Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health

MAMH is committed to the prevention and early identification/treatment of behavioral health concerns in children in order to avoid developmental impacts and lifelong disability that can result from late or poorly treated social, emotional and psychiatric conditions. Symptoms of behavioral health conditions can arise as early as preschool and are often manifested as disruptive, externalizing behaviors. It is imperative that early childhood education centers respond appropriately to these behaviors, so as to not stigmatize young children unnecessarily. Unfortunately, the use of suspension and expulsion among preschool students has disproportionately affected students of color. MAMH supports legislation that would align with the joint policy recommendations of the US Departments of Health and Human Services and Education and the recently revised Head Start Program regulations, requiring the Department of Early Education and Care to issue performance specifications aimed at:

  • Setting goals for substantially restricting the use of suspension and expulsion
  • Ensuring that use of exclusion policies when necessary is free of bias and discrimination
  • Encouraging early education programs to access assistance to improve teacher skills and support individual children and their families to address behavioral health concerns without use of exclusionary disciplinary practices.