Infant Toddler Mental Health Consultation

Infant-Toddler Mental Health Consultation (ITMHC) is a strengths-based collaborative approach between Early Care and Education Providers and Mental Health providers that aims to build the capacity of the adult caregivers in children’s lives to promote positive social-emotional development in young children. Positive social emotional development is linked to improved health and education across the lifespan. Although access to early childhood mental health consultation has been identified as a key preventative feature to prevent expulsion of young children from preschool, it remains a developing field. The related challenges of fidelity and scale fit into Docs for Tots expertise of taking existing information and evidence-based programs and bringing them to use across communities in New York State.

NYS Infant-Toddler Mental Health Consultation Project

Docs for Tots is working in partnership with the Early Care & Learning Council (ECLC) and the New York Center for Child Development (NYCCD) through funding from the NYS Office of Children and Family Services to support the state-wide network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) for this state-wide project. Docs for Tots’ role as the data and quality improvement consultants includes selecting meaningful assessment tools, outcome measures, and most importantly, putting the information gained into action to improve services for young children and their families. This work includes the creation of a statewide database that will be housed at ECLC for continuous quality improvement and outcome tracking.

Supports for this project include:

  • Development of a process and outcome evaluation plan
  • Training statewide cohorts of consultants on data collection, data entry, quality improvement, and associated assessment tools
  • Generating reports regularly at the state and regional levels
  • Providing weekly technical assistance to consultants across the state to ensure accurate and meaningful collection of information

Project BRITE (Building Relationships in Infant-Toddler Early Education)

In partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation, and Dr. Walter Gilliam and Dr. Chin Reyes (Yale School of Medicine), Docs for Tots is developing a semi-virtual mental health consultation model focusing on family and group family providers. Two bilingual mental health consultants will work with family and group family childcare providers in Nassau County and Queens to develop this pilot program that will inform the structure, measures, and impact of a short term scalable model for infant and toddler consultation.  

Family and Group Family providers in Nassau and Queens counties can learn more here about this FREE support.

Activities for this project include:

  • Developing a short but intense model for infant mental health consultation
  • Exploring the best practice of virtual consultation within a short intense model of consultation
  • Continuous quality improvement
  • Integrating use of the CHILD tool for infants and toddlers into a model of consultation
  • Partnering with Youth Research, Inc. (YRI) to inform state level policy and procedures for optimal efficacy and efficiency in Infant Toddler Mental Health Consultation


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Investing in quality early learning programs is the most efficient way to affect school and life success and to reduce social expenditures later.

James Heckman, economist, Nobel laureate