The Infant Mental Health Mentor supports provision of information, guidance, and support to families related to the development and care of infants and very young children to further develop their parenting capabilities and the attachment relationship. The Infant Mental Health Mentor understands the conditions that optimize early infant brain development. The mentor supports interpreters and literature in languages that meet community’s needs. They also support informal and formal observations and assessments to identify capacities and strengths, as well as developmental delays and/or emotional disturbance in infants and very young children served. They will support informal and formal observations and assessments to identify capacities and strengths, as well as relationship disturbance, disorders, and risks in early childhood families. They encourage development of service plans that take into account each infant’s/very young child’s and family’s unique needs, desires, history, lifestyle, concerns, strengths, resources, and priorities. The Infant Mental Health Mentor promotes services that reinforce and nurture the caregiver-infant/very young child relationship. This is carried in parent-infant/very young child relationship-focused therapies and practices to explore issues (including attachment, separation, trauma, and loss) that affect the development and care of the infant/very young child. The mentor recognizes conditions that require the assistance of other professionals from health, mental health education, and child welfare systems. The mentor understands family relationship development, with sensitivity to cultural differences.
Infant Mental Health Mentor promotes relationship-focused service and infant/young child-and family-centered practice by identifying options and opportunities. The Infant Mental Health Mentor Identifies opportunities and needs for program improvements, expanded services, and new services. They partner with agencies, programs, legislative bodies, and/or service systems to develop new services and/or achieve improvements. The mentor may take the lead in facilitating new programs/improvements. The mentor establishes and monitors process and outcomes measures for continuous quality improvement; feeds information back to agencies. The Infant Mental Health Mentor assists agencies, programs, legislative bodies, and service systems in obtaining funding, including grant development and preparation. They advocate for funds/programming for effective service delivery to families outside of the dominant culture. They promote research and evaluation for program improvements. The mentor applies research findings to culturally sensitive, relationship-focused policy promoting infant mental health. The mentor also. shares his/her generated knowledge with others via publication in infant-family related books and journals and/or presentations at conferences.