Early Childhood Partnerships (ECP) is a community-based consultation, mentoring, direct service, and applied research collaborative within and among the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Education (Psychology-in-Education--Applied Developmental Psychology program; the Office of Child Development), and Pediatrics (affiliated with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC) and with regional, state, national, and international partners. 

ECP supports professional colleagues to use "best-practices" in order to help young children and families, particularly those at developmental risk and with delays/disabilities during the early childhood period, birth to 8 years of age. 

ECP forges innovative University-Community collaborations for mutual benefits using "participatory action research" methods. Organized under 6 "core" partnership programs, ECP is dedicated to innovative and effective prevention, intervention, resources, and research delivered on-site in natural community settings for early childhood professionals and young children. 

ECP's objectives are designed to highlight practice-based evidence, foster collaboration, establish the efficacy of prevention and intervention models, monitor epidemiologic trends, and inform public policy in order to promote the welfare of vulnerable children and families, and the professionals who support them.

ECP has partnered successfully with over 300 local, regional, national, and international agencies since 1994.

ECP is dedicated to a core mission of the University of Pittsburgh and the Chancellor to "civic engagement, community consultation, service learning, and applied research for practical benefits to children, families, and professionals". Moreover, ECP applies the core principles of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau: Interdisciplinary; Community-based; Family-centered; Culturally-competent; and Collaborative. 

Simply, ECP helps community partners to practice and prove "how good they are at what they do".



All ECP partnership initiatives promote the professional practices of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children and focus on common themes and aims to:

  • Provide regular, on-site consultation to teachers, administrators, and parents in early childhood programs;
  • Conduct applied research in natural home and community early childhood settings that offers clear guidelines about effective early childhood practices;
  • Ensure the use of evidence-based "best practices" by professionals in early childhood intervention who serve vulnerable young children;
  • Mentor early childhood professionals in their everyday work settings and routines;
  • Field-validate system reform models that can be applied to unify the early childhood intervention field with health and human service supports into a seamless network;
  • Foster community-based collaboration and consensus decision-making about creative solutions to important early childhood issues;
  • Pool human and financial resources to reduce redundancies and to design creative "transagency networks" to expand the expertise available to the early childhood community;
  • Advocate for change in public policy and political initiatives which will create a universal early childhood intervention system in the US;
  • Promote a network of prevention and intervention supports which will help young children develop the "building blocks" for early school success;
  • Serve as a regional "catalyst" for a unified early care and education network by providing government, foundation, and community stakeholders with understandable research outcomes and practice guidelines.




Stephen J. Bagnato, EdD, NCSP is a Developmental School Psychologist, and Professor of Psychology (Psychology-in-Education, Applied Developmental Psychology) and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, Schools of Education and Medicine.  Dr. Bagnato holds joint appointments in Pediatrics and Clinical/Developmental Psychology-both at the University. He is Director of the Division of Early Childhood Partnerships at the University within the Office of Child Development.  Dr. Bagnato is a core psychology interdisciplinary faculty member for The LEND Center at the University of Pittsburgh, a USDHHS, Maternal and Child Health Bureau leadership education institute (LEND) in neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Tracy Larson, MEd, NCSP, CAGS
Assistant Director, ECP; Manager, HealthyCHILD
PA and Nationally Certified School Psychologist

Amy Matz, PhD, NCSP
Manager, COMET; HealthyCHILD Psychologist
PA and Nationally Certified School Psychologist

Stacy Flowers, BS
Coordinator, WV HealthyCHILD

Audra Redick, MEd
Coordinator, WV HealthyInfants; DHC, WV HealthyCHILD

Jennifer Tepe, PhD
Manager & Early Intervention Specialist, HealthyInfants

Denise Esposto, MEd
DHC & Certified Child Life Specialist, HealthyCHILD

Antonio Fevola, MSW, PhD
Manager, SPECS

Carol Whitacre, BS
Coordinator, SPECS
Over 20 years experience in the early childhood field focusing on program evaluation, early literacy, and inclusion.

Rebecca Kronk PhD

Consulting Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Judy Riegelnegg, MEd
Instructional Development Specialist, COMET Team 
Program Site Coordinator, Youth Organizing Initiative (YOI)

Michael S. Bagnato, BA

Marketing and Communications Specialist

Iris Winter
Project Assistant


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