Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation

Request for Proposal

Rural Expansion of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
Released March 3, 2017
Proposals due:  Monday, April 3, 2017 by 5:00 p.m.

Please direct questions to:
Laura Carlson

Click here for the full PDF version of the RFP and required summary sheet.

Organizational Overview
Founded in 1962, the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation is a private foundation dedicated to supporting the positive development of children across the state of Colorado through grants and partnerships with nonprofit organizations.  Grants are primarily awarded in the areas of early childhood education and development and teen pregnancy prevention.  Since inception, the Buell Foundation has awarded more than $150 million in grants.

The Buell Foundation supports proven strategies to improve the mental health and social/emotional development of Colorado’s youngest children.  One of the key strategies supported is the provision of mental health consultation.  This strategy is defined by SAMHSA as follows:

“Infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC) is a multi-level preventive intervention that teams mental health professionals with people who work with young children and their families to improve their social, emotional, and behavioral health and development.  IECMHC builds the capacity of providers and families to understand the powerful influence of their relationships and interactions on young children’s development.  Children’s well-being is improved and mental health problems are prevented and/or reduced as a result of the mental health consultant’s partnership with adults in children’s lives.  IECMHC includes skilled observations, individualized strategies, and early identification of children with and at risk for mental health challenges.”

Time and again the importance and inadequacy of the capacity of early childhood mental health consultation in Colorado has come to the Buell Foundation’s attention. As a universal prevention approach supporting children as well as their caregivers that also demands strong interactions with communities, the current group of consultants across the state cannot possibly provide all of the services needed.  In Colorado there are nearly 2,000 licensed child care centers and 2,600 licensed homes not to mention desired engagement with local early childhood systems and other types of services (e.g. home visiting).

Initiative Description
The purpose of the Buell Foundation’s Rural Expansion of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Initiative is to build the capacity of caregivers in rural communities by providing consultation in classrooms and other early childhood settings in order to set children up for success.  This initiative builds on the infrastructure and success of the Early Childhood Specialist Program at the Colorado Office of Early Childhood, with a specific focus on rural Colorado communities.  Following are the requirements for this initiative:

Organizational capacity: Applicants must certify that they have adequate supervisory staff in place to provide needed training and regular reflective supervision.  In addition, at least one other early childhood mental health consultant must be on staff to provide opportunities for peer reflection and problem solving.  The organization must have in place policies and protocols for referral of children and/or families in need of more intensive services, including tracking of those children through the referral loop to assess whether services were provided.

Qualifications: The consultants should have specialized knowledge and training that qualifies him/her to be a resource on early childhood mental health matters in both classroom settings and in the community more broadly.  This should include a degree (at minimum a bachelor’s degree) in a related field (e.g. social work, psychology or related field with a focus on early childhood mental health).  In addition, within the first year of employment, he/she should agree to begin working toward the Endorsement for Culturally-Sensitive, Relationship Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health®, which is issued through the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health.

Scope of Work: At least 60% of each consultant’s time must be spent providing consultation services in licensed or legally exempt child care facilities serving children age birth to five (early care and learning centers, family child care homes, or Early Head Start and Head Start).  The remaining 40% of their time can be spent providing consultation services in primary care, home visitation programs, child welfare, and TANF and WIC offices; providing parenting education; or engaging in the community.

Engagement with Colorado Office of Early Childhood:  All grantees will be required to engage with the Early Childhood Mental Health Unit to align implementation and evaluation protocols.  This includes participation in any trainings, technical assistance or requested data collection made available by the EMCH Unit.

Assessments (matching those required by the Colorado Office of Early Childhood):

  1. PreK CHILD (required)
  2. Devereux Early Childhood Assessment, if warranted for child-focused needs affecting classroom functioning (required)
  3. Office of Early Childhood approved expulsion and suspension monitoring methodology (required)
  4. Parenting Stress Index (recommended)
  5. Pregnancy related depression screenings (recommended)
  6. Other appropriate early childhood related screenings (e.g. ASQ-SE, recommended)

Eligible Applicants
Proposals are invited from organizations that will focus consultation services in rural areas of Colorado. Preference will be given to organizations with a current contract with the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood for the Early Childhood Specialist Program.

