Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Taskforce 


In 2022, the General Assembly directed the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to form a Taskforce to develop a plan to improve the promotion of social and emotional well-being of young children as well as screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health challenges for children from birth through age five with Medicaid coverage.   

EOHHS was pleased to have been asked to carry out this work, which we began with the help of an interagency team that had been working together since 2020 to write and implement the Rhode Island Behavioral Health System of Care for Children and Youth. We determined that this Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Taskforce would be a public/private entity connected with the System of Care Steering Committee we were creating, and the Plan would be a component of the broader System of a Care plan that was completed in 2022. 

The General Assembly gave EOHHS specific direction to develop an Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health plan that: 

  • Promotes developmentally appropriate screening, assessment, diagnosis, and evidence-based and evidence-informed parent-child dyadic therapies for children from birth 7 through age five (5). 

  • Identifies mental health promotion and prevention-related parenting support programs, particularly evidence-based or evidence-informed parent-child programs supporting social and emotional well-being. 

  • Allows effective screening, evaluation, and treatment over multiple visits with a qualified practitioner in various settings, including children’s homes, childcare and early learning programs, schools, and clinical and other professional settings. 

  • Establishes a registry of trained infant/early childhood mental health professionals that can be a resource across health care, education, and human service settings. 

  • Strengthens infant and early childhood mental health skills, knowledge, and practices of all providers who work with young children (birth through age five (5)) in health care, mental health care, early childhood, and child welfare service sectors. 

  • Addresses and responds to the intergenerational effects of racism, economic insecurity, and toxic stress that influence the health and mental health of parents/caregivers, babies, and young children. 

The Taskforce met monthly from November 2022 through May 2023, prioritizing community partner input on the topic areas listed below. The Taskforce also hosted six focus groups with parents/caregivers of young children. Then, EOHHS finalized the plan during the last two Taskforce meetings by refining the focus areas and strategies based on the focus group input and Taskforce feedback, along with hours of discussion to ensure clarity, consistency, and viability across the plan. 

  • Meeting 1: Introduction and Current State of IECMH in RI 

  • Meeting 2: Promotion 

  • Meeting 3: Prevention 

  • Meeting 4: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment 

  • Meeting 5: Workforce Development 

  • Meeting 6: Draft Recommendations – Round 1 

  • Meeting 7: Draft Recommendations – Round 2 

For more information, please contact Ellie Rosen at  

Rhode Island Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Taskforce Recommendations 

IECMH Taskforce Meeting Materials