Impacting PA’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Workforce
The Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health (PA-AIMH), with support from the Pennsylvania Project LAUNCH Partnership, will be implementing the Competency Guidelines for Endorsement in Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health®, developed by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH). The implementation process will be a collaborative effort between PA Project LAUNCH and PA-AIMH and will be “launched” in March 2017. Pennsylvania has joined 25 US states and 1 international territory in the movement toward the promotion of infant mental health principles and practices, influenced in PA greatly by the recommendations of the Early Childhood Mental Health Advisory Committee (2009) who indicated PA should “adopt and promote a set of early childhood mental health competencies for all professionals and across all levels of service provision for families with children from conception through age five.”
An endorsement in infant/early mental health (I/ECMH) is a verifiable process that supports the development and acknowledgement of infant and early childhood professionals, within a framework that recognizes knowledge, training, and criteria for best practice standards. It is not a license or certification, but instead is an overlay onto a person’s professional credentials which recognizes achievement of competence in the area of I/ECMH.
PA-AIMH, in collaboration with PA Project LAUNCH, is excited to have taken this first step to ensure that professionals working with very young children and their families are knowledgeable and skilled in promoting social-emotional development and addressing mental health concerns. More information related to the competencies and endorsement system will be forthcoming as initial implementation moves forward.