Eligible applicants may include:

  • Mental Health Centers
  • Early Childhood Councils
  • Nonprofit entities that meet the requirements outlined in this RFP

Duration of Grant
The Rural Expansion of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Initiative is envisioned to have a four-year initial commitment (May 2017 – April 2021), with annual review and renewal. Each grant recipient will be required to show adequate and meaningful progress during each year in order to be considered for the subsequent year(s).

Funds Available
Funding is available for approximately ten consultants with grants awarded up to $75,000 per FTE. Funding is expected to remain consistent through the duration of the initiative pending adequate annual reporting of progress.

Staff at the Buell Foundation will review all grant proposals and follow up with phone calls between April 4, 2017 and April 12, 2017, as needed, in order to make recommendations for funding to the Board of Trustees.

A decision will be made by the end of April 2017 with an anticipated grant start date of May 1, 2017.

Application Deadline
Applications must be received no later than Monday, April 3, 2017 by 5:00 p.m.

Award Date 
Grant recipients will be announced by April 28, 2017 via calls to grant recipients and subsequent grant contracts.


Submission Process

Submit Proposals to Laura Carlson, Manager of Special Projects, at lcarlson@buellfoundation.org. Please send emails with the subject line “ECMH Consultation Initiative Application”. Email proposals to the Buell Foundation by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 2017.

Email confirmation of proposal receipt will be sent after the deadline.  The review process is expected to take four weeks.  Site visits will not be conducted as part of the review process, but finalists may be contacted by phone or email for supplemental information between April 4, 2017 and April 12, 2017.

Those organizations that are awarded grants will be announced no later than April 28, 2017 via phone calls to the grant recipients. Grant contracts and requirements will be mailed out to grantees the following week.

Application Format/Checklist

Please include the following:

  • Summary Sheet (download PDF)
  • Cover letter not to exceed one page
  • Narrative not to exceed four pages
  • Brief background about the organization.
    • Identify the number of FTE positions requested.
    • Define the discrete catchment area(s) where consultations services shall be provided. This should reflect an area that can be adequately served by the requested FTE and will likely be a smaller region than the areas defined by the state’s regional map for Early Childhood Mental Health Specialists (see attached).
    • Based on the catchment area defined above, describe the level of need for consultation services based on 1) the total number of early care and learning settings; 2) expulsion and suspension data (if available); and 3) community requests for services.
    • Describe your plan to identify, prioritize, and implement consultation services in higher risk early child care and learning settings. This should include information about how you will ensure maximum leveraging of local and state funding and how you will engage the identified community beyond direct work with child care centers.
    • Provide the following information about each individual who will fill the role of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant and about the provision of reflective supervision:
      • If you have an individual identified, please provide a brief summary of that person’s qualifications. If you have not yet identified a consultant, please provide a copy of the criteria you will use in hiring.
      • Description of how the ECMH Consultant will receive reflective supervision (per month, by whom, outside or inside the agency, reflective supervisor’s expertise).
  • Attachments
    • Financial Attachments
    • Organization budget
    • Initiative budget that includes (at minimum): salary, benefits, travel, equipment, assessment/evaluation, professional development, and office expenses. No more than 10% of requested funding may be used for indirect costs.
    • Budget for all early childhood mental health consultation services (including funding from the state of Colorado for the Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist and/or LAUNCH Together, if applicable)
    • Current (year-to-date) financial statements
    • Previous year-end financial statements or audit
    • If needed, financial narrative for explanation of irregular items in financial attachments
  • Other Attachments
    • Proof of IRS federal tax-exempt status
    • Anti-discrimination statement adopted by the board of directors
    • Key staff (with short bios) related to this project, including the individual who will provide supervision
    • Evaluation results, if available, for recent mental health consultation efforts

Click here for the full PDF version of the RFP and required summary sheet.