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ERIC Number: ED496853
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Pages: 56
Abstractor: ERIC
Addressing Social-Emotional Development and Infant Mental Health in Early Childhood Systems. Building State Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Series, Number 12
Zeanah, Paula D.; Stafford, Brian S.; Nagle, Geoffrey A.; Rice, Thomas
UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities
The science of early development and our understanding of the impact of early experience on later social, emotional, and cognitive development has grown dramatically in the past three decades. Because the data are compelling and far-reaching, there has been increasing interest and concern about the quality of the infant's earliest experiences, and how those experiences shape the child's later development. The current state of knowledge should impact how every system that works with infants and families needs to contemplate and address the needs of our youngest citizens and their families (Shonkoff & Philips, 2000). In this report, the authors present an overview of infant mental health (IMH) and the principles that need to be considered when building systems to meet the social and emotional needs of young children. Because there are varying levels of needs for IMH services, as well as multiple ways in which children and families may access IMH services, and different pathways into the IMH service system, they describe a continuum of service delivery approaches that states can consider as they begin to develop and improve the performance of an infant mental health service system. Because IMH is a relatively new field of service delivery, evidenced-based guidelines about the most effective service delivery approaches are not always available, nor are there simple outcome measures. Thus, the authors present a number of suggestions about the organization and delivery of IMH services at the state level, as well as some of the problems that are likely to be encountered. Given the scarcity of trained IMH service providers they address training and workforce development. Because improving the delivery of IMH services requires better, evidence-based data, they also suggest outcome and evaluation needs. Finally, they address policy recommendations and strategies to achieve them. The following are appended: (1) Domains of the IMH Assessment; (2) Two States' Approaches to Developing Comprehensive Infant Mental Health Systems; (3) "Bottom Up" and "Top Down" Approaches to Building Early Childhood Systems of Care; and (4) Relevant Resources. (Contains 6 figures and 1 table.) [For related executive summary, see ED496850. This publication was produced by the National Center for Infant and Early Childhood Health Policy, an active collaboration between the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), the Women and Children's Health Policy Center at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).]
UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities. 1100 Glendon Avenue Suite 860, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Tel: 310-794-2583; Fax: 310-794-2728; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Health Resources and Services Administration (DHHS/PHS), Washington, DC. Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A