Skip to main content

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.  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 addressing the challenges faced by families with young children in their communities.

Explore Our Fellowship Program

2021-2022 Fellowship Presenters include:

September/October – Frames for Work in Early Childhood

November – Early Risk and Resilience

December – Early Experiences and Brain Development

January – Attachment, Transitions, and Healing

February – Enhancing Services for Underserved Children and Families

March – Supporting Child and Family Resilience

April – School-Based Perspectives

May – Community Wellbeing

2020-2021 Presenters

2019-2020 Presenters

Fellowship Description

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021-2022 DMH + UCLA Early Childhood Fellowship will be held virtually.

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.

The Early Childhood Fellowship will span a range of topics such as:

  • Culturally informed approaches to prevention and early intervention
  • Principles of reflective practice
  • Prenatal risk
  • Early experience and brain development
  • Perinatal mental health
  • Promoting self-regulation in at-risk children
  • Relationship-based approaches to supporting healthy neurodevelopment
  • Importance of fathers
  • Diverse family constellations
  • School readiness
  • Brain-based classrooms
  • Environmental health and community wellbeing


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.

Participants & Eligibility

The Early Childhood Fellowship welcomes applicants from a variety of sectors, including mental health, early childhood education and child care, 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 Fellowship aims to bring together individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences in order to create a learning environment in which a broad range of perspectives can be shared.  Preference will be given to applicants whose work impacts under-resourced communities.

Organizations are invited to support the application of more than one staff member (particularly those who serve in different positions, such as supervisor and a clinician providing direct service).  Although some preference will be given to individuals who apply with another colleague from their organization, please note that individuals who apply as the sole representative of their organization will still be considered competitive.

Who is eligible?

The Early Childhood Fellowship is open to professionals and paraprofessionals whose current work impacts young children aged birth to six years and/or their families within Los Angeles County.

  • Applicants may work in a variety of organizational settings, including community agencies, early education or childcare settings, academic or research institutions, or advocacy organizations.
  • Applicants’ work may impact young children and/or their families through a variety of mechanisms, including:
    • Direct service provision, training, and/or supervision
    • Advocacy or public policy
    • Consultation
    • Research or program evaluation

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 one 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.
  • Fellows will participate in one Consultation Hour in order to prepare for their facilitation of a Collaborative Learning Group.

Reflective Practice Groups:

  • Fellows will participate in Reflective Practice Groups each month as part of the Live Sessions.
  • 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 work in teams to undertake a Culminating Project to identify a challenge faced by young children and families in their community and develop a proposal to address the challenge.
  • Time will be provided at the beginning of the Fellowship for Fellows to learn about one another’s backgrounds and interests so they can identify colleagues with whom they would like to collaborate on this project.
  • Teams will submit a presentation at the end of the Fellowship to share their work.
  • While some time to work on the Culminating Projects will be provided during the Live Sessions, Fellows should anticipate that they will need additional time outside of the sessions to work on and complete these projects.

Fellowship Requirements

Fellows must satisfy all of the following requirements in order to receive a Certificate of Completion: 

Fellowship attendance and participation in Live Sessions

  • Fellows may not miss more than 16 hours of the Live Sessions held via Zoom.
    • Fellows who miss part or all of a session must e-mail a plan to the Program Coordinator for obtaining the information that they missed in the session.
  • Fellows must participate by video in the Live Sessions. Fellows should make arrangements in advance to have access to a computer, tablet, or cell phone equipped with a camera.
  • Fellows are expected to complete assigned pre-work prior to each session.

Facilitation of Collaborative Learning Group and participation in Consultation Hour

  • Fellows are required to facilitate one Collaborative Learning Group during the course of the Fellowship and participate in one Consultation Hour in advance of the group they are facilitating.
    • Fellows will sign up at the beginning of the Fellowship to facilitate a Collaborative Learning Group during a specific session and for the accompanying consultation hour.
    • Sign-ups are on a first-come, first-served basis. If a Fellow is unable to select a date that works for them, it is their responsibility to see if another Fellow will exchange dates with them.
    • Fellows must participate by video in the Consultation Hour. Fellows should arrange in advance to have access to a computer, tablet, or cell phone equipped with a camera.

Monthly Written Reflections

  • Fellows must complete all monthly written reflections and submit their reflections on time, even if they were absent from a Live Session. Late and non-submissions of monthly reflections will count as missed hours.

