Evaluation of Mental Health Consultation in Child Care Centers
- Cite this article as:
- Alkon, A., Ramler, M. & MacLennan, K. Early Childhood Education Journal (2003) 31: 91. doi:10.1023/B:ECEJ.0000005307.00142.3c
Mental health professionals have speculated that their consultation services should improve the overall quality of a child care center, but few research studies have shown this effect in child care settings. In the present study, mental health consultation services were provided by four agencies to 25 urban child care centers to enhance children's emotional lives and social abilities, and to strengthen child care center staff's capacity to work with children who have difficult behaviors. A one-year evaluation was conducted to assess the impact of the mental health services on the teachers and child care centers using observational measures, director- and teacher-completed questionnaires, and qualitative focus group data. Centers with more than one year of consultation showed increases in overall quality, teachers' self-efficacy, and teachers' competence. In addition, staff expressed satisfaction with the mental health consultation services provided. Implications of findings and suggestions for future interventions are discussed.