October 9, 2015

EDC to Lead National Center on Early Childhood Mental Health

WALTHAM, MA | EDC will receive $6 million over the next four years to manage the National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. Announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the new center was established to advance infant and early childhood mental health consultation. This approach teams mental health professionals with early childhood teachers, caregivers, and families to improve the social, emotional, and behavioral health of young children and build a shared understanding of the powerful influence of these relationships on child development.

EDC was selected to lead the new center by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration, and Administration for Children and Families, which jointly established the new Center of Excellence. EDC’s partner on the project is the Center on Child and Human Development at Georgetown University, a leader in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation.

“Managing the Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation is a tremendous opportunity for EDC to contribute its accumulated wealth of knowledge and experience in the realms of early childhood mental health, well-being, and safety,” said EDC President and CEO David Offensend. “With the combined support of our federal partners, we expect to have a powerful impact in the field of infant and early childhood mental health nationwide.”

Through the new center, EDC will develop tools and provide technical assistance and training to strengthen state and Tribal nation behavioral and mental health support systems for infants, young children and their families; ensure that more early care and education and home visiting programs can access assistance they need; and advance new research on early childhood mental health. The center’s mission is also in line with the recommendations of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, which was commissioned by President Obama to report on ways to empower boys of color, in part by making sure they get a healthy start and enter school ready to learn.

“This collaborative effort reflects the critical role early childhood providers, parents, and caretakers play in facilitating a young child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto in the official announcement. “The Center of Excellence will help provide effective tools and resources to child care centers, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and other home visiting programs to ensure the healthy development of children during their formative years.”

EDC will work with experts at universities, foundations, and state and government agencies on the new center. To learn more, read a related blog post from the White House Rural Council.

EDC designs, implements, and evaluates programs to improve education, health, and economic opportunity worldwide. Visit www.edc.org.