Early Childhood Mental Health

Early Intervention and Prevention Services are available for ages kindergarten or younger. Children with symptoms including aggression, anxiety, angry outbursts, self-harm and sexual acting-out may benefit from services. In addition, children with significant trauma such as exposure to domestic violence or death of a parent may benefit from an evaluation. Services may be beneficial for children with adjustment-related stressors such as parents' divorce or foster care placement.

Children may not qualify for services if their behaviors are developmentally expected, such as tantrums that last five-to-ten minutes, separation anxiety, lack of self-control and impulsivity under the age of 3, or behaviors that are related to minor adjustments or related to primary autism, sensory, or developmental concerns. Services may not be indicated for symptoms related to minor adjustments like the birth of a sibling or family's move to a new home.

Symptoms for Eligibility

Children eligible for Early Intervention and Prevention services have symptoms that affect their functioning at home, school or in the community:

  • Attachment difficulties:
    • Extreme separation anxiety
    • Goes to everyone, is friendly with strangers
    • Lack of independence after age of 3
    • Not turning to parent for comfort
    • A parent feels the child has no closeness to the parent
  • Poor functioning in daily routines:
    • Bathing
    • Difficulty with sleeping
    • Eating
    • Participation in family routines
    • Toileting
  • School difficulties:
    • Can't sit still
    • Difficulty listening
    • Non-compliance
    • Not talking or asking questions
    • School refusal
    • Unable to follow school routines or transitions
    • Unproved aggression
  • Social difficulties:
    • Extreme shyness with adults and/or peers
    • Impulsive/aggressive behavior
    • Unable to relate to peers