Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) aims to build the capacity of childcare providers, families, programs and systems, in order to prevent and reduce the impact of mental health challenges and social emotional delays among children ages birth to 5. The system that exists in Illinois is coordinated by Caregiver Connections, who subcontracts with agencies across the state in order to provide ECMHC locally to all of Illinois' 102 counties. For DuPage, Kane, and Lake counties, the consultants are employed by the Kane County Health Department in Aurora.
The goal of ECMHC is to shift our thoughts and understanding of behavior. Challenging behavior is stressed behavior, and you and your consultant become “detectives" together, identifying the stressors for a child in your care. Behavior change only occurs in relationship, so building your relationship with a particular child, parent, family, co-worker, etc. increases capacity and efficacy.
Reasons to Contact Your ECMHC:
- Challenges with a specific child
- Overall learning environment concerns- particularly those involving social-emotional skill building
- Challenges communicating with a parent or family
- Challenges between adults, staff relationships
- Seeking support with social-emotional skillbuilding and understanding social emotional development
- Seeking Gateways-approved trainings on topics of social emotional skillbuilding
What the Process Looks Like:
- Childcare providers are the point of contact for ECMHC. If you are a parent seeking support for your child at his/her childcare center or home provider, please pass the contact information on to your childcare provider and they will contact the consultant directly.
- Once the provider makes contact, our coordinated intake process will begin. The
provider will receive pre-paperwork, including parent and
teacher forms. Once the forms are complete, the consultant will set up a date to observe the child or learning environment, meet with providers, and/or meet with the provider/parent, depending on the situation.
- At the initial consultation, the consultant will explain her role in the process and discuss the length of the consultation and relationship.
- If you are seeking training, please contact your consultant directly to see what her schedule might allow. Trainings are free of charge, can be on-site at a childcare center or another location, and are Gateways approved.
- Keep in mind that training and consultations may not be available on short notice. Anticipate approximately 4 weeks between time of contact and initial visit. This can vary, but it is better to seek support sooner than later.
Contact Info for DuPage/Kane Counties Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants: