Investing in the early childhood mental health workforce development: Enhancing professionals' competencies to support emotion and behavior regulation in young children
This paper delineates a preventive approach to early childhood mental health by preparing the workforce to provide relational, sensitive care to young children ages 0-5. One of the most prevalent issues in early childhood is behavioral challenges and the inability of young children to regulate themselves. This leads to an expulsion rate in early childhood (3-4 times higher than K-12 expulsion rate) and future mental health issues. The Early Childhood Social-Emotional and Behavior Regulation Intervention Specialist (EC-SEBRIS) graduate level certificate program was created to strengthen early care and education providers with the knowledge and practice of how to support emotion and behavior regulation in young children in their groups. Evaluation data provide evidence that early care and education professionals increased in their perception of self-efficacy and in their sensitivity of care and skills to support behavioral health in young children. Results indicated that the children in their care showed less challenging behaviors and increased social competencies. This manuscript highlights the importance of prevention and the dire need to provide young children with high-quality, appropriate care to support their mental health. (author abstract)
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