The ECMHP Story
The Early Childhood Mental Health Program (ECMHP) has been making a difference in the lives of young children and their families for over 40 years. Back in 1974, a group of parents of children with behavioral and psychological issues joined with teachers, social workers and community activists. Their goal was to provide the special care and guidance these challenged kids needed and deserved. Together, they formed a “Therapeutic Nursery School.” The agency was incorporated as a non-profit in 1983.
In the early days, one of Early Childhood’s board members wrote a personal check each month to make the agency’s payroll, and was reimbursed later when the money came in. Thankfully, today, Early Childhood has stable funding from federal Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California), which are funneled through the state and eventually Contra Costa County. Despite this, the need always exceeds our agency’s means.
Today, Early Childhood’s team has grown to about 35 therapists serving 40 families each day, and over 400 a year, offering a broad range of services to troubled children in West Contra Costa County. The agency still runs the Comprehensive Therapeutic Nursery, offers parenting classes and support groups, family and child therapy, and provides state-of-the-art training to early childhood professionals.
We are values-driven to help children and families in need right here in our local community. Our mission is:
…to foster healthy development in infants and young children who are at risk, abused, neglected, emotionally disturbed, or affected by family substance abuse, by providing comprehensive mental health treatment and early education services to them and their families.
ECMHP offers help for families whose lives are touched by violence, drugs, abuse, being homeless or hungry. These are the type of circumstances that can seriously harm a baby or young child. That’s because a child’s first two years of life can impact emotional health for years to come, even the child’s brain development.
Want to learn more? Contact us for more information about ECMHP.