National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation

Core Content Knowledge

Core content knowledgeThere are several core areas of knowledge that are essential to providing effective consultation because they provide a foundation for identifying needs and developing appropriate strategies, which, in turn, fosters trust and confidence in the consultants' abilities. These core areas include a firm understanding of:

  • Infant and early childhood mental health, including the underlying causes of challenging and troubling behaviors
  • Child development, including typical versus atypical development
  • The realities of working in early childhood settings
  • Best practices, evidence-based practices and interventions related to infant and early childhood mental health
  • Cultural and linguistic competence, with particular attention to the cultures of the populations being served
  • Child, family, and early childhood service systems and community resources

Consultants should also be knowledgeable in specific areas that are relevant to populations they will be serving. For example, consultants working in HS/EHS settings should understand how to work with low-income families (Green, Simpson, Everhart, Vale, & Gettman, 2004). Further, it is important for consultants to be well-versed in Head Start's organizational culture. This includes having a firm grasp of the program's values, federal and local requirements, and organizational policies/procedures, as well as a clear sense of the roles of each HS/EHS staff member (e.g., Disabilities Services Coordinator, Family Services Coordinator). With this background, consultants can better assist programs in furthering program goals and avoid duplication or fragmentation of services.




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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation