CDSS: Early Childhood and Infant Mental Health

Children entering Child Welfare Services often present unique challenges to the system of care. This course will provide participants with foundational understanding to integrate best practices in child development and early childhood mental health. We will discuss how children develop within the context of their primary relationships, the impact of pre-natal and early-life exposure to toxic stress and trauma, and identify practical ways to apply cutting-edge research from the fields of psychology and neuroscience to daily work with young children. Early identification of needs and access to appropriate mental health services can prevent many significant behavioral and mental health challenges, shifting the trajectory of a child's development toward a life of physical and mental health.

By the end of the course, participants will:

  • Gain knowledge in the relational foundation of the mental health of young children
  • Understand and be able to navigate the existing systemic barriers to access to mental health care for young children
  • Be able to describe the impact of exposure to trauma in early childhood via current research on brain development, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, etc.
  • Utilize behavioral health policies and practices around medical necessity and Specialty Mental Health Services
  • Be able to advocate for young children on their caseloads by improving quality of teaming around the mental health needs of young children in the child welfare system
Course Code