation – Part I

TTAC was pleased to host part one of a 3- part webinar series titled Beginning at the Beginning: Mental Health Consultation in Infant & Toddler Care presented by Kadija Johnston, LCSW. The webinar series highlighted that Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) recognizes the centrality of the provider- child relationship. ECMHC is aimed at supporting, or when need be enhancing, relational health between children and those who care for them, as well as among adults in early care and education settings and systems.

Articulating these foundational essentials and reviewing consultative types and activities, served as a springboard for an in-depth discussion of the Consultative Stance - the ten elements of clinical comportment that promote efficacy and sustain us in our work. Special attention was paid and time devoted to discussing the unique characteristics and concerns that arise when consulting around the care of infants and toddlers.

This webinar series was free of charge. The webinar series offered 4.5 CE contact hours for licensed social workers and LMHCs through the NYU Silver School of Social Work. Participants must have attended all three webinars to receive full credit and pay a $25 registration fee. Attendees were able to access the CEs online following the training.

Part 1 Description:

Appreciation for the importance of relationships is well established. Despite the fact that childcare providers are central contributors to most young children’s relational matrix, their influence is often overlooked. Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) recognizes the centrality of the provider- child relationship. ECMHC is aimed at supporting, or when need be enhancing, relational health between children and those who care for them, as well as among adults in early care and education settings and systems.  

The first of a three part webinar series began by offering a relationally informed conceptual foundation for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. Recent research supporting the connection between the role that relationships play in early development and in mental health consultation’s efficacy was reviewed. Reasons for the practices’ rapid growth in early care and education settings was discussed.

Acknowledging the Covid- 19 pandemic’s particular impact on Early Care and Education, special attention was paid to ECMH Consultation’s critical role in supporting young children and their caregivers. Tethered to the foundational principles articulated in the webinar and looking though lens of both loss and opportunity, we explored adaptations in format and content called for by the global community health crisis.

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Webinar Resources:

Webinar Recording

Webinar Slides

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About the Presenter

Kadija Johnston L.C.S.W is the Director of the Infant-Parent Program (IPP), in the Division of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. She has been a practitioner in the field of infant and early childhood mental health (I/ECMH) since 1985. She developed the Infant-Parent Program’s Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Consultation component in 1988, which now serves as a model for other organizations, locally, nationally and internationally. She has provided TA and training in I/ECMH Consultation to organizations in 23 states and internationally. She serves as an expert advisor for the SAMHSA supported Center of Excellence in ECMH Consultation and is a founding member of RAINE, a group of national experts advancing practice, policy and research in ECMH Consultation.

 
Ms. Johnston writes and lectures nationally on infant and early childhood mental health consultation. In addition to numerous articles on the subject, she co-authored Mental Health Consultation in Child Care: Transforming Relationships With Directors, Staff, and Families with Dr. Charles Brinamen, for which they were awarded the Irving B. Harris Award for contributions to early childhood scholarship.   Ms. Johnston also trains in the areas of perinatal, infant and early childhood mental health service modalities; reflective supervision, mental health systems integration and mental health service disparities for underserved children and families.