A Focus on Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health

March 2021
This newsletter focuses on sharing information on infant/early childhood mental health and
the importance of relationship-based approaches and supports that help infants and young children feel safe, supported, and valued by the adults around them. The newsletter, and the Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) program, is made possible by a partnership between the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the Pennsylvania Key.
Welcome to our first Infant Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) focused newsletter! We are very excited you want to hear more about this very important topic.

Did you know, from the moment they’re born, kids develop at lightning speed? In the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second. This early brain development is critical to everything that follows. And the key fact is that children’s brains grow by processing everything and everyone around them. That’s why environments and relationships matter so much to their development.
A key component of a child’s development is their mental health, also known as social and emotional development. It is developing capacity of a child from birth to age five to:
  • form close and secure inter-personal relationships
  • experience, regulate and express emotions; and
  • explore the environment and learn in the context of family, community, and cultural expectations from young children.
Pennsylvania’s leadership knows that increasing knowledge and skills in infant and early childhood mental health across our early childhood serving systems is a critical strategy to improve the skills of our workforce, reduce disparities, promote school readiness, and improve outcomes for children’s overall health and wellness.
This newsletter, curated by the IECMH Consultation Team, is just one way we can continue to support adults working with infants, toddlers, young children and their families in a variety of ways. We will share new resources, research, tips and strategies on ways adults can build stronger relationships with infants and young children so they feel safe, supported, and valued.
Please forward this email to anyone you think will be interested! Please subscribe to our Newsletter.
Brandy Fox, Director of Cross Sector Infant Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) Initiatives shares about the consultation program. Watch the video and learn more about IECMH
Infant mental health is the optimal social, emotional, and cognitive well-being of children ages 0-3, developed by secure and stable relationships with nurturing caregivers.

Learn more in this printable infographic, 3 Reasons Good Infant Mental Health Matters.
Did you know our consultation team has grown? We now have 26 consultants who are regionally based across the Commonwealth to serve and support childcare programs participating in Keystone STARS, including center, family and group-based care. Meet our team!
The Pennsylvania Key has streamlined the process for Keystone STARS programs to request Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC). Child care providers can request services by using the Request for Service Form (PDF). Completed forms can be submitted via email PAIECMH@pakeys.org or faxed to 717-213-3749.
Programs and families can contact the program leadership directly at PAIECMH@pakeys.org with questions or concerns.
Share your feedback! We'd like to hear what you think about infant early childhood mental health. Are there resources you'd like to see? Questions you have? Tell us! Send your feedback to PAIECMH@pakeys.org.