Aim Early Idaho
For more than six years, Idaho Secure Beginnings worked to increase awareness of early childhood and infant mental health issues and build a training infrastructure for professionals throughout the state.
The group, comprised of representatives from Head Start, Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems, Medicaid, education, behavioral health, child welfare, and mental health providers, successfully organized statewide conferences and trainings to promote infant mental health, and worked locally with Part C programs and other partners to develop plans to strengthen their work in this area.
In 2009, the group took an important step in helping the state’s early childhood workforce build core knowledge and skills about the social-emotional health of very young children by forming the Idaho Association for Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health (AIM Early Idaho) and purchasing a license to use the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health competencies and endorsement process. The state used IDEA Part C funds allocated as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to make the purchase. In doing so, Idaho joined 10 other states (totaling 27 in 2017) that had purchased a license to use the competency-based system of professional development and join the World Association for infant Mental Health, now called the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health.
In January 2010, Idaho Secure Beginnings leveraged a contract with the Idaho Child Welfare Training Center at Eastern Washington University to initially staff and develop the endorsement system. Over the next twenty months, they developed coursework content and promoted the process within the higher education system. Staff at the Idaho Child Welfare Training Center underwent recruiting for the first cohort to enter the endorsement process, and began training in spring 2010. Once the endorsement system was fully developed, Aim Early Idaho took over the management of the process. As of November 2017, there were 9 individuals endorsed by Aim Early Idaho.
The purpose of the Infant/Toddler Incentive Program is to increase the number of infant/toddler child care spaces available to low-income families.