Georgetown embraces a comprehensive approach to early childhood mental health – one that provides a continuum of supports and services for young children and their families spanning from promotion to prevention to intervention. TA Center faculty with early childhood expertise strive to advance this approach in their work with states, tribes, territories and communities around early childhood systems development.
TA Center's Major Early Childhood Activities
- Supporting Early Childhood Systems of Care: In collaboration with the Technical Assistance Partnership, TA Center faculty provide leadership, training and technical assistance to communities funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to build systems of care for infants and young children with social/emotional challenges and their families.
- Promoting evidence-based and best practices in early childhood mental health: To help advance systems change efforts, TA Center faculty seek out innovative and effective early childhood strategies and interventions, such as early childhood mental health consultation, and work to facilitate integration of these practices into programs and systems serving young children and their families.
What is Early Childhood Mental Health?
- The social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of young children and their families
- The developing capacity of a child to:
- Experience, regulate, and express emotion
- Form close, secure relationships
- Explore the environment and learn (adapted from ZERO TO THREE)
Why is Early Childhood Mental Health Important?
- Young children’s mental health has significant implications for functioning across home, school, and community settings.
- Mental health challenges are surprisingly common among young children under the age of 6.
- Studies estimate that between 4 and 10% of all young children have clinically significant emotional and behavioral challenges (Center for Mental Health in Schools, 2005).
- The expulsion rate among children in prekindergarten programs is more than three times the rate for K-12 students (Gilliam, 2005).
- The presence of social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, such as attention problems or aggression, compromise young children’s chances for school success.
- Early onset of behavior problems without effective intervention is related to the need for special education services, delinquency, and early school drop-out.