Announcing The Foundations of Infant Mental Health Training Project
In 2011, the Central California Children’s Institute (CCCI) at California State University, Fresno received a three-year contract for $450,870 from the Central Valley Regional Center, Inc. (CVRC) to support “The Foundations of Infant Family Mental Health Training Project”. This project was funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) in partnership with the California Department of Mental Health and Department of Developmental Services. CVRC contracts with the State of California, Department of Developmental Services, to provide assessment, evaluation, case management, programs, and activities for people with developmental disabilities. The CVRC serves as a fixed point of contact in the community for persons with developmental disabilities and their families, to the end that these persons may have access to the services and supports best suited to them throughout their lifetime.
With this funding, the Central California Children’s Institute developed and implemented a multi-county, multidisciplinary training program for professionals already working with families with young children. The training program provided basic infant-family and early childhood mental health (IFECMH) curricula to 320 practitioners of six to seven large public agencies in the CVRC six-county catchment area (Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Kings and Tulare counties). These trainings were directly responsive to the professional development needs of participating agencies, and also served to move attendees closer to meeting state-level endorsement in IFECMH, if desired.
"Families have enormous difficulty in weaving together the necessary services to meet their children's needs, and funding training opportunities that foster interagency collaboration is an important step towards simplifying the process and improving access for low-income families" said CVRC Executive Director, Robert Riddick.
"This grant helped to improve the organization and integration of care for children with special needs by enhancing professionals’ knowledge and skills, while encouraging linkages between the community-based service providers", said the CCCI Director, Dr. Cassandra Joubert.
During the first year of the project, the CCCI established an Interagency IFECMH Training Council which included representatives from the following participating agencies: County Offices of Education, Departments of Behavioral Health, Departments of Social Services, Regional Centers, and Children’s Services Networks.
After the one year planning period, the training program began in the fall of 2012. Eight training modules were offered each year for two years, and included both large didactic (lecture-style) methods as well as small, multi-agency reflective practice learning pods involving up to eight participants each. The pods were configured to represent varied disciplines and agencies. The learning pods were facilitated by members of the First 5 Fresno County Reflective Practice Mentor Group. First 5 Fresno County has also provided grant funds in the amount of $26,000 to the Central Valley Regional Center to support the project.
The final training session was held in May 2014.