While infants may not be able to communicate their feelings through words like older children and adults do, they can still feel, hear, respond and experience the world around them which can have either a positive or negative impact on their social and emotional development. It is crucial during the first three years of when a baby’s brain is being built, that we provide them with positive and supportive environments that foster and model the skills needed to build resiliency and overcome negative experiences.
Preparing the adults who interact with our babies is one of the most important things we can do to support infant mental health. Recently, Ohio took an important step in addressing infant mental health by announcing the Ohio Infant Mental Health Credential available to all professionals in the early childhood field. The credential is based on nationally recognized infant mental health practices that are known to support infants and caregivers as they develop. To accommodate and support all early childhood professionals, there are three levels of the infant mental health credential for professionals to choose from depending upon their scope of practice and experience:
Ohio Infant Family Affiliate Level I (screening level)
Ohio Infant Family Practitioner Level II (assessment/early intervention level)
Ohio Infant Mental Health Practitioner Level III (assessment/treatment/consultation level)
Each credential level has varying eligibility and training hour requirements and has its own set of core knowledge and competency content areas that are designed to fit the needs of the professional. All early childhood professionals who work with infants are encouraged to review and apply for the credential. To learn more and apply for the credential, please visit the Ohio Child Care Resource & Referral Association at: www.occrra.org/our-resources-page.