Who We Are

The Rhode Island Association for Infant Mental Health (RIAIMH) is a professional non-profit membership organization that offers expertise in infant and early childhood mental health. RIAIMH was founded in 2002 and received 501c(3) status in November 2003. Our volunteer board represents all the regions of our State, as well as a wide range of professional roles and programs that serve infants, young chidren and their families.

RIAIMH is one of 57 affiliates of the World Association for Infant Mental Health and a founding member of the national Alliance for the Advancement for Infant Mental Health.

The Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health (Alliance) is a global organization that includes those states and countries whose infant mental health associations have licensed the use of the Competency Guidelines® and/or the Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® (Endorsement®) under their associations’names. Primary roles of the Alliance include:

  • Encouraging the advancement of workforce development through the Competency Guidelines® and the Endorsement®
  • Facilitating cooperation among all people to achieve the optimal development of infants, very young children and caregiver relationships
  • Providing training and technical assistance to strengthen each organization’s capacity to promote the Competency Guidelines® and carry out the Endorsement® process, assuring quality across all participating states

What We Know

At RIAIMH, we believe that healthy infant and early childhood development rests on early relationships—relationships that help babies feel secure and confident that their needs will be met as they explore the worlds around them.

Extensive research has shown that the quality of experiences in the first 3 years of life shape a baby’s developing brain architecture in powerful ways. When an infant or toddler forms close, secure attachments with a parents or caregiver, she feels free to explore, learn, and play. She starts to build a sturdy foundation for development. We also know that when a baby experiences high levels of stress from abuse, neglect, or other challenging conditions in her environment, without support from a trusted and protective caregiver, her body responds by releasing chemicals that threaten her brain architecture. This can have a profound impact on current and lifetime health, mental health and learning. We know that strong and solid relationships serve as the foundation for the young child’s healthy growth and development—RIAIMH ‘s mission is to foster supportive relationships between the baby and each of her important primary caregivers, as well as among all the providers who care for her.