Early Childhood Mental Health

New York Center for Child Development (NYCCD) was honored to receive a competitive grant from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to create an early childhood mental health model demonstration program. This program provides mental health screenings, referrals and treatment for children from birth through age five in East and Central Harlem. What makes the program innovative and critically important is its focus on the social-emotional development of young children, within the context of their relationships with their parents and professionals in a variety of settings that care for and educate them.

Recent scientific research has demonstrated that the quality of early childhood relationships shapes a child's brain architecture and has a significant impact on the ability of young children to learn, on their sensory processing, on their ability to regulate themselves, and on their ability to form relationships. It is also now clear that delay or impairment in social emotional functioning is a key underlying factor explaining delays in other areas of development. As a result of these scientific understandings, the social emotional development of infants and toddlers is now recognized as a critical focus in understanding and addressing challenges in early childhood development.

New York Center is committed to continuing and expanding its work in this vitally important field, which it views as a core element of its mission of promoting optimal outcomes for young children.

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“Children need a secure base, a caretaker who serves as an anchor for their exploratory forays into the world. Without that secure attachment, they’re not going to have that anchor and that’s going to vastly blunt their motivation, curiosity and exploratory behavior, which is going to impact on every area of development: language, cognition, motor development. The relationship really is the foundation.”

Dr. Gilbert Foley, EdD,
Clinical Director, NYCCD Mental Health Program
Professional Advisory Board Member

Out of respect for the privacy of our children, the photos on this website are not of children in our programs.