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Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement® Overview

Who are Some of Virginia's Endorsees?

Endorsement® through VAIMH supports and recognizes the development of professionals who work with or on behalf of pregnant people, infants, young children, and their families, and is intended to recognize experiences that lead to a competency in the rapidly expanding infant/early childhood-family field. Endorsement® is cross-sector and multidisciplinary, consisting of professionals from child and/or human development, education, nursing, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, social work, and others. Endorsement® indicates an individual's efforts to specialize in the promotion and practice of infant or early childhood mental health within his/her own chosen discipline.

What is Endorsement?

The Endorsement® was developed by Michigan's Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH) in 2002 and is now used by 35 state associations of infant mental health (AIMHs) and two international associations (as of January 2024). Each of those AIMHs is a member of the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health. As of December 31, 2023, over 5,300 professionals have earned Endorsement worldwide.

What is its History?

The Endorsement® credential is intended for everyone who applies IECMH principles in their work across the full continuum of promotion, prevention/early intervention, clinical intervention/treatment, and macro scopes of practice.

Who Should Apply?

Earning Endorsement® demonstrates to employers and peers that you have attained a level of competency in culturally sensitive, relationship-focused practice that promotes IECMH through a focus on principles, best practice skills, and reflective work experiences that lead to increased confidence and credibility in supporting infants, young children, families, students, agencies, and institutions in the promotion of infant and early childhood mental health.

Why Apply for Endorsement®?

The Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement® (ECMH-E®) is meant to provide a pathway to Endorsement for professionals who are promoting and implementing infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) principles and practices in their work with or on behalf of children ages 3 up to 6 years old.

What is the ECMH Endorsement®?

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Why is IECMH so Important?

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IECMH

Office Hours

Categories of Endorsement

Categories of Endorsement®

The 6 categories of endorsement align with a professional's scope of practice.

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Promotion

Family Associate
I/ECFA

Professionals who work directly with pregnant people, infants, toddlers, young children, and their families, or within a program that supports this population in order to promote optimal social emotional development and/or early relational health.

  • child care providers

  • family day home providers

  • preschools

  • administrators

  • child welfare staff & more

Prevention/Early Intervention

Family Specialist
I/ECFS

Professionals who work directly with pregnant people, infants, toddlers, young children and their families, or within a program that supports this population in order to prevent relationship disturbances or disorders of infancy/early childhood. 

  • early care & education professionals

  • home visitors

  • early intervention providers

  • mental health consultants

  • OTs, PTs, SLPs & more

Mental Health Therapy

Mental Health Specialist
I/ECMHS

Licensed professionals who provide mental health treatment and/or clinical intervention to the infant/young child and their caregiver (dyadic therapy) when IECMH disorders exist or when a caregiver's mental or behavioral disorder affects their relationship with the infant/young child.

  • infant/young child-parent psychotherapists

  • private practice therapists, and more

Mentors & Leaders

Mentor-Clinical
I/ECMHM-C

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Mentor-Clinical professionals have many years' experience providing treatment and/or clinical intervention to the infant/young child and their caregiver (dyadic therapy) to address identified social-emotional and treatment needs.

They are also providers of Reflective Supervision/Consultation and have passed a two-part exam, which demonstrates their knowledge of IECMH principles and practices as they relate to direct service and reflective supervision/consultation.

Mentors & Leaders

Mentor-Policy
I/ECMHM-P

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Mentor-Policy professionals have many years' experience promoting infant and early childhood-informed policy and program development.

They use their IECMH expertise to support macro systems and have passed a two-part exam, which demonstrates their knowledge of IECMH principles and practices as they relate to policy.

Mentors & Leaders

Mentor-Research/Faculty
I/ECMHM-R/F

I/ECMHM-Research/Faculty professionals have many years' experience promoting what we know in the IECMH community through research and academia. Their research addresses social emotional development and early relational health and/or treatment of infants, toddlers, young children, and their caregivers. 

They use their IECMH expertise to inform students, professionals, programs, and systems, and they have passed a two-part exam, which demonstrates their knowledge of IECMH principles and practices as they relate to research.

Endorsed Reflective Supervisors

The Endorsed Reflective Supervisor (ERS) credential is an add-on for Family Specialists (FS) and Mental Health Specialists (MHS) who actively provide (or are planning to provide) reflective supervision/consultation to infant and early childhood professionals. They ERS Providers are typically supervisors who use reflective practice and promote relationships in which staff/colleagues can explore ideas and emotional responses to the infant/family work environment, reflect about infants, young children, families and relationships, and nurture professional/personal development and growth.

Category Requirements

Category Requirements Overview

What Happens After I Become Endorsed?

Initial Endorsement Certificate
You will receive a personalized certificate that celebrates your achievement in attaining a level of competency in culturally sensitive, relationship-focused practice that promotes IECMH through a focus on principles, best practice skills, and reflective work experiences that lead to increased confidence and credibility in supporting infants, young children, families, students, agencies, and institutions in the promotion of infant and early childhood mental health.

You may begin indicating your Endorsement using the IMH-E® or ECMH-E® mark after your name.
                                                        John Doe, IMH-E®
                                                        Infant Family Specialist

Infant & Early Childhood Endorsement Funders

The Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement is supported by funds from:

a. The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) - Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia, State Part C Office;

- Represented by Tracy Walters, IMH-E®, IFS, Infant & Early Childhood State Coordinator, tracy.walters@dbhds.virginia.gov 

b. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) - Early Childhood Special Education & Head Start State Collaboration Office;

c. Early Impact Virginia (EIVA) - Alliance of Home Visiting Programs in Virginia; and

 

d. The Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Education

- Represented by Jackie Robinson Brock, IMH-E®, IMHM-P, Early Childhood Mental Health Virginia (ECMHVA) Initiative, robinsonjb3@vcu.edu  

- Represented by Kristen Stahr, IMH-E®, IFA, IECMH Endorsement Coordinator, khstahr@vcu.edu

The ECMHVA Initiative at VCU partners with the Virginia Association for Infant Mental Health (VAIMH) to implement the Virginia Endorsement® for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health.

The Endorsement® is run through the Partnership for People with Disabilities at VCU 

VAIMH is a member of the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health and holds the license for Endorsement.

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