Early Childhood Mental Health Program

The Early Childhood Mental Health Program is co-directed by Dr. Katherine (Katie) Lingras and Dr. Danielle Vrieze and provides services to young children (0-8) and their families both in the clinic setting and to children, families, and providers in community-based settings such as Pediatric/Family Medicine Clinics, Early Childhood Education Programs, and Home-Visiting programs. 


What is Early Childhood Mental Health? 

The developing capacity of the young child to experience, regulate, and express emotions; form close and secure interpersonal relationships; as well as explore the environment and learn, all in the context of family, community, and cultural expectations for young children. 

Early childhood mental health is synonymous with healthy social and emotional development.

-Zero to Three Infant Mental Health Task Force 

How do I know if my child needs the support/services of the Early Childhood Program? 

Parents and caregivers can reference this helpful CDC website to learn more about what to expect for young children's social-emotional development. Common referral questions for the Early Child Program include: frequent tantrums or behavior concerns, difficulty with emotion regulation/frustration tolerance, frequent or excessive worries or anxiety, experiences with a scary event, and separation from or loss of a parent, close caregiver, or loved one. If you notice significant changes in your child's behavior or emotions or you as the caregiver are experiencing significant challenges or stress around managing your little one, extra support may be helpful!

Program Services

Diagnostic Evaluations

  • Diagnostic evaluations take 2-3 hours and include clinical interviews with parents/caregivers and (if able) children, observation of play-based interactions, review of records, and completion of questionnaires by caregivers and teachers (if relevant).
  • Families are provided with in-person feedback and potential treatment options, which may include referrals to our program for parent-child therapy or other community-based resources.

Parent-Child Therapy

  • Parent-child therapy begins with an intake session over 1-2 appointments to gather information about the child, family, current concerns, and context (e.g. preschool) and determine the most appropriate modality for treatment.
  • Therapy with young children looks a lot like "just playing" but is infused with opportunities for both children and caregivers to learn and practice new skills.
  • Most sessions take place with caregiver(s) and child in the room together, in order to facilitate the child's comfort and the caregiver(s)' learning and involvement.

Parenting Groups

  • Parenting groups are offered using the Incredible Years Parent Training series. For information on upcoming groups, please call the number for Clinic Services listed on this page.

Community-Based Services

  • Mental Health Consultation for Early Childhood Programs and Staff
  • Integrated Behavioral Health Services for Pediatric/Family Medicine Clinics
  • Professional Development Trainings for staff and clinical practitioners working with young children and/or their families

Toddler playing with blocks


Clinic hours

M – F 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM 
Evening hours only available as arranged by your provider

Clinic address

Suite F-275, 2nd Floor, West Building
2450 Riverside Avenue 
Minneapolis, MN 55454

After clinic hours and emergencies

Emergency services are provided 24 hours a day for current clients:

Call 612-672-6600 and ask for the psychiatry resident on call

Call 612-672-6402 (Emergency Department)


For Clinic Services, call 612-273-8700

For Community-Based Services, call 612-273-9720

Early Childhood Mental Health program flyer

Helpful Links


Toddler coloring a picture

The Early Childhood Mental Health Program is proud to partner with the Birth to Three Program in the Department of Pediatrics in the creation of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Center (I/ECMHC).