Infant & Early Mental Health Initiatives

Updated September 21, 2015

The websites below identify and describe current and past initiatives in California regarding Infant & Early Mental Health.

California Center for Infant and Early Mental Health External website will open in new window The California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health assists policymakers, funders and organizations to design and implement high quality practices that promote the healthy social and emotional development of children under the age of five.

Central California Children’s Institute Infant Mental Health Project External website will open in new window The initiative calls for development of a regional plan for improving infant-family and early childhood mental health systems and training programs, thereby increasing the region’s capacity to promote early mental health, prevent serious social-emotional problems before they occur, and to increase community and regional capacity for effective early mental health treatment. The Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative is funded primarily by First 5 Fresno. However, additional funding partners include First 5 Merced, First 5 Tulare, WestCare and the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health via Mental Health Services Act funding.

Central California Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative External website will open in new window The Central California Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative is dedicated to diminishing the silent epidemic of depression and anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum. Through education and outreach, we work to raise awareness about how to recognize signs of depression and anxiety in women and then find local resources to help cultivate a circle of support for women suffering from this condition.

Early Connections-Alameda County System of Care To connect and strengthen services, supports, environments and policies across systems in Alameda County to promote well being of young children birth to five experiencing -- or at significant risk -- for social, emotional, behavioral and developmental concerns, and their families throughout life.

Early Developmental Screening and Intervention (EDSI) External website will open in new window project, a partnership between First 5 LA County and UCLA’s Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, is a 5 year, 5.5 million dollar grant created to improve early identification and intervention for young children with developmental or behavioral problems by transforming community systems in LA County.

First Signs External website will open in new window With developmental, behavioral, and learning disabilities on the rise, there is much that remains poorly understood, from cause to cure. However, there is one widely-accepted fact: early and intensive intervention can have a profound impact on the quality of life for children at risk and their families. The key is early detection External website will open in new window. But recognizing the early signs External website will open in new window can be a challenge for parents and healthcare professionals alike. The First Signs website provides a wealth of vital resources, covering a range of issues: from monitoring development External website will open in new window, to concerns about a child External website will open in new window; from the screening and referral process External website will open in new window, to sharing concerns External website will open in new window. We invite you to explore our website in your search for answers.

Help Me Grow Help Me Grow is a system that connects at-risk children with the services they need. HMG is an efficient and effective system — with a proven track record — that assists states in identifying at-risk children, then helps families find community-based programs and services.

HMG does not provide direct services. Rather, it is a system for improving access to existing resources and services for children through age eight. Over 25 states are implementing Help Me Grow, including California. Currently, nine California counties are affiliates of Help Me Grow National: Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Orange, Solano, and Ventura. Many other counties in California are part of the Help Me Grow Learning Community that are in the process of developing the components of the Help Me Grow system. For more information contact Patsy Hampton at

Infant Development Association (IDA) External website will open in new window is a multidisciplinary organization of parents and professionals committed to ensuring optimal developmental outcomes for infants with special needs and their families. The organization brings together professionals from the public and private sector to work collaboratively across disciplines to encourage Best Practices in the field of Early Intervention. The IDA Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Webpage is designed to help link the agencies, organizations and individuals in California that share the commitment to improving the social-emotional well-being of infants, young children and their families. It provides geographically accessible information about resource agencies, including training programs, direct service providers, statewide organizations and funders, as well as interagency groups involved in improving I/ECMH service systems.

IDA co-sponsored developmment of California's Revised Infant Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Training Standard and Competencies PDF, Adobe Acrobat Required

Mental Health Services Act Prevention and Early Intervention (MHSA PEI) (Prop 63) The passage of Proposition 63 (now known as the Mental Health Services Act External website will open in new window or MHSA) in November 2004 provides an opportunity for the California Department of Mental Health (DMH) to provide increased funding, personnel and other resources to support county mental health programs and monitor progress toward statewide goals for children, transition age youth, adults, older adults and families. The Act addresses a broad continuum of prevention, early intervention and service needs and the necessary infrastructure, technology and training elements that will effectively support this system.

  • Prevention and Early Intervention is one of the seven components of the MHSA. Links to the main MHSA PEI site and the MHSA PEI County and State Level Policy Direction are available by clicking here External website will open in new window
  • Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission County and State Level Policy Direction describes the background and policy direction for the MHSA prevention and early intervention funds. Click here to view PDF, Adobe Acrobat Required
  • The MHSA PEI planning process is introduced by the First 5 Los Angeles County web site External website will open in new window.

Project ABC External website will open in new window Project ABC (Los Angeles County) is designed to create a system of care for young children who are in need of mental health services in the Los Angeles area. Our goal is ensure that children birth to five years have access to mental health services that are family-centered, strength-based, and culturally competent. Families are the focus of our efforts and are key partners in everything we do. Parents are responsible for ensuring the family voice is the driving force in the treatment of children with emotional and behavioral problems. Family voice and choice is essential to obtaining the best care for our children. Site includes resources for parents, caregivers, professionals and includes tip sheets, video and radio.

Project Connect NBRC External website will open in new window Project Connect NBRC is a three-year project that focuses on mental health and wellness of young children (birth-five years old). The project, supported through funds from the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) from the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS), is specifically intended to identify and address critical need areas within Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Counties. The aim of the project is to promote the development of an inter-organizational system of coordinated, culturally appropriate infant-family and early childhood mental health services that support young children's social-emotional health and well-being in these three counties.

Statewide Screening Collaborative External website will open in new window Discount for Screening Tools: In response to the need for early identification and intervention to maximize a child’s life trajectory, the Statewide Screening Collaborative* is excited to share the news that there is now a state discount for the following tools that can help detect developmental issues in all young children in California:

  • ASQ-3 and ASQ-SE from Brookes Publishing
  • PEDS and PEDS:DM from EV Press, LLC
  • CHADIS from Total Child Health, Inc.

For information on how to access the discounts use the Special Discounts for California Providers PDF, Adobe Acrobat Required

We Can't Wait Annual Conference -San Diego ECMH Conference
6th Annual Early Childhood Mental Health
We Can't Wait Conference
Trauma Informed Care: A Lifelong Perspective for Living Well
September 17- 19, 2015
Crowne Plaza Hotel
2270 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA 92108
Keynote by Dr. Bruce Perry

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