The National Center for Children in Poverty, NCCP, published a study in August 2009 titled Social-emotional Development in Early Childhood, What Every Policymaker Should Know . Written by Cooper, Masi and Vick, the paper outlined the risks and barriers faced by young children with social, emotional, and behavioral problems. They emphasized the impact of the first five years of life on a child’s social and emotional development. Their data found:
The highest prevalence of mental health disorders was from 1-26% in the category of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Behavior problems of preschool children showed:
2 years- 4.7%
3 years- 7.3 %
4 years- 13.2 %
5 years- 10.0%
Girls- 6.6 %
Risk factors included neighborhood characteristics and family income. Up to 50% of the problems could have been mediated by interventions targeting parenting. Poor attachment, especially maternal attachment negatively impacted the social and emotional development. African-American and Latino young children showed less secure attachment than Asian-American and White children. Race and ethnicity were particular factors, with more children of color being expelled from preschool than any other group.
Current service delivery through early intervention and treatment is a failure, young children not receiving the screening, services, or support they need.
More than 30% of parents of children getting EI services report problems in managing their children.
There are many barriers to treatment. These include policies of state Medicaid agencies, primary physicians who do not screen for maternal depression, and weak enforcement of IDEA Part C. The adverse impact of failing to meet the needs of young children results in multiple risk factors that compromise school success and a healthy adulthood.