Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

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Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

GCESC Mental Health Services includes a team of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health professionals providing multi-tiered prevention, intervention and treatment services, professional development and technical assistance to the Miami Valley region. These services support the social-emotional, behavioral and mental health of children ages 0-8 (PreK-2nd grade) using a team based approach to address the barriers to school success early and often.

What is Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation?

The Ohio Model of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMH-C) teams mental health professionals with those who work with young children and their families to improve their social-emotional and behavioral health and development. IECMH-C builds the capacity of providers and families to understand the powerful influence of their relationships and interactions on young children’s development. Children’s well-being is improved and mental problems are prevented or reduced.

IECMH-C includes skilled observations, adaptive strategies, and early identification of mental health challenges. The Ohio Model of IECMH also includes strengthening of the teacher-family relationship and connecting young children, teachers, and families to additional mental or behavioral health services. The amount of time a consultant spends with a program/teacher varies based on need.  Research shows IECMH-C is effective in increasing children’s social skills, reducing children’s challenging behavior, preventing preschool suspensions and expulsions, improving child-adult relationships, and identifying child concerns early, so that children get the support they need as soon as possible. In addition, IECMH-C reduces teacher stress, burnout, and turnover.

Healthy social and emotional development plays a key role in a child’s ability to enter kindergarten ready to learn. In order to succeed, a child needs to function within group settings, interact positively with peers and adults, control impulses, exhibit self-confidence and be willing to take risks in learning new and often challenging tasks. IECMH-C helps early care and learning providers and families meet the social, emotional and developmental needs of young children by building protective factors with a culturally sensitive, strength-based approach.

Grace Schoessow | MS, OIMHP-III, ECMH-C

Grace
Grace Schoessow, MS, OIMHP-III, ECMH-C, leads the Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Program at the Greene County Educational Service Center. She provides IECMH training and program level consultation in the Miami Valley region, and directs the efforts of IECMH Team. Grace has 20+ years of experience working with families of young children with complex needs and their multidisciplinary teams in home, school and community settings. She is an Infant Early Childhood Mental Health subject matter expert and holds the Ohio Credential for Infant Mental Health Professional- Level 3, the Ohio Early Childhood Mental Health Professional Credential and Ohio Trauma Informed Practitioner certification. She is a Triple P Positive Parenting, Positive Behavior Interventions & Support (PBIS) and IECMH Ohio Approved Master Trainer. Grace collaborates with local, state, and national partners to expand IECMH services to ensure safe and supportive learning environments where all children can thrive. She works to strengthen cross systems efforts to put policies, programs and practices in place to promote childhood mental health by ensuring schools are safe, teachers are well, families are connected and children/students are healthy and engaged. She works in conjunction with the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services’ Whole Child Matters Initiative to expand the reach of Infant Early Childhood Mental Health in Ohio; and collaborates to innovate and share what works at the local level. 

Elizabeth Smith | MA, OIFP-II, ECMH-C

Beth Smith
Beth Smith, MA, ECMH-C, is the Early Childhood Mental Health Supervisor and holds the Early Childhood Mental Health Professional Credential through the State of Ohio. She has over 20 years of experience working in the early childhood field with a background in social work and conflict resolution. Beth provides reflective supervision to IECMH consultants on the team, onsite or virtual early childhood mental health consultation services for early learning environments and the families they serve, along with professional development training for staff. As a fellow early childcare professional, she shares a commitment to providing children with a safe and healthy start to life and knows by working together we can face the challenges. She is dedicated to providing support and encouragement to staff and the families they serve as they strengthen their understanding of the importance of family involvement as their child’s first teacher, and in their child’s early development and education. Healthy social and emotional development plays a key role in a child’s ability to enter kindergarten ready to learn. Each child deserves the opportunity to learn to function within group settings, interact positively with peers and adults, control impulses, exhibit self-confidence and be willing to take risks in learning new and often challenging tasks. As an IECMH Consultant, Beth shares her knowledge, passion and expertise to help children succeed.

Melanie Estes | OIFP-II, BA, LPN

Melanie Estes | OIFP-II, BA, LPN
Melanie Estes, OIFP-II, BA, LPN, is a prevention specialist with a BA in Psychology from Wright State and a nursing license. She has worked in various medical office settings and spent five years as a Program Director training future medical assistants. Melanie is a facilitator, trainer and consultant on the IECMH team, and works behind the scenes managing grant projects, prevention work and data analysis. She is a HOPE Champion focusing on mitigating Adverse Childhood Experiences through mental health prevention and promotion.

Lindsay Green | M.Ed., OIFP-II

Lindsay Green | M.Ed., OIFP-II
Lindsay Green, M.Ed., ECMH-C, OIFP-II, is a licensed Early Childhood Intervention Specialist and has her Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Credential, Ohio Infant Mental Health Credential OIFP-II (Ohio Infant Family Practitioner Level II), and is an Ohio Approved Professional Registry Trainer. Lindsay is a PBIS Master Trainer and specializes in Social Emotional Development. She has seventeen years of experience working with children and families, as a Kindergarten teacher, an Intervention Specialist (2nd grade) and home care provider. Lindsay is a life-long learner who embraces the joy of education and the need for wellness. As an IECMH Trainer and Consultant, she is dedicated to helping others see relationship-building as the foundation of education; and to support children, caregivers, and educators in having access to the best possible services to support student success.

Kayla Hairston | OIFP-II, MPH, CHES

Kayla Hairston | OIFP-II, MPH, CHES
Kayla Hairston, MPH, OIMPH-III, OCPS, CHES, is an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant at the Greene County Educational Service Center. She brings to the team a public health background and the skill-set of being a Prevention Specialist, a Certified Health Education Specialist as well as a Certified Coach recognized by the International Coaching Federation. Kayla is very passionate about empowering others to be advocates of their life journeys; and is dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health that stand in the way of future success.

