Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

To truly honor and celebrate human diversity, Start Well must first acknowledge that our work is done on the ancestral land of the Acjachemen Nation. It is important to recognize and respect the history and contributions of the hundreds of indigenous communities that stewarded this land prior to the establishment of modern-day Orange County. Beginning with our native people, Start Well works to understand the historical and socio-political contexts that shape families’ experiences and appreciate the complexity of cultural identities.   

The roots of the Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) model are developed and nurtured through the promotion of equity, inclusion, and diversity. The role of the IECMH consultant is to ensure fair, positive, and equitable learning experiences for all children and families. Start Well consultants use the Consultative Alliance, which is the relationship between the provider and the Mental Health Consultant, to create space whereby change in practices can occur. The Consultative Alliance is nurtured and facilitated by consistency in availability, mutually agreed upon goals and plans, perspective-taking, clear communication, respect for the unique culture of each program, and willingness to explore potentially difficult topics (Davis et. Al, 2018). It is here, in the Consultative Alliance, where equity, diversity, and inclusion are brought forward, discussed, addressed, and mitigated.

Start Well recognizes that each dyad in a relationship (family/child, child/child, MHC/provider, teacher/child, teacher/family, teacher/administration, etc.) braids together culture, beliefs, race, ethnicity, ability, and experiences and each person in that relationship has equal voice and representation.

Start Well practices the Tenets of the Consultative Stance (Johnston & Brinamen, 2006) to ensure we create space to address diversity, equity, and inclusion in our programs. They are:

  • The centrality of relationships
  • Parallel process as an organizing principle
  • Avoiding the position of the expert
  • Mutuality of endeavor
  • Understanding another’s subjective experience
  • Considering all levels of influence
  • Hearing and representing all voices
  • Wondering instead of knowing
  • Patience
  • Holding Hope


Start Well believes:

  • All should be afforded the same opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
  • We must create a platform for all voices to be heard.
  • Each person’s unique background, perspective, and experience is valued and necessary.
  • All people are valued and should be respected and treated with kindness.
  • All people should be supported in the best way possible according to their needs.


Start Well prioritizes and values Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in their work by:

  • ensuring materials, trainings, content for families, children, and classrooms are accessible and represent the children and families we serve
  • wondering and asking questions
  • avoiding assumptions
  • celebrating diversity
  • acknowledging our own implicit and explicit biases
  • actively and intentionally working to mitigate bias and ensure equity and inclusion
  • holding space for diversity of thought
  • honoring and including all voices
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