Pennsylvania Embeds Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation into QRIS
Social and Emotional Health, Developmental Screening, Child Care, Early Intervention, Quality Improvement
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ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates
Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning
Pennsylvania is leading the way among states by embedding early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) into its state’s early education Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). In 2006, Pennsylvania developed the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) program, which began as a pilot to provide support to the early care and education workforce as they strived to understand and meet the social and emotional needs of infants and toddlers, especially those exhibiting challenging behaviors. Since its inception, the project has expanded its reach and has progressed into a statewide program funded by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning with clinical support from the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. All state-registered or certified early care and education facilities enrolled in Keystone STARS, Pennsylvania’s quality rating and improvement system, are eligible to participate in ECMHC. The program approach is to develop stronger socio-emotional foundations for children by supporting caregivers. The overall goal is to reduce the number of instances where children are removed from child care settings due to behavioral issues.