Lillian McCree | M.Ed, IS, ECMH-C

Lillian McCree
Lillian McCreeM.Ed, IS, ECMH-C,  Trauma Informed Care-III, is the Family & Community Partnership Liaison.  In her role she shares her wealth of experience by supporting families as they navigate the education and behavioral health systems, while helping the systems better respond to the needs of families. Lillian is a US Air Force veteran and has served as a mental health specialist; an intervention specialist; a child protective caseworker; and college advisor & adjunct instructor. Lillian is part of the Early Childhood Mental Health consultation team, and works to build capacity for effective family engagement among area school districts. With her support, school districts and ESCs can foster transformative partnerships with families and their communities to improve student wellness, increase family engagement, and serve the whole child.

Mindy Nickles | MSW, LISW, ECMH-C, OIMHP-III

Mindy Nickles | MSW, LISW, ECMH-C, OIMHP-III
Mindy NicklesMSW, LISW, ECMH-C, OIMHP-III, is an Early Childhood Mental Health consultant. She is an Ohio licensed independent social worker and holds the Ohio Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH-C) and the Ohio Infant Mental Health Professional (OIMHP-III) credentials. She has been working with children and families for almost 20 years. She previously worked as a treatment coordinator in therapeutic foster care as well as a case manager for Head Start. In addition to her role with the ESC, she is also a part-time certified Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral therapist for an outpatient mental health agency providing intake and assessment as well as counseling services. She is dedicated to working with children, families, educators, and staff to help support and promote the overall social and emotional development of children. She firmly believes that the foundation to doing so is ensuring the establishment of connections and relationships with staff, families, and programs to aid in building their capacity to manage the mental health challenges among the children they serve.

Brandi Pavlansky

Brandi Pavlansky
Brandi Pavlansky, CTis a prevention specialist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science of Middle Childhood Education through Ohio University and is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of Dayton. She has 8 years of experience working with students and families, as a teacher, coach, and activities advisor. Brandi is a life-long learner who has a passion for acting as a change agent through her roles in the helping professions. Her goals include continuing work that ensures support for children, caregivers, and educators in access to resources and services that promote overall wellness and education throughout their communities. 

Kelly Schumann | LISW-S, ECMH-C, OIMHP-III

Kelly Schumann | LISW-S, ECMH-C, OIMHP-III
Kelly Schumann, LISW-S, ECMH-C, OIMHP-III, is an Ohio Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant (ECMH-C), and holds the Ohio Infant Mental Health Professional (OIMHP-III) credential. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker with Supervision Designation with 18 years of experience working with children, families, and caregivers. Kelly has provided outpatient behavioral health treatment in both community mental health and private practice settings. As a clinician, she is trained to deliver evidence-based treatment modalities, with a focus on strengthening the protective factors of children and their grown-ups. Currently, Kelly offers IECMH consultation serving the child, family, classroom and programmatic levels. She believes in the importance of relationships, promoting positive childhood experiences, and supporting adults as they take on the essential role of nurturing the children in their lives.

Audrey Shirk | MSW, LSW, OIFP-II

Audrey Shirk
Audrey Shirk, MSW, LSW, OIFP-II, ECMH-C, is a licensed social worker in Ohio with a Master of Social Work and the Ohio Infant Mental Health Credential OIFP-II (Ohio Infant Family Practitioner Level II) and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant Credential. She provides IECMH Consultation and School-Based Early Childhood Mental Health therapy to local school districts and regional partners. Audrey has a passion for program level consultation and policy, plus a love of play based treatment services. Her professional experience in Early Childhood settings, the YMCA Child Care Centers and Head Start, informs her work as a valuable member of the IECMH Team.

Carrie Taylor | BSW, M.Ed., OIMHP-III, ECMH-C

Carrie Taylor | BSW, M.Ed., OIMHP-III, ECMH-C
Carrie Taylor, BSW, M.Ed., OIMHP-III, ECMH-C, holds the Early Childhood Mental and Infant Mental Health credential for the state of Ohio as well as an Ohio Teaching and Intervention Specialist license. She has a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and a master’s degree in Education, and has been working with children and families for 16 years in a variety of settings. Carrie is an IECMH consultant on the early childhood mental health team working with public schools and private childcare centers in the area providing virtual and onsite services. She has expertise in a variety of Social Emotional and Behavioral Evidence Based Programs, including PAX partner for elementary schools/districts and Triple P, and as an ABA therapist providing at-home therapy with children with autism. Carrie’s extensive experience also includes work as a child advocate, preschool teacher and pediatric/medical social worker. Carrie also volunteers as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) where she advocates in the court system for a child’s best interest. Carrie is passionate about working with children, families and teachers to promote social and emotional development of young children.  

Libby Wagner | BSW, M.Ed, ECMH-C

Libby Wagner
Libby Wagner, BSW, M.Ed, ECMH-C, OIMHP-III, has been working to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and families for over 16 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in Social Work as well as a Master’s in Education specializing in School Counseling.  Her experience includes work in child protective services, pediatric/medical social work and as an Elementary School Counselor. Libby is a consultant on the Early Childhood Mental Health team providing public schools with virtual and onsite services.  She is trained in a variety of evidence based programs and treatment modalities, including the Zones of Regulation, Responsive Classroom and the Open Circle Curriculum. Libby is passionate about building classroom teachers' capacity to support the social and emotional development of their students.
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