Vision, Successes, and Benchmarks
Early Childhood Mental Health VA (Birth to Eight)


Development of a comprehensive system of care for infant and child mental health serving children birth through age eight and their families/caregivers, which:

  • Engages parents as partners;
  • Provides high quality supports and services to families;
  • Is grounded in developmental knowledge;
  • Includes family and child centered practices and policy & cultural and linguistic competence;
  • Is infused into natural settings and services & relationship based;
  • Utilizes evidence-based practices;
  • Is linked to the substance abuse, domestic  violence and court systems;
  • Assures comprehensive mental health services for infants and toddlers in foster care and to the highest risk/most vulnerable infants and young children & their families in Virginia


To build a state early childhood mental health system of care infrastructure and a plan to sustain system.


Collaboration/Public Awareness/Policy:

  • Established the Infant & Child Mental Health Committee of Virginia (ICMHC) with scheduled quarterly meetings (2007).
  • State by State Review of ECMH (2007) and initial recommendations identified (early 2008). Funded by Head Start State Collaboration Office.
  • Developed Vision Statement (2007). Goals, strategies and anticipated outcomes developed (2007-2008). Action Plan finalized (early 2009).
  • Established 4 ECMH work groups focused on Professional Development & Parent Support, Growing the VAIMH, Endorsement Implementation and Policy/Public Awareness (2007).
  • Adopted Michigan’s Infant Mental Health Association’s “Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health Competency Guidelines and Endorsement for Virginia(October 2009). Initial 3 year License agreement funded through DBHDS Early Intervention (2009-2012) and annual renewals thereafter by the VAIMH (2013 and ongoing).
  • Decided ECMH efforts should focus on social and emotional supports/services for any child regardless of diagnoses vs. developing different strategies by diagnoses (2009).
  • Developed and administered private early childhood mental health provider survey (2009).
  • Developed CSB early childhood mental health provider survey  with DBHDS Evaluator (2009-2011) and administered (2011) with approval by the VACSB and under the letterhead of DBHDS Assistant Commissioner.
  • Virginia affiliate of the World Association for Infant Mental Health (VAIMH) established April 2010 with Board of Directors, By-Laws, Regular Meetings, new member process etc. (December 2010).
  • Standard ECMH display developed by the ECMH Professional Development Work Group for use at trainings, conferences, special events (2011)
  • Decision by ICMHC to change name to Early Childhood Mental Health Virginia (Birth to Eight) in 2012 and end the ICMHC and replace it with an ECMH VA Advisory Board in early 2013.
  • State Early Childhood Mental Health Coordinator position funded collaboratively by 3 State agencies (VDOE, VDSS State Head Start Collaboration Office, DBHDS/Early Intervention) (2/10/12).
  • Funding provided to State ECMH Coordinator to support ECMH efforts in state (VDOE,  DBHDS Early Intervention)(2012)
  • Beginning Linkage to DBHDS Virginia Children’s Mental Health System of Care Plan (2012)
  • ECMH Coordinator serves on Advisory group for federal grant & other committees to connect our work
  • Invited to have a display table @ annual Children’s MH Awareness Day events
  • Meetings between ECMH Coordinator & System of Care Grant Coordinator
  • Doing What Works Grant application approved (April 2012). VDOE Grantee. Brings CSEFEL Pyramid Model & Doing What Works to one public school system in VA.
  • Held an ECMH Policy Summit for key legislators and early childhood administrators resulting in a set of ECMH recommendations for Virginia funded by 13 state agencies or programs in Virginia (September 2012).
  • Collaboration with 6 DSS Social Emotional Pilot Sites (ARRA Funded). Identified lessons learned and strategies to link to state efforts (2012).
  • Established the Early Childhood Mental Health Virginia Advisory Board (birth to age 8) in 2013 as the state entity representing early childhood mental health in Virginia. It includes the Virginia Association for Infant Mental Health focused on children birth to age three in Virginia. The Advisory Board is a cross discipline, cross agency collaborative board focused on early childhood social emotional development. Meets monthly (effective March 2013).
  • Website domain name identified and application made and approved ( (2012). Working to develop website for ECMH information including the Infant Mental Health Competencies and Endorsement by (November 2013).
  • Department of Social Services Infant Toddler Social Emotional Project (developed in 2012; funding effective September 2013).
  • Department of Health Early Childhood Comprehensive Services Infant Toddler Social Emotional Project (Federal grant application developed May-June 2013; funding (effective August 2013).
  • Collaboration with the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the 30 Smart Beginnings Coalitions regarding ASQ-3 and ASQ-SE Screening efforts as part of the DSS SE project established (2013).
  • Beginning efforts to identify a set of ECMH data indicators for Virginia (Effective June 2013).
  • Collaboration with the Home Visiting Consortium. Link to ECMH initiative included as a goal in the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan. State Early Childhood Mental Health Coordinator serves as Goal Leader. Looking at how Healthy Families Training requirements align with the Infant Mental Health Endorsement Competencies. Initial meeting scheduled (October 2013).
  • Established funding to train on and integrate a “Continuous Quality Improvement” (CQI) process into the work of the ECMH VA Advisory Board (Birth to Eight) (2013).


