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Early Childhood Mental Health


Early life experiences greatly influence a person's physical, social, emotional, adaptive, linguistic and cognitive health. In early childhood, responsive and nurturing relationships support social-emotional health and resiliency. Meanwhile, trauma or neglect may cause lifelong negative effects on psychological functioning, academic progress, and physical health.

  • Infants and young children do experience serious social, emotional and behavioral problems.
  • No matter the person's age, providing therapeutic services as soon as possible reduces long-term suffering and medical costs for children and families.

Intervening Early Can Help!

  • Children under six years can be accurately assessed and effectively treated.
  • The Oregon Health Plan will reimburse for behavioral/mental health services for children under three years.
  • Treatment for children under six years should include their caregiver(s).

​CPP is for children aged birth through 6 years who have experienced trauma. Trauma can include maltreatment, sexual abuse, sudden loss of a loved one, or exposure to domestic violence.

Since 2014, the Oregon Health Authority and Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI) have funded CPP training for thirty-one agencies statewide, including:

  • Relief nurseries,
  • Mental health clinics, and
  • Adult residential substance use disorder programs for parents housed with young children.

The central goal of CPP is to support and strengthen the child-parent relationship. In turn, the stronger relationship will restore and protect the child’s mental health.

Depending on the diagnosis, the Oregon Health Plan, private health insurance and other payers may cover CCP.

How CPP treatment works

CPP focuses on addressing behaviors caused by the trauma, such as:

  • Attachment problems
  • PTSD symptoms
  • Anxiety 
  • Maternal depression

CPP examines how the trauma and the parent(s) behaviors affect:

  • The child-parent relationship,
  • The child’s development, and
  • How the child and parent see themselves and each other.

CPP sessions focus on promoting:

  • Safe behavior,
  • Emotional regulation,
  • Reciprocity in relationships, and
  • Understanding effects of the traumatic event(s) on functioning.

The developers of CPP recommend 30 to 50 weekly sessions to complete treatment.

​GenerationPMTO (Parent Management Training, Oregon Model) is an evidence-based intervention. It helps parents strengthen families at all levels (children, youth, parents and couples).

Based on more than 50 years of research, GenerationPMTO:

  • Promotes parenting and social skills and
  • Prevents, reduces and reverses the development of moderate to severe conduct problems in children and youth.

GenerationPMTO programs help families around the world. It is in wide-scale applications in the United States and several other countries.

Tailored for diverse populations, GenerationPMTO has flexibility in several areas:

  • Preventive or clinical intervention
  • Delivery format
  • Age range (2-17 years)
  • Family circumstances
  • Intervention length
  • Service provider
  • Billing options

To learn more, visit

The crosswalk (Word) (PDF​) bridges the following documents:

  • The Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood (DC:0-5),
  • The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM 5), and
  • The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, tenth revision (ICD-10).

The purpose of the crosswalk is to help providers identify behavioral health diagnoses that are:

  • Developmentally appropriate and
  • Covered according to the Oregon Health Plan's Prioritized List of Health Services.

Without intervention, early behavior problems persist into adolescence. To provide effective care to the families experiencing these problems, the Oregon Health Authority:

  • Promotes PCIT as a highly effective brief intervention for families of children 2-7 years old who have significant social-emotional and behavior problems. These problems can be related to anxiety, moderate to mild autism, hyperactivity, chronic trauma or neglect.
  • Provides funding for PCIT programs in 29 counties and 60 locations
  • Covers PCIT under the Oregon Health Plan. PCIT may also be covered by private health insurance.
  • Suggests that parents and foster parents ask their local PCIT program for services.
  • Reminds primary care providers, schools, developmental programs, child welfare services, or other community partners that they may also refer children to PCIT programs.

How PCIT works

Used worldwide, PCIT is effective across cultures and ethnicities. Parents get direct coaching from a PCIT therapist in specific therapeutic skills to:

  • Build or strengthen a secure relationship with their child,
  • Increase the child’s social skills and positive behaviors, and
  • Decrease disruptive behaviors. 

Ideally, the therapist observes the interaction from behind a one-way mirror and coaches the parent through a wireless communication system.

85% of Oregon families who take part in at least four PCIT sessions show significant improvement in child behavior, positive communication and positive parenting skills. 

  • After completing treatment, children’s behavior falls within normal limits for their age.
  • The benefits extend beyond the parent and child. They lead to positive interactions at school and throughout the child’s family.
  • The average length of treatment is 16 to 20 sessions.


Diagnostic Classification of MH and DD of Infancy & Early Childhood (DC-05)
Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development
Harvard Center on the Developing Child
Oregon Infant Mental Health (IMH) Training Calendar
PSU Infant Toddler Graduate Certificate Program


Agencies Practicing Child-Parent Psychotherapy
Generation PMTO Provider List
Oregon PCIT Locations
Trauma Focused CBT Training 2020


Page Info

Amy Chandler
Early Childhood Program and Policy Development Specialist