16% of children under the age of 6 face mental health challenges that need intervention.1

Through exploring the needs of pediatric patients across the state, VMAP identified a serious gap for Virginia’s youngest patients. Workforce shortages combined with an increase in prevalence has resulted in extensive wait lists for specialists who diagnose and manage early childhood mental, emotional, and behavioral health concerns.  To address these issues, VMAP successfully advocated for increased state funding to provide training and support PCPs need to recognize and respond to concerns in a timely manner.  This includes adding early childhood specialists to provide consultation on the VMAP line, early childhood care navigation to help families identify and access community resources, and specific provider educational programs that focus on the needs of children under the age of six.

VMAP’s Early Childhood Expansion Includes:

1. The Addition of an Early Childhood Hub to the VMAP Line

Now when PCPs call the VMAP Line for support, they can press “6” to speak with an early childhood expert about a patient under 6. Experts include:

  • Early childhood child & adolescent psychiatrists
  • Developmental/behavioral pediatricians
  • Licensed mental health professionals (such as child psychologists, social workers, etc.)
  • Care navigators

These experts specialize in early childhood mental, emotional, and behavioral health! As part of VMAP’s early childhood expansion, all specialists are prepared to support you with the unique mental health needs of your littlest patients.

2. New Early Childhood Provider Education Opportunities

VMAP began offering new provider trainings focused on managing early childhood mental, emotional, and behavioral health, including two new ECHO cohorts, learning collaboratives, and a Triple P training pilot.

VMAP’s early childhood committee continues to explore new ways to support Virginia PCPs navigating the mental, emotional, and behavioral health of patients under 6.