Career Opportunities with Illinois Action for Children

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Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant- Early Learning

Department: Consultation Programs
Location: Homewood, IL


Illinois Action for Children (“IAFC”), a local, state, and national leader in the early childhood care and education sector for over 50 years.  IAFC programs, services, and advocacy improve learning and life outcomes for children and families, including reducing the effects of poverty.  IAFC works to ensure that every child in Illinois – particularly those in need – have access to the necessary resources to succeed in school and in life.


Along with our mission, IAFC is committed to building and maintaining a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist culture. We are dedicated to this pledge through our hiring practices and our focus on creating a culture and environment where diverse perspectives, ideas, and identities are valued and integrated into our way of working and servicing our staff and clients.  IAFC staff represent a wide diversity of racial, socio-economic, gender, religious, and national identities.  We welcome all applicants who share our mission and vision to join us in our essential work.


Under the direction of the Assistant Director of Consultation Programs, the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant will provide ongoing, relationship-based mental health consultation, technical assistance, and referral services to early care and education providers and families they serve within a designated geographic area – Chicago and/or Cook County suburbs.  The MHC will provide pertinent training to providers within this area and on a statewide and national basis as assigned.  The MHC will work proactively to improve and to promote community understanding of children’s social-emotional development and support for child and family and mental health needs. All work to be completed with minimum supervision and in accordance with organizational standards.

This incumbent will be expected to promote and adhere to the workplace core capabilities of:  accountability, customer focus, continuous quality improvement (CQI), communication, competent people and clear priorities.  All work to be completed in accordance with organizational standards.


  1. Provide mental health consultation and technical assistance upon request to childcare providers (both licensed and license exempt) in a designated geographic area.  Includes a minimum of 200 onsite consultative hours per year.
  2. Focus of consultation: support to providers targeted at increased knowledge, competency and capacity to support children’s social-emotional development and meet their needs, working with families, and developing inclusive practices.
    1. Establish and maintain ongoing supportive relationships with early care and education (ECE) providers/staff. 
    2. Work in partnership with providers to assess consultation needs (child-focused and/or program-focused); develop and implement service plan(s) that address targeted needs; build capacity of providers/programs regarding children’s social-emotional needs and development and working with families. Provide assistance with difficult situations and/or challenging children.
    3. Provide mental health consultation regarding particular children with social-emotional, behavior and/or developmental challenges. Including assessment of child’s needs, meeting(s) with parents and staff, and administration of screening and assessment tools (as warranted). 
    4. Assist providers in implementing best practices in their program (as indicated)—such as modifications to the environment, program planning, enhancement of communication and relationships.
    5. Respond in a timely manner to requests for service.
    6. Maintain professional standards in all aspects of the consultative process. Insure confidentiality of child, parent, and child care provider information.
    7. Encourage and model a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to working with children, families, and other caregivers
  3. Facilitate referrals. As needed, assist providers and families with linkage to appropriate resources—such as Early Intervention, school-based special education and enrichment programs, mental health agencies/providers.
  4. Assist in the gathering of data and preparation of reports as required by regulatory and funding agencies, and as needed for program evaluation.
  1. Maintain all necessary data in regard to referrals, responses to referrals, consultations, collaboration, collateral contacts, training evaluations, etc.
  2. Timely reporting of all data in DTP  
  3. Provide 20 or more trainings/ educational opportunities per year for ECE providers. Purpose of trainings is increased knowledge-base and competencies of early care and education providers regarding children’s social-emotional development and needs, working with families, fostering healthy development and pro-social behavior through relationships, identifying special needs, incorporating inclusive practices into ECE programs, etc.
  4. Determine training needs based on provider feedback, identified needs and trends; follow Caregiver Connections guidelines; work collaboratively with program director and MHC staff team.
  5. Design new training programs and materials and/or identify existing programs that can be utilized to meet specific training needs.
  6. All CCR&R trainings will comply with INCCRRA registry standards and guidelines.
  7. As required, present at professional local, state, and/or national conferences.
  8. Participate in regularly scheduled group and/or individual supervision meetings with Director of CP Support Services; participate in quarterly statewide Caregiver Connections workdays.
  9. Collaborate with Community Partner staff (in designated geographic area) regarding training on topics of children’s social-emotional development and mental health - to ensure an integrated service delivery system for providers.  Participate in community networking and interdisciplinary meetings that focus on practices, programs and initiatives that promote and support young children’s mental health, social emotional development, strengthening families, violence and trauma prevention, etc.
  10. Seek professional growth and development through attendance at presentations, conferences and participation in collaborative initiatives and professional organizations related to the growing field of infant & early childhood mental, especially as applied to ECE settings.
  11. The organization may assign other functions to the job at its discretion.
  12. Execute our workplace core capabilities of: accountability, customer focus, continuous quality improvement (CQI), communication, competent people and clear priorities.



Master’s degree in Social Work, Psychology, Early Childhood Development, or a related field. Minimum of five years of direct practice experience in social services or the Child Care and Education field. Knowledge of child development, understanding of family dynamics, systems theory, and the importance of child-caregiver and family-caregiver relationships.


Valid driver’s license, access to reliable personal transportation with insurance


  • Ability to discern and respect cultural diversity, and to respond appropriately within diverse audiences and constituencies. 
  • Willingness and ability to travel (locally, statewide, and nationally) and able to work a flexible schedule.
  • Self-directed.  Able to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Excellent planning and organization skills—able to prioritize and work on multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Excellent writing, editing, speaking and presentation skills.
  • Basic computer skills, with a good working knowledge of word processing, presentation software tools, correspondence tools such as e-mail, and able to accurately maintain electronic records.

Location: Homewood, IL        

IL Action for Children is EEO/M/F/V/D employer.


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