Holding Hope IECMHC Program Supports Social-Emotional Development in Youth

May 12, 2022
Holding Hope IECMHC Program Supports Social-Emotional Development in Youth

The Fair Start for Kids Act (FSKA) funded the expansion of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) services offered to Early Achievers participants through Child Care Aware of Washington (CCA of WA).  The Holding Hope IECMHC program is designed to promote the social-emotional development and well-being of young children in licensed child care settings throughout WA state.

Thanks to additional funding through FSKA funds, Holding Hope IECMHC now has 15 Mental Health Consultants (MHCs) serving child care providers across the state. Over the past six months, Holding Hope Consultants served 196 child care providers and provided outreach to an additional 41 sites, in addition to consultation and training for Coaches and other systems-level support.  

“My husband and I have been working with a mental health consultant from the Holding Hope program for nearly a year. We have been so thankful for this program. It has been incredibly helpful in developing intervention plans for our child’s challenges at preschool and any other behavioral questions we have. All of the strategies have helped us feel more successful as parents in helping our child to overcome his fears and the behavioral challenges that come with his tummy hurting at preschool. (The MHC) has also helped his daycare provider to understand his struggles and strategies to try. This is a wonderful program for families.” – Quote from a parent in WA state

Holding Hope IECMHC services are collaborative and individualized to meet child, family and provider needs in ways that are respectful and responsive.  IECMHC is currently available in English, Spanish, Somali and Vietnamese. Mental Health Consultants partner with Early Learning Coaches and provide consultation related to child, family and provider questions and concerns about behaviors, social-emotional well-being, trauma-informed practices and mental health concerns.

Research shows that IECMHC services can:

  • Increase healthy social and emotional development among young children
  • Decrease challenging behaviors and reduce expulsions from early learning settings
  • Strengthen relationships among child care staff, children and families
  • Reduce teacher stress and decrease staff turnover
  • Improve classroom climate, enabling greater emphasis on quality instruction

Holding Hope Mental Health Consultants work at multiple levels:

  • Child/Family Consultation involves working collaboratively with providers and families to understand concerns and develop plans to meet child and family needs
  • Classroom Consultation involves working with caregivers, teachers and coaches to address the classroom conditions and stresses that affect relationships between adults and children
  • Program Consultation involves working with directors, teachers, coaches and others to support changes that benefit all children, families and adults in early learning settings
  • Systems-level Consultation involves working with coaches, regional leaders, community partners, and others to promote social-emotional health and well-being, and to build systems capacity to respond to social-emotional and mental health concerns.

For more information about Holding Hope IECMHC, visit the Holding Hope website or read the Holding Hope: Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in Early Years report.