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Description: Participants will learn what infant and early childhood mental health is and how it directly relates to an infant’s/young child’s experiences with their primary caregiver. We will think together about the caregiver-child relationship as a buffer to toxic stress and how to protect and support those relationships. Participants will learn to identify signs and symptoms of social-emotional concerns for infants/young children and will be able to identify appropriate referrals to support an infant/ young child’s mental health.

Learning objectives: By end of the program, participants will be able to

  1. Define infant and early childhood mental health.
  2. Describe the importance of early relationships.
  3. Explain childhood adversity and toxic stress.
  4. Discuss how to support relationships within adversity.
  5. List common symptoms of early childhood mental health disorders.
  6. Compile programs and supports for infant and early childhood mental health.

Headshot of Diane Britz

TrainerDiane is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in infant and early child mental health and home-based prevention and intervention services for children and families. Diane has close to 20 years of clinical, supervisory, consultative, and program management experience. Her training includes evidence-based practices such as Child First, Child Parent Psychotherapy, and Parents as Teachers. Additionally, Diane is registered as a Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator. Diane’s current role is as the North Carolina Senior Clinical Lead for the Child First program at the National Service Office for Nurse Family Partnership and Child First.


  • DePasquale, C. E. (2020). A systematic review of caregiver–child physiological synchrony across systems: Associations with behavior and child functioning. Development and Psychopathology, 32(5), 1754-1777.
  • Maxwell, A., McMahon, C., Huber, A., Reay, R. E., Hawkins, E., & Barnett, B. (2021). Examining the effectiveness of circle of security parenting (COS-P): A multi-site non-randomized study with waitlist control. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 30(5), 1123-1140.
  • Maxwell, A., Reay, R. E., Huber, A., Hawkins, E., Woolnough, E., & McMahon, C. (2021). Parent and practitioner perspectives on circle of security parenting (COS‐P): A qualitative study. Infant Mental Health Journal, 42(3), 452-468.
  • Shonkoff, J. P., Slopen, N., & Williams, D. R. (2020;2021;). Early childhood adversity, toxic stress, and the impacts of racism on the foundations of health. Annual Review of Public Health, 42, 115-134.
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