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Promoting Healthy Social and Emotional Development in Young Children: Policy Challenges and Opportunities


Promoting Healthy Social and Emotional Development in Young Children: Policy Challenges and Opportunities Jane Knitzer, Ed.D. Project THRIVE and – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Promoting Healthy Social and Emotional Development in Young Children: Policy Challenges and Opportunities

Promoting Healthy Social and EmotionalDevelopment
in Young Children Policy Challenges and
  • Jane Knitzer, Ed.D.
  • Project THRIVE and
  • National Center for Children in Poverty
  • March 7, 2005
  • AMCHP Annual Conference

Setting the Context About The National Center
for Children in Poverty (NCCP)
  • NCCP
  • Promotes the economic security, health and
    well-being of Americas low-income families
  • Is university-based (Mailman School of Public
    Health, Columbia University
  • Advances family-oriented policy solutions and the
    strategic use of public resources
  • Hosts Project THRIVE Policy analysis center for
    ECCS grantees
  • Provides Other Resources 50 state data tools
    Child Care and Early Education Research
    Connections Family Resource Simulator

  • What is healthy social-emotional development?
  • What is a public health policy framework to
    support healthy S-E development?
  • What are key policy building blocks?
  • How have some states responded?
  • What are special challenges opportunities?

What is Healthy Social, Emotional Development in
Young Children?
  • The age-appropriate ability for infants, toddlers
    and preschoolers to
  • Manage emotions (anger, frustration)
  • Relate to adults (parents, child care teachers)
  • Relate to peers and
  • Feel good about themselves (engaging with
    learning, curious, safe in approaching new tasks

Its not one size fits all
  • Early detection and prompt interventions can
    improve outcomes (i.e., shift the odds) for
    both children living in high-risk environments
    and those with biologically based disabilities.
  • Interventions tailored to specific needs are more
    effective than services that provide generic
    advice and support. (IOM)
  • Pediatric child development, universal preschool,
    and services to promote healthy mental
    development are complementary. All are needed.

A Continuum of Services
  • Promotion

All kids
Increasing cost per child Increasing intensity of
need Decreasing numbers of children
What is A Policy Framework to Support Healthy S-E
  • A system of supports for young children, their
    families and other caregivers to promote
    age-appropriate social and emotional development
    especially for children whose development is
    compromised by poverty and other risk factors.
  • A public health approach to mental health that
  • Strengthens parental and other caregivers ability
    to promote young childrens healthy s-e
  • Addresses prevention, early intervention

Policy Framework System Goals
  • Common cross-system goals
  • Promote early learning healthy behaviors
  • Foster skills in other caregivers
  • Reverse a poor s-e developmental trajectory
  • Remove parental barriers and risks to effective
  • Ensure that children with disorders get help

Policy Grounded in Research and Best Practices
  • Lessons from research
  • Lessons from other states
  • Cross-system fiscal and program analysis and
  • Intentional, research-informed intervention

Policy Building Blocks Examples of Prevention
  • Screening (EPSDT linked, Devereux parents)
  • Developmental services
  • Anticipatory guidance for parents
  • Community, state-level child development
    cross-training for staff working directly with
    young children and families (e.g. Touch Points)
  • Classroom-based curricula (e.g. Tools of the
  • Culturally appropriate parenting programs /
    relationship-based programs (Reach Out Read
    Baby Fast Incredible Years)

Policy Building Blocks Examples of Early
Intervention Strategies
  • Use ECMH Consultation
  • Embed child, staff and/or family focused
    interventions in pediatric and ece settings
  • Target high risk children
  • Maximize available federal funding
  • Develop common definitions of risk and criteria
    for eligibility across systems

Policy Building Blocks Examples of Treatment
  • Parent-child therapies
  • Specialized family-driven interventions (Early
    Childhood Centers, Cleveland)
  • Classroom-based consultation
  • Treatment programs in courts, shelters foster
    families (MTFC-P Miami-Dade, trauma linked
    screening and treatment)
  • Family supports such as wraparound case

Policy Building Blocks Examples of
Infrastructure Building
  • Cross-system planning capacity
  • ECCS approaches
  • Common-cross-system tools
  • outcome measures, screening tools, definitions of
    risk, eligibility criteria, billing codes
  • Best policy and fiscal practices to support
  • Cross-training
  • MH Consultation
  • Family-focused treatment

Policy Building Blocks Examples of Best Fiscal
Policy Practices
  • Pay pediatric providers for developmental
    screening and services
  • Pay for family-focused treatment
  • Offer cross-training on child health
  • Pay for screening for parental depression
  • Pay for child health mental health consultants

State Strategies in Action
  • Louisiana
  • In 6 of 64 parishes community-based,
    interdisciplinary assessment, training
    re-training funded with state dollars
  • Maryland
  • Statewide needs assessment ( 2002), Established
    consultation projects. In Eastern Shore 25 of
    children served had been in 3 or more child care
    settings. In Baltimore, implemented in child
    care, Head Start and family child care homes
    target, children at risk of removal. 84 not

State Strategies in Action (Cont)
  • Kentucky Early Childhood Mental Health Program
  • Provides ECMH consultation thru14 early childhood
    specialists across state Uses Devereaux Early
    Childhood Assessment (DECA) for screening in ECE
    settings Funded with tobacco settlement
    dollarsTrains existing and new providers.
  • Connecticut
  • Provides ECMH consultation through partnership
    with Behavioral Managed Care organization
    Evaluation in process Involves full assessment
    of child and settings

ECCS Needs and Objectives
  • Increase partnership with primary health care
  • Create incentives for screening
  • Improve Medicaid screening, referrals, and
  • Increase priority of young children in mental
  • Create data systems that can track risk and need
  • Go from pilot projects to statewide
  • Increase capacity through training of providers
  • Use common screening tools
  • Develop common, shared referral mechanisms
  • Use family resource centers and home visiting for
    family support

Some Challenges
  • Tough and uncertain federal context
  • Multiple consultants to child care
  • Identifying and using evidence-based practices
  • Making fiscal policies fit with best practice
  • e.g. paying for screening for moms, for
    relationship-based treatment
  • e.g. overcoming mental health/physical health
  • Increasing work force capacity
  • Investing in research

Some Opportunities
  • Growth in state budgets
  • Push for school success by grade 3
  • Reduced child care churning
  • Increased recognition of the importance of
    healthy social-emotional development
  • Increase interest among state policy makers

Recent NCCP Publications
  • Resources to Promote S/E Heath and School
    Readiness A Community Guide
  • Spending Smarter (and Project THRIVE Issue Brief
  • Pathways to Early School Success Helping the
    Most Vulnerable Infants, Toddlers Families

Thank you!
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