Approaching IECMH Diagnosis and Diagnostic Systems from a Multicultural Social Justice Perspective

P-5 Primary Domain

Health and Development Risk and Protective Factors


IECMH “Clinical Innovators” — IECMH professionals with a clinical-related scope who are influential, open to and seeking opportunities to do work in new ways, and able to effect change in an organization or system.

*Exclusively for IECMH leaders with clinical-related scope

December 5-6, 2023

ZERO TO THREE was a pioneer in addressing mental health diagnosis in the earliest years. Published in 1994, the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood (DC:0-3) focused on children from birth to 3 years old.  In 2005, DC:0-3R (Rev. ed.) was published to incorporate greater empirical evidence and a broader understanding of infant and early childhood mental health.  The most recent 2016 publication, DC:0-5,  was informed by both empirical evidence and clinical practice, with a broader focus that includes children from birth to 5 years old. This multiaxial classification system—including physical health, psychosocial stressors, developmental competency, quality of caregiver-child relationships and clinical disorders—rests firmly upon a foundational emphasis on culture.    

We have made tremendous progress in elevating the mental health needs of babies and young children while applying DC:0-5 in practice. But there is still work to be done and barriers to overcome! As a result of continued research, clinical practice, and increased recognition and understanding related to multiple contexts in our socio-ecological spheres of influence, there are more factors to consider in diagnosing infants and young children.  

Designed exclusively for IECMH Clinical Professionals, Track 6 participants will collectively reconsider, reconceptualize, reset intentions, and plan for individual practice and system building related to diagnosing mental health in infants and young children, while focusing on mitigating the reality of uneven and inflexible systems, inequities in access and services, and social injustice. 

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss traditional ways of approaching IECMH diagnostics that have contributed to institutional racism
  • Implement an individual action plan to guide their IECMH practice using a multi-cultural social justice perspective
  • Identify additional opportunities in which IECMH diagnostics can be integrated into existing nosologies using a multi-cultural social justice perspective
  • Identify and connect with relevant and current diversity-informed resources and supports