On June 14, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services issued a Dear Colleague Letter with four recommendations to equitably support the social-emotional development and mental health of young children.

The departments intend for the recommendations and action steps to help early childhood systems work collaboratively to ensure that young children and their caregivers have access to high-quality resources.

The Dear Colleague Letter addresses state, territorial, tribal and local policymakers and administrators of systems, agencies and programs responsible for young children’s health and well-being, social-emotional development and early learning. The letter includes links to resources to support the four recommendations, which are:

  1. Implement evidence-based practices that support positive social-emotional development and mental health for all children and wellness for every caregiver.
  2. Prioritize workforce wellness and enhance workforce capacity to identify and respond to children’s and families’ social-emotional and mental health needs.
  3. Leverage policy and funding to increase access to social-emotional and mental health support and reduce barriers to access.
  4. Use data to promote equitable implementation and outcomes.

series of videos, to be released throughout the summer and hosted on the HHS Administration for Children and Families’ website, spotlights issues for supporting young children’s mental health and well-being.

The letter, recommendations, and resources are part of ongoing work across the federal government to address mental health needs of children and their families. A related resource is Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral and Mental Health.