  • Social-emotional development evidence-based conceptual framework for training in Virginia identified and approved as Virginia’s model (CSEFEL Pyramid Model) (August 2009).
  • Linkage with national technical assistance (CSEFEL/TACSEI, Zero to Three, NPDCI, NAEYC) (2009-2013)
  • Initial CSEFEL Train the Trainer, Train the Coach, and Train the College Faculty events
    • Institute of Higher Education Retreat included 2 day CSEFEL Training (April 2008)
    • 45 participants trained to integrate CSEFEL model and materials into college courses (March 2011)
    • 50 participants trained on Infant/Toddler materials (birth to two) (Fall 2011)
    • 50 participants trained on Preschool materials (two to five) (Fall 2011)
    • 35 participants trained as CSEFEL Coaches (birth to five) (Summer 2012)
    • 38 participants trained as CSEFEL Trainers (birth to three) through DSS and ECCS SE Projects. (October 7-9, 2013) Richmond
  • Social-Emotional Development of Young Children online training module developed for Virginia by National CSEFEL Master Trainer (2011-2012).
  • State Regional training structure identified (VCPD) which will be used for all ECMH state sponsored training (2012-2013).Provider training held in conjunction with the ECMH Policy Summit for 100 childcare providers on 2 different topics (CSEFEL Pyramid Model and Reflective Supervision) (September 2012).
  • Leadership Team for Developmental Screening identified and initial meeting held. (For those agencies or projects who have self-selected the ASQ-3 and/or ASQ-SE for their screening tool, look at ways to work together to share resources and coordinate efforts in Virginia and support screening in the social and emotional area of development) (October 2013).
  • Partnering with DMAS to look at ways to support reimbursement through Medicaid for ECMH services and those provided by VAIMH Endorsed professionals. Initial meeting held (March 2012) and 2nd meeting held (September 2013).

Mental Health Competencies & Endrsement:

  • Infant Mental Health competencies and endorsement system for Virginia identified (2009);
  • Funding identified and License Agreement in place with Michigan’s AIMH to use their competencies & endorsement system Initial 3 year initial license funded with Part C Early Intervention funds, renewable annually thereafter by the Virginia Association for Infant Mental Health (2009).
  • 9 Virginia candidates identified to go through the endorsement with Michigan for endorsement at clinical levels II, III & IV and policy level IV for endorsement to serve as Virginia’s initial endorsement cohort (2011-2013).
  • To begin accepting Virginia IMH Endorsement applications for Levels I and II  for 20 early childhood professionals (4 in each of the 5 PD regions) funded by the DSS and ECCS SE Projects (Endorsement fees and Reflective Supervision costs).  Reflective Supervision provided by currently endorsed level II-IV professionals (November 2013).
  • National reflective supervision expert (Dr. Doug Davies) contracted to provide reflective supervision to initial endorsement cohort and mentor endorsed VA candidates who will provide reflective supervision to future VA endorsement candidates (2011-2015).
  • Funding identified and License Agreement in process with Michigan’s AIMH to use their Endorsement Application System (EASY) which is a web-based tool for applicants to create a (paperless) professional portfolio for the VAIMH Endorsement® (A 3 year initial license funded by Virginia Department of Health and renewable annually thereafter by the Virginia Association for Infant Mental Health) (2013).


Collaboration/Public Awareness/Policy Benchmarks:

