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DMH + UCLA Early Childhood Fellowship

The DMH + UCLA Early Childhood Fellowship is designed to support the growth and wellbeing of professionals working with young children and families in Los Angeles County and beyond .  For ten months, Fellows come together to learn, practice, and reflect on the application of key knowledge and skills that promote resilience in young children and their families. Fellows learn from national and local experts and collaborate with colleagues to create and implement innovative approaches to address the challenges faced by families with young children in their communities.

Now open to professionals working in and outside of LA County.

Cultivate. Connect. Collaborate.

What Makes Our Fellowship Unique

The Early Childhood Fellowship provides a model of professional development that connects knowledge and application through a curriculum that integrates seminal theoretical models with best practices in prevention and early intervention.  The Fellowship infuses an emphasis on relationship building and workforce wellbeing in order to build a collaborative learning community that will provide sustained support for Fellows’ professional and personal growth both during and following completion of the program.  The Fellowship integrates a sociocultural lens throughout the training to create a learning environment that honors the strengths and challenges that characterize the diverse communities of Los Angeles County and beyond.


Participants and Eligibility

The Early Childhood Fellowship aims to bring together individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences to create a learning environment in which a broad range of perspectives can be shared.  The Fellowship welcomes applicants from a variety of sectors, including mental health, early childhood education and childcare, child welfare, home visiting, juvenile justice, and advocacy and public policy.  Individuals from disciplines including child development, marriage and family therapy, medicine, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology, recreational therapy, social work, and speech and language therapy are invited to apply.

The Early Childhood Fellowship is open to professionals and paraprofessionals whose current work impacts young children from birth to age six and/or their families. The Fellowship is open to applicants working in and outside of LA County.

Explore the Fellowship

2023 – 2024 Fellowship Presenters include:

September & October 2023 – Frames for Work in Early Childhood

November 2023 – Early Risk and Resilience

December 2023 – Enhancing Services for Underserved Children and Families

January 2024 – Early Experiences and Brain Development

February 2024 – Attachment, Transitions and Healing

March 2024 – Supporting Child and Family Resilience

April 2024 – School-Based Perspectives

May 2024 – Community Wellbeing

June 2024 – Community Collaboration

2023 – 2024 Presenters

2022 – 2023 Presenters

2021 – 2022 Presenters

2020 – 2021 Presenters

2019 – 2020 Presenters

Fellowship Team

Reflective Practice Facilitators


Upon completion of the program, Fellows will:

  • Have a strong foundation in seminal theoretical perspectives relevant to early childhood development.
  • Be able to flexibly integrate and apply trauma, resilience, and culturally informed perspectives to their early childhood work.
  • Understand the impact of early experience on children’s brain development and family functioning.
  • Be able to identify strengths in young children and their families and utilize approaches that leverage and promote such strengths.
  • Have a repertoire of best practices in prevention and early intervention that they regularly implement in their settings.
  • Understand the relevance of and apply reflective practice principles in their work with young children and families, as well as their interactions with colleagues, supervisors, and supervisees.
  • Be able to share and disseminate critical knowledge and skills with parents, caregivers, families, and other early childhood professionals.

Learn more about the Fellowship Application process.

Fellowship Components

Live Sessions:

  • The Live Sessions include didactic presentations and trainings with national and local leaders, experiential activities, collaborative learning groups, and reflective practice groups.
  • Live Sessions occur two days (Friday-Saturday) per month, with the exception of September, the first month of the Fellowship, when there is only a Friday session.
  • Friday and Saturday sessions typically run from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, but exact starting and ending times may vary slightly. Live Sessions will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions, with at least an hour break in-between and shorter breaks scheduled throughout the day.

Pre-work (prior to Live Sessions):

  • Fellows are expected to complete pre-work each month (reviewing slides, reading articles, and/or watching videos). Pre-work is assigned so Fellows are prepared to contribute to group discussions and derive the most benefit for the sessions.

Collaborative Learning Groups and Consultation Hours:

  • Fellows will participate in small Collaborative Learning Groups as part of the Live Sessions to share how they applied their learning from the previous month.
  • Each Fellow will facilitate a Collaborative Learning Group during the course of the Fellowship by reviewing their group members’ written reflections from the previous month in advance, identifying important themes, and preparing questions in order to guide a group discussion.
  • Consultation Hours will be made available in order for Fellows to prepare their facilitation of Collaborative Learning Groups.

Reflective Practice Groups:

  • Fellows will participate in Reflective Practice Groups each month as part of the Live Sessions to explore the parallel process in the relationships they navigate in their professional lives and explore the impact of their work on their own professional growth and personal wellbeing.
  • Each group will consist of a maximum of eight Fellows and will be led by an endorsed Reflective Practice Facilitator.

Online Learning Community:

  • Fellows will connect and collaborate with one another and the Fellowship Team using an online Learning Community. Fellows will use this community to view a Fellowship Directory, contribute to discussion posts, and access a library of resources (including presentation slides, handouts and pre-session work).

Monthly Written Reflections:

  • Fellows are expected to reflect upon, apply, and refine key knowledge and skills in their work settings following each month’s Live Session.
  • Fellows will submit written reflections to the online Learning Community describing their experiences applying their learning from the previous Live Session.

Culminating Projects:

  • Fellows will participate in a project of their choosing that helps build knowledge base or skills in their home organization or community. Fellows will share lessons learned from the implementation of their project during the Fellowship year. Fellows should anticipate that they will spend approximately 8 – 12 hours to complete their project outside of the Live Sessions.
  • Projects can take various shapes: a presentation, a proposal, or even a creative endeavor. For example, Fellows can give an oral presentation on an early childhood topic to staff members at their organization, identify a challenge faced by young children and families in their community and develop a proposal to address the challenge, or develop a social media campaign or video public service announcement related to an early childhood topic.

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