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.

Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Services and Resources

This section lists Connecticut and national resources for infant/ early childhood mental health. To find more resources, please search the Resource Library as well as the section called,Help and Resources for Parents and Caregivers on the main website.

Connecticut Resources

211 Child Development Infoline (CDI): CDI care coordinators provide education 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 for children and their families.

2-1-1: Connecticut residents can call 2-1-1, which is Connecticut’s free information and referral service. Simply by 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.

Community Collaboratives: These are groups of service providers, advocates, and family members who meet together to help families find needed services and develop treatment plans with input from the family. Each of the Community Collaboratives has Care Coordinators and Family Advocates who work with families to help find the child’s service needs and the family’s choices for the kind of service they want. Families do not need to be DCF-involved or in HUSKY to get help from the Community Collaborative, but some services that are recommended may require enrollment in HUSKY or in DCF’s Voluntary Services program.

Child Guidance Clinics: There are 67 Child Guidance Clinics in Connecticut that offer outpatient behavioral health services for children ages 0-18 and their families, regardless of ability to pay. Child Guidance Clinics may not have staff qualified to service infants and toddlers and their families but referrals are still important to establish the need. The clinics will know who in the community is available to serve you.

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.

Birth to Three: The Birth to Three System helps families to 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 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 this website. The town links will then 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.

Help Me Grow: Help Me Grow is a prevention program of the Connecticut Children’s Trust Fund. This program helps to identify children at risk for developmental or behavioral problems and to connect 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. To get a referral to Help Me Grow, call the Child Development Infoline at 1-800-505-7000.

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 at 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.

Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs: Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) 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 at 1-800-505-7000 can help families link to services in their communities.

Educating Practices: This pediatric training program is based at The Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut, Inc.. Educating Practices informs pediatricians and their staff about critical children’s health issues including screening for early childhood mental health and development issues.

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 Dr. Darcy Lowell, a developmental pediatrician, and 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.

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 including 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 by helping mothers understand or wonder about what their baby is thinking.

Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP): The Early Childhood Consultation Partnership is a statewide program managed by Advanced Behavioral Health, ABH® and funded by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). There are 20 master’s-level Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants who are subcontracted by ABH® through 10 non-profit behavioral health care agencies throughout the state. The programs offer child/family, classroom, and child care center-based consultation to support the social and emotional health of young children.

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 when met can lead to Endorsement in Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health.

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.

Connecticut Head Start Programs: This is a list of all the Head Start programs in Connecticut (go 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 three and their families. These programs have an income eligibility requirement.

National Resources:

Head Start

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

Zero to Three

National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations 

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

Center for Early Education and Development, University of Minnesota

National Center for Children in Poverty

Talaris Institute

New York University Child Study Center

Strengthening Families

Center for Social Emotional Foundation for Early Learning

Promoting First Relationships