Early Childhood Home and Family Services Division

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Early Childhood Mental Health Services

Early Childhood Mental Health Services (ECMHS) at UNM CDD offer relationship-based and family-centered assessment and treatment services for infants and toddlers birth to three and their caregivers/families. We provide assessment and treatment services when families are concerned about a very young child’s social and emotional well-being, self-regulation, behavior, and/or when difficulties in childrearing come up for parents/caregivers. Children who have experienced abuse, neglect, disruptive changes in their care-giving environment and/or other potentially traumatic events are an area of specialization for ECMHS clinicians.

Many children can be fussy, tantrum, or very active at times. However, when these normal aspects of early development become extreme or difficult for a family to manage, ECMH Services might be warranted. Some specific reasons a child and family may seek ECMHS include:

  • Extreme fussiness or difficulties soothing
  • Extreme tantrums and other disruptive behavior
  • Behaviors that put the child in danger of physical harm
  • Persistent sleep problems
  • Over-activity – beyond what is typical for a child’s developmental level
  • Developmental or medical problems/diagnoses that place special emotional burdens on parents
  • Instances when parents/caregivers feel burdened by the demands of parenting

ECMHS are provided by licensed social workers, psychologists, counselors, and advanced psychology trainees with specialized training in infant and early childhood mental health approaches. We offer an extended assessment process to be sure we understand family concerns fully before developing a plan for intervention designed to bring relief to both children and their caregivers/families. Parents, other caregivers and family members are our partners in this process and are always actively involved in all aspects of the assessment and treatment process. Services are primarily home-based, or can take place in our offices.