Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child's well-being.

Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child's well-being.

Connecticut and National Resources

211 Child Development Infoline (CDI): CDI care coordinators provide information on development, behavior management strategies and programs, make referrals to services, and provide advocacy and follow-up as needed. By calling the toll-free Child Development Infoline # (1-800-505-7000), families, child care, health care and social service providers can access many of Connecticut’s programs and services available to children and their families.

2-1-1: Connecticut residents can dial 2-1-1, which is Connecticut’s free information and referral service. By simply dialing 2-1-1, a toll-free number throughout Connecticut, callers can reach knowledgeable, multilingual staff and get information, referrals or seek help in a crisis.

Birth to Three: The Birth to Three System helps families meet the developmental and health-related needs of infants and toddlers who have delays or disabilities. Parents and caregivers can call the Child Development Infoline (1-800-505-7000) and ask for an evaluation for their child, or download a Referral Form on the Birth to Three website ( There is also a list of Birth to Three programs for each town listed on the Birth to Three website. The town links will take you to a page of information about that town including which Birth to Three programs are available, as well as information about the school’s preschool special education contacts for transition when the child turns three years old.

Child First (Child and Family Interagency Resource, Support and Training): This home-based program focuses on prevention and early identification of at-risk children and their families. Child FIRST was developed by Darcy Lowell, a developmental pediatrician. Child First is an innovative evidence-based model which effectively decreases emotional and behavioral problems, developmental and learning problems, and abuse and neglect among very vulnerable young children (prenatal through age six years) and families.

Child Guidance Clinics: Child Guidance Clinics offer outpatient behavioral health services for children and families in Connecticut, providing intensive and comprehensive outpatient services to children ages 0-18 and their families, regardless of ability to pay. If the clinic does not provide services for infants and toddlers, they can link families to the appropriate services in the community.

Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs: Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs are those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional condition and need health and related services beyond that required for children in general. The Child Development Infoline (1-800-505-7000) can help families link to services in their communities.

Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP): The Early Childhood Consultation Partnership is a statewide program that is designed to offer Early Childhood Educators and Families, relationship based consultation services. These services focus upon the healthy social and emotional development of children birth to five. The overall services offered are based upon a continuum from brief phone consultation to center-based consultation to child-specific consultation. Interventions are largely determined by a collaborative effort of directors, teachers, support staff, families and consultants.

Early Childhood Special Education and Related Services: These services are provided to eligible 3-, 4- and 5-year-old children with disabilities who are entitled to a free appropriate public education in accordance with their individual needs as mandated by special education law. In Connecticut, special education services are provided by local and regional school districts. The Child Development Infoline (1-800-505-7000) can help families find their local or regional school district’s Preschool Special Education services to discuss the need for an evaluation.

Help Me Grow: Help Me Grow is a prevention program of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood. This program helps identify children at-risk for developmental or behavioral problems and connects these children to existing community resources. Families can also receive information on different topics related to their child’s development, such as managing difficult behavior, toilet training, sleep issues, promoting language development and typical developmental milestone information. Help Me Grow also has resources to help parents track their child’s development through the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) (For a Help Me Grow referral, call the Child Development Infoline at 1-800-505-7000.)

Minding the Baby (MTB): MTB is an intensive home visiting program for first-time young mothers and their families living in New Haven, Connecticut. This program brings together a home visiting team made up of a pediatric nurse practitioner and a licensed clinical social worker to promote positive health, mental health, life course and attachment outcomes in babies, mothers and their families. Mothers who are in their second or third trimester of pregnancy and are seeking prenatal care in one of the collaborating community health centers are typically invited to join the program.

The New Haven MOMS Partnership: The MOMS Partnership in New Haven continues their innovative interagency work to improve mothers’ access to services by engaging health, mental health and early childhood systems to fill gaps in service delivery needs to improve, pregnancy, birth and infant outcomes.

Nurturing Families Network: This program is a no-cost, voluntary program that provides information, guidance and assistance to first-time parents. Available through some 33 community agencies and birthing hospitals throughout Connecticut, the network offers home visiting services, access to parents support groups and community assistance.

For More Information on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Development:

Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University: Housed in a high-tech facility connected to a model early care and education program, the Center works to enhance the quality of early care and education by: 1) Conducting research and disseminating research findings; 2) Providing professional development opportunities to in-service and pre-service teachers; 3) Developing and disseminating training videos and video podcasts; and 4) Supporting teacher educators in preparing future early childhood teachers.

Connecticut Association for Infant Mental Health (CT-AIMH): The Connecticut Association for Infant Mental Health (CT-­AIMH) is a membership organization that provides statewide opportunities to enhance knowledge and promote a positive influence on the social-­emotional health and development of infants, young children and their families. CT-AIMH provides a set of competencies in infant mental health which lead to Endorsement in Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health®.

Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership (BHP): The CT BHP is a partnership that consists of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), ValueOptions® and a legislatively mandated Oversight Council. The BHP provides behavioral health services for Connecticut’s Medicaid populations, including children and families who are enrolled in HUSKY A & B, DCF Limited Benefit, Charter Oak Health Plan, Medicaid Low Income Adults (LIA) and Medicaid Fee-for-Service programs.

Connecticut Head Start Programs: Their website provides a list of all the Head Start programs in Connecticut (scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the list). Head Start is a child development program that serves children from birth to age 5 and their families. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Administration for Children and Families, programs are child-focused and have the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families. Early Head Start provides services for young children birth to 3 and their families. These programs have an income eligibility requirement.

Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC): The OEC was established in 2013 to coordinate and improve the various early childhood programs and components in the state to create a cohesive high-quality early childhood system. The OEC oversees a coordinated system of early childhood care, education and support. Their mission is to support all young children in their development by ensuring that early childhood policy, funding and services strengthen the critical role families, providers, educators and communities play in a child’s life.

Connecticut’s Network of Care for Behavioral Health: This website gives help to individuals, families and agencies concerned with mental health. It provides information about mental health services, laws and related news, as well as communication tools and other features.

Educating Practices in the Community Program (EPIC): This pediatric training program is based at the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut. EPIC informs pediatricians and their staff about critical children’s health issues including screening for early childhood mental health and developmental concerns.

Yale Center for Well Being for Women and Mothers: The Yale School of Medicine’s perinatal research team has investigated pathways and impacts of perinatal and maternal mental health. Their recently launched MOMba project seeks to improve mothers’ social support, promote healthy mother-baby interaction and increase social connectedness and community engagement through a social media application.

National Resources

American Academy of Pediatrics, Bright Futures Videos on Health and Wellness for Children    

Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive, An Early Care and Education Provider’s Guide for Developmental and Behavioral Screening

Center for Early Education and Development, University of Minnesota

Center for Social Emotional Foundation for Early Learning

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WatchMe! Celebrate Milestones and Sharing Concerns Training

Circle of Security

National Center for Children in Poverty

New York University Child Study Center

Postpartum Support International

Promoting First Relationships

The Pyramid Model Consortium

Strengthening Families

Technical Assistance Center for Social Emotional Intervention

World Association for Infant Mental Health – lists the affiliate states in the United States with their web addresses

Zero to Three