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Helping States With Social-Emotional and Behavioral Health


Robin McWilliam Consulting is available to help states address state policies to promote social-emotional and behavioral health of young children in child care settings, in partnership with families. A memo issued on September 8, 2015, by the Office of Child Care in the Administration for Children and Families (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) provided recommendations to states’ lead agencies as they prepare their Child Care and Development Fund state plans.

I have the resources to help with some of these recommendations.

Supporting Families

The memo says, “ACF recognizes that strategies to attain improved outcomes for young children must include parents and families. Supporting families, through a two-generation strategy, is central to fostering children’s social-emotional and behavioral health.”

I can help states write policies to address supporting families. Specifically, I have developed practices that help families identify their specific needs—a task families cannot easily do when asked directly. Furthermore, I have strategies for working with families in a consultative manner, using adult-learning principles. These strategies result in empowered and knowledgeable families.

Social-Emotional Development

According to the OCC memo, “Research indicates that the social-emotional development of young children is a central component of development. Children learn through social interactions with the adults and peers in their lives; this is especially true for very young children.”

My research on child engagement has led to the development of the Engagement Classroom Model, which promotes children’s participation, independence, and social relationships in group-care settings. I can provide guidance in policy development, training, and implementation planning to promote engagement, focusing on social-emotional engagement.

In-Service Professional Development

“Requiring Social-Emotional and Behavioral Health In-Service Professional Development: States should ensure that early childhood staff have opportunities for continuous professional development (through training, coursework, coaching, and mentoring) that includes the knowledge and skills to promote children’s social-emotional and behavioral development, implement positive behavior management, conduct regular screenings, and refer children for evaluations and further services, as appropriate.”

Workshops are workshops, which raise awareness and increase some knowledge. Training is training, which transforms adult behavior through a coach’s observation and feedback. I have experience and tools, especially checklists, for organizing and implementing effective professional development in social-emotional and behavioral health.


“Statewide Networks of Infant-Toddler Specialists and Inclusion Specialists: States can develop, strengthen, or expand infant-toddler specialist and inclusion specialist networks.”

The Routines-Based Model, which I created from evidence-based practices, promotes inclusion and the use of specialists. It includes the important role of a primary or comprehensive service provider; this would be the inclusion specialist, in the language of the OCC memo.


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