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Early Childhood Mental Health

and Social-Emotional Development

Colorado has been working on early childhood mental health programs and initiatives for over ten years and is home to some of the nation’s leading experts in early childhood mental health.  JFK Partners has led significant efforts in the state towards development of Colorado’s Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Mental Health, and towards the following goals:

  • Enhancing recognition of the importance of preventing mental health problems at an early age
  • Increasing information on the status of Colorado’s young children’s social, emotional and behavioral health
  • Changing the way professionals who work with young children view their role and potential to support children’s social, emotional and behavioral health
  • Recognizing that the traditional mental health services do not adequately meet the needs of very young children and their families
  • Developing a comprehensive system for early childhood that includes mental health as an essential domain

Products resulting from this work:

  • ABC's of Young Children's Well-Being (English) (Spanish)
  • Colorado’s Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Mental Health
  • ECMH Consultation Resource and Sustainability Toolkit
  • Here I Am! - Baby's emotions
  • Social-Emotional Screening Executive Summary
  • Social-Emotional Screening Report
  • Social-Emotional Training Environmental Scan
  • Social-Emotional Training Table
  • Understanding Children's Mental Health
  • Training Mental Health Clinicians to Serve Young Children: Recommendations from a Training Needs Assessment

From 2002-2008, JFK Partners led Project BLOOM in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services.  Project BLOOM was the nation’s first early childhood focused system-of-care initiative through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services Program.  Several initiatives stemmed from the work of Project BLOOM, on which JFK Partners’ faculty has continued involvement and leadership:

  • Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation to Early Care and Education:  training, technical assistance and policy development
  • Early childhood mental health competency and professional development
  • Training in the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health & Developmental Disorders of Infancy & Early Childhood (DC:0-3R)
  • State policy work related to infant and early childhood social, emotional, behavioral and mental health
  • Linking and Aligning:  care coordination for integration of behavioral and primary health care