Infant Mental Health Specialist supports and reinforces parent’s capacity to seek appropriate care during pregnancy. They identify both typical and atypical development during pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood through formal observation, assessment, and in day-to-day interactions with the infant/very young child and family. The Infant Mental Health Specialist provides information, guidance and support to families related to the development and care of infants/ very young children to further develop their parenting capabilities and the parent-infant/very young child relationship. The Infant Mental Health Specialist ensures that the information is provided in the family’s language. They develop service plans that take into account each infant’s/very young child’s and family’s unique needs, desires, history, lifestyle, concerns, strengths, resources, cultural community, and priorities. During observations and assessments, the specialist identifies emerging competencies of the infant and very young child within a relationship context. Also, supports and reinforces each parent’s strengths, emerging parenting competencies, and positive parent-infant/very young child interactions and relationships.
Infant Mental Health Specialist’s establishes trusting relationship that supports the parent(s) and infant/very young child in their relationship with each other and that facilitates change. They work with the parent(s) and the infant/very young child together, often in the home, in accordance with accepted practice. The specialist observes the parent(s) or caregiver(s) and infant/very young child together to understand the nature of their relationship, developmental strengths, and capacities for change. Also, the specialist conducts observations, discussions, and formal and informal assessments of infant/very young child development, in accordance with established practice. The Infant Mental Health Specialist observes and articulates the infant’s and parent’s perspectives within a relationship context. They recognize and hold multiple viewpoints, e.g., the infant, the parent, and the service provider. They interpret and synthesize information (including family perceptions and priorities) from observations, discussions, and formal and informal assessments to: identify and feed back to the parent(s) or caregiver(s) the strengths, capacities, needs, and progress of the infant/very young child and family/caregiver(s) develop mutually agreed upon service plans incorporating explicit objectives and goals formulate clinical recommendations that guide best practice. Infant Mental Health Specialist effectively implement relationship-focused, therapeutic parent-infant/young child interventions that enhance the capacities of parents and infants/very young children. This helps parents identify goals and activities that encourage interaction and that can be woven into the infant’s/very young child’s and family’s daily routines. The specialist uses multiple strategies to help parents or caregivers: understand their role in the social and emotional development of infants/very young children understand what they can do to promote health, language, and cognitive development in infancy and early childhood.