About Early Childhood Comprehensive Initiatives
The State Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) Initiatives are supported by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. MCHB provides grants to help support states to plan, develop, and implement collaborations and partnerships to support families and communities in their development of children who are healthy and ready to learn at school entry. There are 47 states in the process of implementing ECCS Initiatives.
The Five Core Components of ECCS are:
Access to Health Care and Medical Homes
Social-Emotional Development and Mental Health
Early Care and Education Services
Family Support Services
“Medical homes” provide comprehensive, integrated physical, mental, and health services for all children, including children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Many states are linking to medical home projects of the American Academy of Pediatrics and its member pediatricians. Some states are looking at expansions of health insurance coverage policies.
Early childhood mental health refers to the social and emotional health factors that influence young children’s development. Collaborative efforts are essential to identify social, emotional, and behavioral risks and intervene to prevent more serious mental health problems. States are implementing child care consultation, improved screening, and financing approaches for such services.
State maternal and child health agencies are working with partners in child care, Head Start, pre-Kindergarten, and other early learning programs to assure children are healthy and ready to succeed when they enter school.
Parenting education is intended to strengthen parents’ and other caregivers’ knowledge about how their actions affect child development and give them skills to help their child’s healthy development and school readiness. From brochures, to books in pediatric offices, to parenting classes, states are seeking effective ways to support parents in their role as the prime educators of their children.
The goal of “family support” initiatives is to help parents develop and use available resources that enable them to nurture and support the healthy development of their children. Family support services range from providing information about early learning, to helping families access benefits and connect with other families. State strategies focus on helping communities strengthen family support activities.