Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This study explored the level of care accessible to most young children, especially those living in or near poverty and with acute social-emotional needs. A critical analysis of childcare systems generated a demonstration of the multiple impingements upon care providers' abilities to furnish warm, responsive care. Children who most need skilled and attuned care, those with extraordinary sets of needs, were shown to be placed most at risk for expulsion from their group care settings. This phenomenon was interpreted through the relational conceptualization of mental health consultation to childcare developed at the Daycare Consultants component of the Infant-Parent Program, University of California, San Francisco and through Development, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based theory. This study has yielded findings which enhance social workers' understandings of the complex dynamics influencing childcare endeavors as well as the experience of vulnerable children in childcare. Further, this study's findings suggest that a relationship-based approach to mental health consultation to childcare, especially one utilizing DIR theory, can have a significant influence on the web of relationships informing young children's development.


iii, 155 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 146-155).