Early Childhood Mental Health Program
Do you ever feel worried, concerned or confused about the children in your care? Are you concerned about talking with parents? Do you wonder what resources are available?
Our early childhood mental health consultants provide free services for early care and education providers who care for children from birth-5 years old. This service is provided through the Illinois Department of Human Services, in collaboration with Caregiver Connections and the statewide consultation program, which is available throughout Chicago and Cook County.
How A Consultation Works
Providers can call for consultation when they have concerns or questions about:
- Children’s behavior
- Social emotional development
- Overall development
- General inquiries about young children’s mental health
- Engaging parents
- Need for additional resources
A consultant will return your call within three business days. During the Orientation phase, you and the early childhood mental health consultant will talk about what to expect from the consultation experience. Consultants assist providers, children, and the families they serve while respecting the individual needs of each party.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much does your program cost? This free service is provided through the Illinois Department of Human Services, in collaboration with Caregiver Connections and the statewide consultation program and Illinois Action for Children, which is available throughout Chicago and Cook County.
- Are the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants part of DCFS? No. However, according to Illinois statues, child care providers and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants are mandated reporters and must report suspected child abuse and neglect to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) hotline.
- Can you conduct individual observations on a child? Yes. A parent or guardian must sign a consent form before we can observe a child individually. We also conduct general observations of children and classrooms without parental consent.
- Do you share information with the school district? The only time we share information with a school district is when a parent or guardian has signed a ‘release of information’ form from the school district.
- Do you evaluate children? No. If an evaluation or assessment is need, we help families locate the appropriate services.
- Do you provide therapy for children and families? No. We help families locate counseling, mental health services or resource when these services are required.
- Do any of the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant speak Spanish? Yes.
- Are your services confidential? Yes. We work with providers to protect their confidentiality and the confidentiality of the children and families.