October 14th, 2021
The First 5 Association, First 5 Center for Children’s Policy and The Children’s Partnership, together announce the release of a new detailed report titled, Addressing Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Needs: Opportunities for Community Solutions, that delves into the historical and escalating mental health needs of very young children, the current landscape, and the ways in which California, local agencies, and communities must bolster their support and resources in the wake of the pandemic and its potential impacts on child development.
Research shows that community-level programs are uniquely positioned to create long-lasting change at a local level, yet, existing programs for young children are often limited by a lack of resources, lack of workforce and lack of public understanding and political will. New state and federal funding in response to the pandemic have the potential to create significant change, but more must be done to ensure that these investments reach our youngest children in community-based settings that offer critical opportunities for prevention and early supports.
“This moment in history could be pivotal in the landscape of California’s early childhood mental health,” said Sarah Crow, Managing Director of the First 5 Center for Children’s Policy. “Though work is being done to support infant, toddler, and preschoolers at the community level, much more is needed to meet the demand for mental health supports and resources for children at this fundamental age.”
Using information from both program data of early-childhood and family serving programs and interviews with state leaders and program administrators and staff, the new report seeks to describe the wide range of community-based promotion, prevention and early identification and intervention programs for California infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
The report also provides a series of recommendations to build on work that has already been done to promote protective factors to reduce the effects of toxic stress and ACEs, in order to ensure that these investments reach California's youngest children in community-based settings that offer critical opportunities for prevention and early supports.
For the full report, go to: