Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation in Home Visiting

IECMHC in home visiting is a prevention-based, capacity-building support that pairs a mental health professional with home visitors to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to be successful in working with families to support and nurture the wellbeing of the infants and young children and those that care for them. In his or her role, the IECMH Consultant:

  • Helps home visiting programs to strengthen policies and procedures for supporting and linking families to services for mental health
  • Builds home visitor capacity to recognize, interpret, and support the mental health needs of children and families
  • Assists home visitors to support families in creating emotionally safe home environments that support children’s learning and growth
  • Provides an ongoing and regular opportunity for home visitor reflection to sort out and cope with strong feelings brought on by complex work with families

Mental health consultants are typically integrated into the ongoing operations of home visiting programs. For example, a mental health consultant may be onsite at a program one day per week with a designated work space.

IECMHC in home visiting is not a direct service treatment, such as therapy or counseling provided directly to families by a mental health professional or a service requiring diagnosis.

Currently MDHHS is able to provide IECMHC to home visiting programs supported through the Federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). FFPSA was enacted to turn the focus of the current child welfare system toward keeping children safely with their families to avoid the trauma that results when children are placed in out-of-home care. In Michigan, one of the ways this is achieved is through expanding effective home visitation services for families encountering the child welfare system and to support families to prevent them from encountering the child welfare system.

Meeting the complex needs of families with risk factors such as substance use, mental illness, and domestic violence is challenging. By embedding practices such as IECMHC, home visiting programs can build a layer of support within their existing evidence-based home visiting models to address these mental health needs.

Mom holding son on couch

For more information about Infant and Early Childhood Consultation, please contact us.