Current early childhood projects focus on strengthening the early childhood systems within Texas communities for children birth to 5 years of age. Learn more about our current projects below.
Preschool Development Grant Birth Through 5
The federal government awarded Texas through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) a Preschool Development Grant Birth through 5 (PDG B-5) to help Texas to address gaps in their early childhood system that were made worse by the COVID-19 crisis. TIEMH is partnering with TWC to analyze the landscape of infant and early childhood mental health consultant (IECMHC) work occurring in Texas and present recommendations for an IECMHC system for Texas. IECMHC is a prevention-based approach that pairs a mental health consultant with adults who work with infants and young children in the different settings where they learn and grow, such as child care, preschool, home visiting, early intervention and their home. Mental health consultation equips professionals and caregivers with the skills and knowledge to facilitate children’s healthy social and emotional development. IECMH consultants develop relationships with the adults and caregivers in young children’s lives to build adults’ capacity and skills to strengthen and support the healthy social and emotional development of children―early and before formalized intervention is needed. IECMHC has been shown to improve children’s social skills and emotional functioning, promote healthy relationships, reduce challenging behaviors, reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions, improve classroom quality, and reduce provider stress, burnout, and turnover.
Currently there is not a shared understanding of IECMHC services in Texas, causing many providers to be offered varying services that are all labeled as IECMHC. Other states have established a universal definition of IECMHC and a system to support that work. The purpose of this Contract between TWC and UT-TIEMH is to map the existing IECMHC work in Texas, research how other states are organizing their IECMHC work, provide case studies, and present recommendations for an IECMHC system for Texas.
- Outline the current landscape of early childhood mental health infrastructure and resources across the state.
- Investigate implementation science of IECMHC, including best practices, case studies, and impact.
- Provide recommendations for a statewide structure and administrative oversight for IECMHCs to provide early childhood information to families and early childhood care and education providers.
TIEMH was awarded a Project Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health (Project LAUNCH) grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to promote the wellness of young children, from birth to 8 years of age, by addressing the social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and behavioral aspects of their development, preparing young children to thrive in school and beyond. Project LAUNCH strategies include the provision of mental health consultation in early care and education settings; screen and assess youth and caregivers; strengthen family activities; and establish participatory approaches with families and community partners through advisory councils.
TIEMH is partnering with early childhood organizations in two Texas communities (Travis and Cameron/Hidalgo Counties) to implement infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC), to provide screening and assessment for young children, offer parenting support programs that address children’s mental and behavioral health, and to enhance local early childhood collaborative efforts to include children’s mental health and family voice. TIEMH is also working with statewide partners to educate early childhood professionals regarding screening and assessment, IECMHC, and early childhood development.
- Increase the number of children 0-8 years identified with developmental or social and emotional concerns, and promote active monitoring and/or referral for assessment and care.
- Increase access to IECMHC for families of children 0-8 years.
- Increase access to family strengthening and parent training targeted to help parents and caregivers provide healthy and safe environments for children 0-8 years.
- Coordinate and support efforts of child- and family-serving organizations to increase awareness of ECMH and maximize the state investment in child behavioral health.
- Implement public awareness strategies to promote child development and mental health and support access to appropriate screening, assessment, consultation, and services.
Texas LAUNCH Partners