Early Childhood Mental Health Program
Program History and Description
Kentucky's Early Childhood Mental Health Program (ECMHP) was created in state fiscal year 2003 as a component of a large, statewide early childhood development initiative, KIDS NOW, the majority of which is now administered by the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood (see Related Links).
ECMHP is co-administered by the Children’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Branch within the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID) and the Early Childhood Promotion Branch within the Department for Public Health (DPH) through a Memorandum of Agreement.
In turn, DBHDID contracts with the 14 Regional Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) for program implementation. In addition, the program maintains contracts with the University of Kentucky for Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) training and consultation, and with Eastern Kentucky University for staffing and resources related to the ECMHP.
The primary goal of ECMHP is to provide:
- Program and child-level consultation on social, emotional and behavioral issues to programs that serve children from birth through age 5.
- Training on working with young children with social, emotional and behavioral needs and their families, to child-serving agencies and others.
- Evaluation, assessment, and therapeutic services for children from birth through age 5 and their families.
Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist
The ECMHP supports an Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist staff position in each of the 14 CMHCs. The Specialists' time is devoted solely to their regional ECMHPs and building regional capacity to better meet the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of children from birth through age 5 and their families.
The ECMH Specialists are responsible for ensuring that the program goals are attained at a local level. To obtain more information about your local ECMHP, please use the contacts listed in the Contact Information box.