Competency guidelines and endorsement

We know it is so important that each and every professional who works with or on behalf of young children and families needs to be supported to incorporate core principles that promote social emotional health and wellness. That is, that 1) early relationships matter; 2) social emotional health cannot be considered outside the context within which care of young children is provided; and 3) reflective practice is an essential stance.

RIAIMH promotes a nationally established set of competency guidelines for the diverse array of providers in the infant/early childhood and family workforce. These infant/early childhood mental health competencies are designed to create a shared framework to guide development of knowledge, skills, and best practices across systems/services that serve infants/young children & families; invite dialogue for collaborative practice, training and professional growth; and promote systems growth and change.

The competencies are organized into general categories including:

  • Theoretical Knowledge Foundations
  • Law, Regulation, and Agency Policy
  • Systems Expertise
  • Direct Service Skills (observation and listening; screening and assessment
  • Working with Others
  • Communicating
  • Thinking
  • Reflection

These competencies are the foundation for The RIAIMH Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® The intent of the RIAIMH Endorsement (IMH-E ®) is to recognize and document the development of infant and family professionals within an organized system of culturally sensitive, relationship-based infant/early childhood learning and work experiences by:

a) establishing and aligning infant/early childhood mental health workforce standards; b) offering a framework for continuous growth and development of providers; and c) guiding the development of high quality systematic training and reflective practice opportunities for the cross sector workforce as a whole. This system promotes strategic understanding of the work required to intentionally develop and maintain relationships to promote infant/early childhood mental health – creating a more engaged, competent and committed infant-family workforce.

Depending on your academic, work and professional development experiences with infants/young children and families, you may be eligible to apply for one of four categories of Endorsement: 1) infant mental health associate; 2) infant-family specialist; 3) infant mental health specialist; or 4) infant mental health mentor in policy, clinical, or research arenas. [Overview of Endorsement ® levels and fees link.]

The materials Endorsement® are copyrighted by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH). RIAIMH is able to make these materials available to our membership and collaborators through a licensing agreement with the MI-AIMH. Copyright law does allow individuals to print out or make ONE copy of copyrighted material for personal, non-commercial purposes only.

The steps to RIAIMH Endorsement are:

  1. Become a member of RIAIMH
  2. Review the information on our website about the RIAIMH Infant Mental Health Competencies and Endorsement System ® . Contact the RIAIMH Endorsement Coordinator Lynn DeMerchant, , with any questions
  3. Use the “Getting Started” self study guide
  4. Register in the EASy system at
  5. Complete Registration on EASy and pay $25 registration fee
  6. EASy will email your temporary password to set up your account
  7. The Endorsement Coordinator will email more detailed information and advise as needed
  8. Complete your portfolio and submit with appropriate fee
  9. Approved Infant Family Specialist and Mentor applicants will take the Endorsement Exam
  10. Official notification of  Endorsement will be mailed

The Rhode Island Association for Infant Mental Health introduces the RI Early Childhood Mental Health Competency Guidelines for consideration across the varied early childhood serving sectors in RI. 

Read more here. Or Fill out form below to download the complete copy.



Please Complete The Form Below to Download the RI Competency Guidelines

Questions required prior to downloading the competency guidlines
  • Please provide us with your place of employment and/or the field in which you work/study.