Policy Resource

Aim Early Idaho

Jan 9, 2016

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.

In 2009, the Idaho Secure Beginnings workgroup took an important step in helping the states early childhood workforce build core knowledge and skills about the social-emotional health of very young children. In fall 2009, using IDEA Part C funds allocated as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), they purchased a license to use the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Healths competencies and endorsement process. In doing so, Idaho joined 10 other states that have purchased a license to use the competency-based system of professional development. Adopting the Michigan endorsement process has allowed Idaho to use this system to support professionals in promoting infant and early childhood mental health principles and practices and verify that they have the core knowledge needed to work with very young children and their families.

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, as well as individual mental health providers, successfully organized statewide conferences and trainings to promote infant mental health, as well as worked locally with Part C programs and other partners to develop plans to strengthen their work in this area. Additionally, in the spring of 2009, the group formed the Idaho Association for Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health, which became an official affiliate of the World Association for Infant Mental Health in 2010. As a result of these foundations, they were well poised to build an infant mental health endorsement system when the ARRA funds became available.

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, the Idaho Association for Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health (AimEarlyIdaho) took over the management of the process. AimEarlyIdaho has joined the League of States, an affiliation of 22 states who adopted the Michigan endorsement system, and has finalized the system as their established endorsement program for professionals.

By 2015 AimEarlyIdaho had 8 individuals endorsed and three pending endorsements.

In addition, the website (http://AimEarlyIdaho.org) has an excellent library of information for families and professionals.

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