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9th Annual Early Childhood Mental Health Conference – “We Can’t Wait…”

September 13, 2018 - September 15, 2018

Course Description:

There is an urgent need to ensure that all children in all of our communities receive the help they need in order to grow, learn, and thrive.   Physicians, behavioral health providers, social workers, child welfare service professionals and educational providers are in a unique position to assist children and families who are experiencing physical, psychological, relational, and/or spiritual distress of migration and displacement due to armed conflict, violence, persecution, poverty, and disaster.

This 9th Annual Early Childhood Mental Health Conference (ECMH) will address the issues involved with serving children and families not typically well served by our systems, specifically immigrant and refugee families, Native American Families, African American families, military families, families led by grandparents, and families with LGBTQI+ members.  There is a growing awareness of the unique needs of these children and families.  This Conference will bring these people and their perspectives together to improve understanding, knowledge and expertise, and add to the growing ECMH community here in San Diego.

Sessions will feature clinicians and programs who have stepped up to the challenges of understanding and adapting clinical interventions to the cultural understandings of people from other continents.  Presenters will explore the unique challenges of serving children and families who have lost their homes and communities to war or disaster, have experienced trauma and excessive stress, and who now have settled in a foreign land.  In addition, attendees will examine the unique challenges grandparents and their grandchildren face as they work to overcome the loss of the children’s parents as caregivers (and children to the grandparents) and try to support the grandchildren in their healing and development.  Attendees will also explore the issues relevant to raising young children from the perspective of caregivers not yet well supported by the mental health systems, such as military families, LGBTQI+ led families, and foster children-turned parent families.

Saturday’s program will focus on topics related to the skills, knowledge, collaboration and cooperation that is needed between behavioral health providers and early childhood educators.  Early childhood educators spend a large amount of time with children and are in a unique position to notice their unique needs and intervene early. Specific areas to be covered include preschool suspension/expulsion and the impact on children and families, managing aggression and other challenging behavior in the classroom, prevention and recognition of child abuse and children at risk of abuse or neglect, creating positive discipline to support social-emotional competence, and engaging parents & creative teamwork between educators and behavioral health providers to support children.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this activity, the participants should be able to:

  • Discuss evidence based, cooperative strategies for how parents, family members, teachers and other can positively support a child’s developmental experience
  • Identify implications for partnerships between healthcare, education, behavioral health, probation and child welfare professionals to address children in need of services from diverse cultural/experiential backgrounds
  • Recognize the struggle and decisions that families go through to seek services, the needs that clients have, and the current best practices that engage children and families in services
  • Identify key components of assessment and intervention that are family-focused, culturally-sensitive, and strengths-based specific to region, population, group or culture of origin
  • Coordinate school support and behavioral health care for children who are not making academic or social/emotional progress at school as a result of trauma, toxic stress and/or development challenges

Target Audience:

The target audience includes those involved in providing assessment, treatment, education, support, and advocacy for children and families. Attendees will include: psychiatrists, pediatricians, marriage family therapists, social workers, psychologists, mental health workers, substance abuse and addiction professionals, counselors and case managers, nurses, teachers, early childhood educators, child care providers, family day care providers, mental health administrators and other healthcare and educational providers.



September 13, 2018
September 15, 2018
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