Overview of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement®
The intent of the PA-AIMH Endorsement (IMH-E® and ECMH-E®) is to recognize and document the professional development of infant/early childhood and family service providers within the diverse and rapidly expanding field, using an organized set of culturally sensitive, relationship-based, infant and early childhood mental health competencies. It is not a license or certification, but rather an overlay onto a person’s professional credentials that recognizes evidence of a specialization in the field of infant/early childhood mental health. The Endorsement is one of the first and most comprehensive efforts in the country to identify best practice competencies at multiple levels and across disciplines and to offer a pathway for professional development in the infant, early childhood and family field. Of additional importance, the PA-AIMH Endorsement will inform prospective employers, agencies and peers about culturally sensitive, relationship-based practice promoting infant mental health.
Why earn the Infant Mental Health Endorsement®?
Over 140,000 babies are born in Pennsylvania every year. It is imperative that our professionals are infant/early childhood mental health informed; using knowledge, skills and reflective experiences to guide our work with infants, toddlers, and families in promoting social-emotional development and addressing mental health concerns. The Endorsement materials provide potential candidates with a process for developing a professional development plan, and suggests a pathway for required and supplementary training and experiences to adequately prepare one for work in the infant and family field. Targeted and ongoing training for the professionals from the multiple disciplines that work with infants and young children and their families is essential to ensure that professionals understand infant and early childhood mental health and are equipped to promote positive practices to support these children, prevent problems when risk is identified, and intervene when necessary.
Who can Apply for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement®?
An endorsement in infant mental health (IMH) or early childhood mental health (ECMH) is a verifiable process that a practitioner has attained a level of education as specified, participated in specialized in-service trainings, worked with guidance from mentors or supervisors, and acquired knowledge to promote the delivery of high quality, culturally sensitive, relationship-focused services to infants, very young children, parents, other caregivers and families. Professionals eligible for endorsement range from those who have worked in the infant/early childhood field for at least two years to those who have received a doctorate in their field. Each level of Endorsement has a set of educational, work, training and reflective supervision/consultation requirements. For all levels, specialized work experience with infants, young children and their families is required.
PA-AIMH is an active member of The Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health™. PA-AIMH has licensed the use of the Competency Guidelines® and Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® from the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health with the propose of supporting infant mental health professionals across the Commonwealth. PA-AIMH is in the initial stages of implementation in collaboration with the PA Project LAUNCH Partnership, and is not yet accepting applications.