  • Identify funding opportunities that support the vision and focus of ECMH VA (beginning 2007) using the ECMH VA Advisory Board as the stakeholder group (beginning 2013 & ongoing)
  • Hold an ECMH event every 2 years beginning  in 2012
    • Plan ECMH Institute for Spring 2014
  • Gain not for profit status for the VAIMH [501(c) (3)]. Application filed in December 2012. Notification pending.
    • ECMH website is developed and initial items posted by November, 2013.
    • Endorsement information, application, list of endorsed candidates in VA by November 2013
    • VAIMH information, meeting schedule & summaries, Board members, application, benefits to joining etc. by December 2014
    • Training Calendar by January 2014
  • ECMH Trainer and Coach Certification process identified and used in DSS SE and ECCS SE Projects and any funded projects thereafter by October 2013 and ongoing
  • Membership of the VAIMH increases to 100 members by the end of December, 2013.
  • Identify VAIMH Chapters (align with PD Consortiums & DSS Pilot Communities) by March 2014.
  • Integrate ECMH strategies into the DBHDS Children’s Mental Health System of Care Plan for Virginia by 2014.
  • Explore relationship between the Healthy Families training requirements for Home Visitors and the IMH Competencies and Endorsement by 2014
  • VAIMH Level I Endorsement Competencies are integrated into the Department of Social Services approved training for childcare providers and other early childhood systems by 7/31/2015.
  • Identify existing methods of Medicaid reimbursement for social emotional screening and early childhood mental health services by 2015.
  • Coordinate efforts of state and local agencies/programs that have self-selected the use of the ASQ-3 and/or ASQ-SE as their screening tool to ensure screening of social & emotional development, coordination of efforts, sharing of resources and lack of duplication by July 31, 2015.

Training Benchmarks (Trainers):

  • Identify existing CSEFEL trainersin Virginia and which of the five Professional Development (PD) Consortium(s) they want to be aligned with by July, 2012.  Ongoing
  • Preschool Social Emotional Training on the CSEFEL Pyramid Model are provided to preschool special education and elementary education providers in a targeted area in Virginia with a high preschool expulsion rate due to challenging behavior per the Doing What Works Grant deliverables by October 2013.
  • Train the Trainer Training on CSEFEL Infant/Toddler Pyramid Model  and CSEFEL Train the Coach Training will be provided to targeted Trainers from the following networks by July 31, 2015:
    • Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network
    • Early Head Start (T/TA providers; MH Coordinators or other identified person)
    • VDOE Special Education T/TAC providers
    • VDOE State Directed Project members
    • VSQI Mentors
    • Early Intervention System staff (minimum of one per local system)
    • Child Care Aware® of Virginia (previously known as Virginia Resource and Referral Network);
    • Home Visiting Consortium
    • Health Providers
    • Targeted ECE leaders in all settings
  • Contact  early care and education program leaders to determine how many  programs already trained to use the ASQ and ASQ-SE in Virginia  are regularly screening social emotional development with the ASQ and ASQ-SE in their programs  and  how the SE screening information is being used by the program/provider by July 31, 2015. (Survey administered as part of the DSS SE Project and results reported to the 30 Smart Beginnings Coalitions to use in their individual Screening Plans for their coalition).
  • Train the Trainer Training and Train the Coach Training on ASQ-3 will be provided to targeted Trainers within the Smart Beginnings Coalitions in Virginia and other networks that work with early care and education providers by July 31, 2015
  • Train the Trainer Training and Train the Coach Training on ASQ-SE will be provided to targeted Trainers within the Smart Beginnings Coalitions in Virginia that work with early care and education providers by July 31, 2015.

Training Benchmarks (Providers):

  • Infant/Toddler Social EmotionalTraining on the CSEFEL Pyramid Model(Levels 1 & 2) are provided to early care and education providers in each of the five Professional Development (PD) Consortiums in Virginia by July 31, 2015.
  • ASQ-3 and ASQ-SE training for those providing services to infants and toddlers is provided in the five Professional Development (PD) Consortiums beginning 2014 and annually thereafter.   

Mental Health Competencies & Endorsement Benchmarks:

  • Extend current agreement with Reflective Supervisor (Doug Davies) beyond June 2012 to provide supervision to newly endorsed Virginia Level III & IV professionals as they supervise other infant mental health endorsement candidates &/or professionals in Virginia no later than January 2014.
  • Grow the capacity for Reflective Supervision in Virginia to have at least 5 Reflective Supervisors and at least 1 available to provide this to all 5 regions of Virginia by December 2013.
  • Endorsed professionals (Levels II-IV) are linked to a Reflective Supervision Mentor to support them in their role as a Reflective Supervisor while they provide Reflective Supervision to other early childhood professionals in the process of completing the requirements to receive the IMH Endorsement in Virginia by January 2014.
  • Identify and makeavailable a list of training needed by Level I & II Infant Mental Health Endorsement candidates to fulfill their required training competencies (where to get the training, how to ensure it is available on an ongoing basis for future candidates as well as identify the training VAIMH would like to sponsor) by January 2014 and annually thereafter.
  • 20 early childhood providers/supervisors serving children birth to age three are identified and approved to complete Level I or II of the Virginia Association for Infant Mental Health (VAIMH) Endorsement in each of the five Professional Development Consortium regions beginning January 2014 and annually thereafter.