Head Start Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

About Denver Health’s Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) Program

An ECMH consultant is a licensed mental health professional with expertise in early childhood mental health and social-emotional development. Consultation is a support for children, families, and school staff of Denver Great Kids Head Start programs. Denver Health’s Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation team has been supporting Denver Great Kids Head Start sites since July 2008.

ZERO to THREE defines infant and early childhood mental health (also known as social emotional health) as the developing capacity of the child from birth to five years of age to form close relationships, manage and express emotions, explore their environment, and learn. Parents and caregivers play a critical role in building children’s social emotional skills. When children and caregivers build these skills together early on, children are set up for success as they continue to grow and develop.

Children begin to develop social and emotional competencies early in life, and that development varies greatly. During this stage, children may begin to show bigger emotions, have more intense behaviors, and may struggle forming and navigating peer relationships – which in turn can overwhelm caregivers. Early childhood mental health consultation provides a number of benefits to young children and their caregivers during this time, including but not limited to: promoting healthy social-emotional development through learning critical skills that build self-regulation, empathy, and positive peer relationships; supporting caregivers with strategies to effectively address behavioral and emotional challenges in children, thereby reducing caregiver stress; supporting teachers with psychoeducation and tools to enhance positive learning environments, thereby reducing challenging behaviors in the classroom and teacher burnout; connecting families to additional community resources to enhance the support networks around them; and, most importantly, enhancing the long-term mental health and well-being of a child through this early intervention. Because of these known benefits, it is a federal regulation of Head Start to provide access to Early Childhood Mental Consultants. As a Denver Great Kids Head Start family and center, you have access to a Denver Health Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant.

If you have questions or concerns about your child's development, behaviors, or emotions and would like to receive additional supports for this, please contact your child’s school to get connected with a consultant. If you have concerns of your own and would like to connect with someone to discuss anything related to your experience as a caregiver, your current stressors or concerns, or your hopes and goals for your child, please reach out to us. We are a no-cost program that is funded by Denver Great Kids Head Start Colorado, Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC), and the Buell Foundation.


Meet the ECMHC Team

Learn more about our team here


Sites We Serve

  • Catholic Charities Early Learning
  • Volunteers of America Early Learning
  • Family Star Montessori Early Learning
  • Clayton Early Learning
  • The Z Place – Sewall Early Learning
  • Denver Public Schools – Early Education
    • McGlone
    • Pascual LeDoux Academy
    • Whittier
    • Smith
    • Samuels
    • Montclair
    • Escalante-Biggs
    • Ellis
    • College View
    • Beach Court

Additional Information and Resources

Services Provided

Denver Health is contracted to provide Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation through Child and Family-Focused Consultation, Classroom-Focused Consultation, and Program-Focused Consultation.

Child and Family-Focused Consultation: A service provided for individual children and families to enhance, support, and promote the social, emotional, and mental health of a child. A consultant works directly with those providing care to the child (parent, teacher) to enhance their capacity and competency through psychoeducation, skill-building, and support. Consultants will provide child-focused consultation after the referral form for Child and Family-Focused Consultation is completed.

Child and Family-Consultation services include:

  • Meeting regularly with caregivers and teachers to identify goals and strategies to address concerns
  • Supporting the teacher and caregiver in completing resiliency assessments to identify areas of strength and areas of focus
  • Attend school meetings that pertain to this child and family, as needed
  • Provide community resources and additional resources for social emotional development


Classroom-Focused Consultation: A service provided for classroom teachers to support and promote positive learning and social environments for young children. Consultants will provide classroom-focused consultation after the referral form for Classroom-Focused Consultation is completed.

Classroom-Focused Consultation services include:

  • Completing a classroom observation using the CHILD (Climate for Healthy Interactions for Learning & Development). The CHILD provides guidance for establishing mutual goals and seeks to improve the overall mental health climate of the classroom.
  • Attending collaborative meetings and/or team meetings that pertain to shared classroom goals
  • Modeling and providing social-emotional learning circles in the classroom


Programmatic Consultation Services: Programmatic Consultation focuses on improving the overall quality of the program.

Examples of how we support programs:

  • Train staff and parent (caregivers) on mental health related topics
  • Address programmatic issues and/or identify and address program needs
  • Design and implement early childhood mental health best practices within the program
  • Consult with the director, assistant director, administrative staff
  • Provide Relationship-Based Reflective Processing (RRP) to facilitate reduced job-related stress and improve capacity to navigate the emotional challenges of work, while developing reflective skills in Early Childhood Education Staff

Program Referral Forms

Child and Family Focused Referral - Parent Acknowledgement Form

Child and Family Focused Referral - Referring ECE Center

Spanish Child and Family Focused Referral - Parent Acknowledgement Form

Spanish Child and Family Focused Referral – Referring ECE Center

The SEL Support Corner

What is Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation?Que es Consulta de salud mental en la primera infancia

Bedtime routines / Rutinas a la hora de dormir / Wakhtiga Seexashada

The Impact of Technology on Children / El impacto de la tecnología en los niños / Saamaynta Teknooloojiyada ee Caruurta

The Importance of Play / Beneficios del juego para los niñosفوائد اللعب للأطفالጨዋታ ለህፃናት ያላቸው ጥቅሞች

Daily routines for parents / Rutinas diarias / Hawlmaalmeedka Maalintiiالروتينات اليوم / ዕለታዊ የዕለት ተዕለት ተግባራት 

Challenging Behavior for Teachers / Comportamientos desafiantes para maestros / Handhaqanka Xun Loogu talo geley Macalimiinta / ፈታኝ ባህሪ ለመምህራን / السلوك الصعب للمعلمن

What are the stages of child development? / ¿CUÁLES SON LAS ETAPAS DEL DESARROLLO INFANTIL? / WAA MAXAY HEERARKA KORNIINKA ILMUHU? / የልጆች እድገት ደረጃዎች ምንድን ናቸው?ما ي مراحل نمو الطفل؟


Denver Great Kids Head Start

Colorado Department of Early Childhood