OEC’s Commitment to Behavioral Health

OEC’s work touches the lives of families and young children in countless ways. Supporting behavioral health — a child or adult’s mental, physical, and spiritual health — is at the heart of what we do. Our programs achieve this in different ways.

Working with children and families

Our programs provide support — from birth to kindergarten and beyond.

Creating resources, trainings, and frameworks for professionals

We create tools and resources early childhood educators need to support their work with families.

Our new behavioral health initiative brings all these initiatives together. We want them to be easier for families and early childhood educators to use.

Support to families and children

Many of our programs offer tools, resources, and support to families and their children.

Doula project

  • Refers parents in home visiting programs to Doulas who can help during childbirth
  • Helps boost the confidence of expecting mothers and fathers and ensure healthy pregnancies
  • Builds and diversifies the Doula workforce

Mind Over Mood (MOMs)

  • Designed to support mental health among new mothers engaged in home visiting services
  • Links women who are struggling with mood and anxiety problems to clinicians specialized for this kind of work
  • Attempts to overcome barriers to treatment making valuable services more accessible to those that need them
  • Incorporates concepts and strategies that have been found to be effective into an integrated and flexible treatment approaches
  • Addresses unmet clinical needs of marginalized mothers who may be affected by trauma, socioeconomic stress, racial oppression and low social support
  • Learn about Mind Over Mood


  • Helps parents understand if their child is meeting developmental milestones
  • Free mobile Android and iOS app for families in English, Spanish, and Chinese
  • Allows parents and early childhood providers to message each other
  • Offers fun activities parents and children can do together
  • Based on the trusted Ages & Stages Questionnaires®
  • Learn about Sparkler

Resources for early childhood educators

OEC offers tools and collaborates with other agencies to help educators support the behavioral health of children and families

Connecticut Association of Infant Mental Health

  • Offers education, training, and expertise in infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH)
  • Supports a multi-disciplined IECMH workforce in their efforts to promote quality relationships between young children and their caregivers
  • Respects diversity, equity, and inclusion 
  • Holds a set of competencies that, once they are met, can lead to an endorsement in Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health®
  • Learn about the Connecticut Association of Infant Mental Health

Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP)

  • Strengths focused supports for children 0-5 and their caregivers at no cost
  • Consultants meet with childcare providers and families in childcare and home settings
  • Provides strategies to address children’s social, emotional, and behavioral concerns
  • Consultants provide a range of classroom and family childcare, child specific and training services
  • Learn about the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership

Head Start Collaboration

  • Promotes “school readiness” for children — helping kids get ready so they can succeed in school — and supports family wellbeing
  • Also supports children who have physical and developmental delays and other special needs
  • Includes Early Head Start (serving children up to age 3) and Head Start (serving children ages 3 to 5)
  • Open to families that meet income requirements or who are:
    • Experiencing homelessness
    • In foster care
    • Receiving public assistance (SSI, TANF, or SNAP)
  • Funded and monitored by the federal Office of Head Start
  • Learn more about the Head Start Collaboration

Insecure housing training and support

  • Helps professionals understand the impact of family homelessness on very young children
  • Focuses on how homelessness affects a child’s development
  • Emphasizes equity and raises awareness about the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • Watch a recording of our webinar on housing insecurity

Pyramid Model

  • Offers guidance on building social and emotional competence in young children
  • Provides strategies to build relationships, plan environments, and address challenging behaviors
  • Resources for programs to build a system of social and emotional supports
  • Learn about the Pyramid Model

Suspension and expulsion

  • Aims to reduce suspension and expulsion, practices that research shows impacts Black and Brown children more often
  • Provides information and guidance about policies addressing behavior and exclusionary discipline
  • Highlights resources available to programs working to address behaviors that they find challenging
  • Learn more on our Focus on Challenging Behavior page, which also includes the statement on exclusionary discipline
  • Find resources from our webinar about suspension and expulsion policies
Last updated April 4, 2024