New York Center for Child Development is pleased to announce the three year renewal of its Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Treatment Program by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Program is a model demonstration project serving East and Central Harlem. The aim of the program is to improve the ability of early childhood providers to prevent, identify, and treat social, emotional, and behavioral issues in children under five and their families/caregivers; to reduce the impact of mental health problems; and be available to help coordinate mental health treatment across service systems.

Recent brain research has shown that the quality and consistency of early relationships and experiences significantly impact on the architecture of the brain, and effect the ability of young children to learn, on their sensory processing, on their ability to regulate themselves and on their ability to form relationships. Despite the compelling evidence, few services have been available to focus on social emotional issues of children under the age of 5 in New York City and New York State.

The Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Treatment Program aims to reach out to children and families in the institutions and communities where they live. The program provides on-site consultation and screening in community based institutions including a primary care setting where children are screened in well baby visits, three day care locations, a special education preschool and in two preventive service agencies. The program aims to reach children and families in the communities and institutions where they live and learn. The program also provides training to professionals across child serving systems to families, government officials and other community based institutions.

Gil Foley, Clinical Consulting Director of the NYCCD Grant Program reflected on the impact of the Grant:

“Through partnering with key service providers in Central and East Harlem this Grant Program provides these agencies, without any charge to the agencies or any of the families served, with highly trained and skilled psychologists to compliment their existing professional staff, conducts broad based mental health screenings and provides mental health intervention to eligible children/ families through a cross-system mobilization of existing funding streams as well as the funds from the grant. The Grant has enabled us not only to serve children and families but to also effect positive system transformation.

A forward looking collaboration with Settlement Health, a primary care clinic in East Harlem, has successfully brought mental health and pediatrics together in a manner easily accessible to families. When families bring their children for well baby visits, we are able, as an expanded part of a normal pediatric visit, to screen children beginning at 6 months of age for emerging social emotional challenges. Intervention with children and families at these early developmental moments has led to significant and moving help for children and families.

We have also been able to heighten awareness in families and in the child serving systems in the community of the impact of caregivers nurturing relationships on the forming brain of young children and the centrality of emotional well being through relationships. I think the Grant has enabled us at least in this community and in our community partnerships to seize this window of developmental opportunity with vigor!”

Gilbert M. Foley, Ed.D
Consulting Clinical Director,
NYCCD Early Childhood Mental Health Treatment
and Consultation Program.
Associate Professor,
School and Clinical Psychology,
Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology,
Yeshiva University

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Out of respect for the privacy of our children, the photos on this website are not of children in our programs.