Infant and early childhood professionals operate within a variety of systems that impact our ability to effectively support young children and families. While we usually have a good understanding of how the system functions within our organizations and field(s) of practice, we often have less awareness of how other child and family-serving sectors work, much less how they work together as a system of care. For the provider focused on the pressing day to day needs of an infant, toddler, young child or their family, this larger system may seem obscure or irrelevant. However, evidence suggests that giving attention to the system of care helps professionals to illuminate and address systemic inequities, increase efficacy, and improve outcomes for children. 

Since receiving SAMHSA LAUNCH* funding to address childhood wellbeing through an intentional focus on capacity-building in its early childhood system of care, the Durham community has had the opportunity to explore definitions, examples and components of an effective early childhood system. In this presentation, READY Project representatives will share tools we’ve discovered to help participants understand the early childhood system(s) of care operating in their own communities. In addition, we will highlight the ways that infant mental health constructs of relational health and reflective practice can be applied to system improvement. Finally, we will share stories from the READY Project’s efforts to elevate our own early childhood system of care.

This training will enable participants to:

  • Visualize an “early childhood system of care” and begin to map the system(s) in their community
  • Apply core IECMH principles of relational health and reflective practice to system-building
  • Consider lessons from Durham’s READY Project for supporting young child social-emotional health within and across a local system.

About Our Presenter(s):

Katharine Cannon, M.ED., is the Project Director for the READY Project, full title: Responsive Early Access for Durham’s Young children: A coordinated system to promote young child wellness based at the Center for Child & Family Health, and a leader in Durham’s Early Childhood Mental Health Task Force. She earned her M.Ed. in “Risk & Prevention” with an early childhood focus at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Katharine’s interest in early childhood systems comes not only from her current work in Durham, but from 25 years of professional experience in child & family serving entities and systems across NC, including Head Start /Early Head Start and Smart Start/Resource & Referral. 

She will be joined for this presentation in person and/or through recorded vignettes by partners in Durham’s early childhood system of care.

*Substance Abuse & Mental Health Administration Linking Actions for Unmet Children’s Health Needs

Ongoing Sessions & Meetings

Statewide Advisory Committee on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement®

Monthly multi-disciplinary committee meeting created to advise and assist with the implementation of Infant Mental Health Endorsement® throughout North Carolina. 

Board Chair: Asata Virgo
Date/Location: Every 3rd Tuesday from 10:30am-12pm via Zoom
Questions? Email Endorsement@NCIMHA.0rg for more information

Endorsement 101

Introductory session tailored towards those interested in applying for Infant Mental Health Endorsement®

Participants will  learn more about the categories of Endorsement, requirements for each category, and the process for applying for Endorsement in North Carolina. Ample time will be provided for specific questions and discussion.

Facilitator: Jess Taylor-Pickford, NCIMHA Endorsement Coordinator
Date/Location: Dates vary (see upcoming dates and register here) via Zoom
Questions? Email 


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