Head Start Policy and Regulations

1302.45 Child mental health and social and emotional well-being.

(a) Wellness promotion. To support a program-wide culture that promotes children’s mental health, social and emotional well-being, and overall health, a program must:

(1) Provide supports for effective classroom management and positive learning environments; supportive teacher practices; and, strategies for supporting children with challenging behaviors and other social, emotional, and mental health concerns;

(2) Secure mental health consultation services on a schedule of sufficient and consistent frequency to ensure a mental health consultant is available to partner with staff and families in a timely and effective manner;

(3) Obtain parental consent for mental health consultation services at enrollment; and,

(4) Build community partnerships to facilitate access to additional mental health resources and services, as needed.

(b) Mental health consultants. A program must ensure mental health consultants assist:

(1) The program to implement strategies to identify and support children with mental health and social and emotional concerns;

(2) Teachers, including family child care providers, to improve classroom management and teacher practices through strategies that include using classroom observations and consultations to address teacher and individual child needs and creating physical and cultural environments that promote positive mental health and social and emotional functioning ;

(3) Other staff, including home visitors, to meet children’s mental health and social and emotional needs through strategies that include observation and consultation;

(4) Staff to address prevalent child mental health concerns, including internalizing problems such as appearing withdrawn and externalizing problems such as challenging behaviors; and,

(5) In helping both parents and staff to understand mental health and access mental health interventions, if needed.

(6) In the implementation of the policies to limit suspension and prohibit expulsion as described in §1302.17.