Culminating projects

  • Fellows must complete all elements of the Culminating Project, including on-time submission of written progress reports and a presentation at the end of the Fellowship.
  • All Fellows are expected to participate in and contribute in a meaningful way to the development of their project, as well as the delivery of the presentation.
  • Fellows are expected to work collaboratively with the other members of their team to complete project-related tasks in a timely manner.
  • Late submissions and non-submissions of progress reports will count as missed hours.
  • Fellows are expected to provide all project-related materials and information to the Fellowship Team in a timely manner so that the necessary support can be provided for the presentations.

Professional conduct

In order to maintain a respectful environment and mutually supportive learning community for all participants, the following code of conduct has been established for the Fellowship.

  • Fellows are expected to come prepared and ready to actively engage in discussions, small group work, and experiential activities. Training will consist of a combination of didactic instruction, discussion, and hands-on activities and Fellows are encouraged to participate in a variety of learning experiences.
  • Fellows are expected to join on time and stay engaged for the full duration of each session. Active participation and engagement are required (including attending with cameras on, contributing to large group discussions and breakout room activities in small groups).
  • Fellows are expected to notify the Fellowship Program Coordinator by email at least ten days in advance of any anticipated absences and within two days following any unanticipated absences.
  • Fellows who are repeatedly late, leave early, go off camera, have multiple absences, do not communicate with the Fellowship Team about their absences, do not submit written reflections or progress reports (or repeatedly submit them late), or engage in other behaviors that detract from the learning environment may be dismissed from the Fellowship.
  • In order to promote organizations’ support for the training experience, supervisors will be provided with updates regarding Fellows’ participation and training topics.
  • Fellows are asked to be open to considering and reflecting upon a diversity of perspectives on work in the early childhood landscape and are expected to express any difference of opinions with one another in a respectful manner.

Fellowship Details & Dates


  • September 2021 – June 2022
  • Live Sessions will occur one Friday-Saturday session each month (September will only have a Friday session).
    • Friday and Saturday sessions will typically run from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
    • Please note that end times may vary slightly for some days. Fellows will have advance notice of any modifications to the daily schedule.

Consultation Hours will occur on a Thursday morning for an hour, prior to the next Live Session.

  • Fellows are required to sign up for one Consultation Hour during the Fellowship that will occur prior to the Collaborative Learning Group they are facilitating during the following month (see dates below). Sign-ups for this process will occur in October.

  • Sign-ups are on a first-come, first-served basis. If a Fellow is unable to select a date that works for them, it is their responsibility to see if another Fellow will exchange dates with them.
  • Beginning in February, Consultation Hours are an optional opportunity for Fellows to seek support related to their Culminating Projects.  Thursday dates for optional Consultation Hours are 2/24/22, 3/24/22, 4/28/22, and 5/26/22.


  • The program is free to Fellows, as participation is subsidized by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

Continuing Education

  • UCLA Division of Population Behavioral Health is an approved sponsor by the American Psychological Association to provide continuing education for psychologists.  Professionals who typically request CEs include licensed psychologists, social workers, and marriage and family therapists.  We suggest you check with your state licensing board to see if these CEs will meet your requirements.
  • Fellows will receive CEs for the sessions they attend in full and for which they complete an evaluation.
  • Late arrivals and early departures will impact Fellows’ ability to receive CEs.

Application Process


  • Applications for the 2022-2023 Fellowship will be accepted starting April 2022.

Application Materials:

  • Online application (applications for the 2022-2023 Fellowship will open Spring 2022)
  • Supervisor recommendation form (email with link will be sent after application is submitted)
  • A current curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Please note that upon acceptance, Fellows will need to submit a photo for a Fellowship Directory and share their e-mail address with the Fellowship Cohort and Team.

Selection criteria and admission decisions:

  • Current work that impacts young children and/or their families, especially those in under-resourced communities
  • Clearly articulated goals for the applicant’s learning experience
  • Representation of a diversity of organizations, sectors, and disciplines
  • Supervisor’s recommendation of the applicant and organization’s commitment to support the Fellow’s training experience
  • Applications from organizations who are supporting more than one applicant will be given some preference (although it is not guaranteed that every applicant from the same organization will be accepted)
  • Thoughtfulness and completeness of the application

Need more information?

Join Our Mailing List

Join our mailing list to receive updates and application reminders.

Join our Mailing List