NC Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Work Group

The NC Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Work Group aims to develop and implement a statewide and cross-sector system for IECMH Consultation. Consultants work with providers (e.g., primary care clinicians, early childhood educators, early intervention providers, home visitors, child welfare workers) to enhance provider efficacy for promotion, prevention, intervention, and parental engagement/support for IECMH. The Work Group envisions a system based on collaboration between, and expansion of, existing consultation programs. IECMH Consultation does not rely on insurance payment but is funded by state, grant and/or philanthropic funding. The IECMH Work Group is receiving technical assistance through ZERO TO THREE and Georgetown Center of Excellence regarding policy, financing, and metrics and evaluation. The Work Group also seeks to support training in evidence-based IECMH treatments, the endorsement system for IECMH providers, and plans to collaborate with the NCDHHS’ Division of Child and Family Well-Being on their priority of child mental health.

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Fast Facts

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Type of Lead Agency


Racial Equity Lens
  • This Initiative provides consultation to providers of health care and education of young children without need for insurance or payment from families, so that it is available for all young children.
  • The Work Group is currently examining data resources to ascertain numbers served disaggregated by race and ethnicity where possible, as well as data on outcomes such as suspension/expulsion rates for children in early education settings that have accessed consultation and rates of successfully linking families with community resources and/or interventions.
  • This initiative promotes the education of primary care clinicians, mental health providers and early educators regarding the impact of racism on the mental health and well-being of children.
Community Voice
  • The Work Group is cross-sector and includes Family Support Network leaders.
  • The Work Group is incorporating family voice from the family survey and Interview responses collected by the EarlyWell Initiative.
  • This Initiative is in its first year. See three impact goals listed below:
    • Increase in early childhood workforce efficacy in promoting healthy social emotional development of children in their care; and in optimizing their classroom environment.
    • Increase in primary care clinician efficacy in supporting parents in promotion of healthy social emotional development, in implementing social-emotional developmental screening, familiarity and utilization of the DC, 0-5, primary care intervention, follow-up and referral for interventions as needed. Also, increase in primary care understanding of Early Relational Health, the impact of family strengths and protective factors, Social Drivers of Health (including structural racism) on healthy social-emotional development.
    • Integration of these IECMH goals into the priorities of the Division of Child and Family Well-Being.
Next Steps
  • Utilize current capacity through the NC Child Psychiatry Access Program and IECMH provided in Head Start to begin including providers in an incremental fashion (e.g., Child Welfare, Care Management for At-Risk Children, Part C providers)
  • Identify potential funding approaches for broader expansion, and current research and data sources for making the case for return on investment
  • Work with NCDHHS’ Division of Child and Family Well-Being on IECMH priorities
Primary Partners
  • Coordinating Partners (i.e., Assuring Better Child Health and Development IECMH work group, NC Infant and Mental Health Association, NC Child)
  • Program Partners (e.g., NC Child Treatment Program, NC Child Psychiatry Access Program, Child First, Family Support Network)
  • NCDHHS Divisions (e.g., Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, Health Benefits, Public Health, Child Development and Early Education)
Primary Funders
  • Current State funding for IECMH in Head Start, Healthy Social Beginnings initiative, and Child Care Health Consultation.
  • Health Resources & Services Administration—NC Child Psychiatry Access Program
Contact Marian Earls and Sharon Loza

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