California Training Guidelines and Personnel Competencies for Infant-Family Early Childhood Mental Health

Brochure · System of Care

It is essential that all professionals working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers are grounded in the core knowledge and relationship-based training necessary to enhance the capacity of parents and other primary caregivers to support the social and emotional well-being of their children.

The field of infant-family and early childhood mental health addresses a continuum of family-centered, culturally sensitive, and developmentally appropriate services that include:

  • Promotion – Services and supports that recognize the central importance of early relationships on brain development, learning and social-emotional development of all children.
  • Preventive Intervention – Services that mitigate effects of biological and psychosocial risks and that address potential early relationship challenges which have a documented impact on early development and the regulation of emotions and behavior.
  • Treatment – Services that target infants, toddlers and young children in significant distress or with clear symptoms
    that indicate a mental health disorder. Services address attachment, relationship problems and the regulation of
    emotions and behavior. Specialized early mental health treatment services focus on the parent-child dyad, other
    primary child-caregiver relationships and the circumstances that influence the quality of the relationships.