New Mexico's Infant and Toddler Professional Development Track Builds a Strong Workforce for the State
With a mandate from the New Mexico Office of Child Development (OCD) in 1996, New Mexico created a statewide system of professional development for the workforce across various sectors working with children from birth through 8 years old and their families.
The Early Childhood Higher Education Task Force drafted and led the passage of a statute to mandate articulation between all two and four year institutions of higher education. Twenty institutions of higher education base their early childhood courses on the New Mexico common Core Competencies for Early Childhood Professional Preparation and utilize the same catalogue of courses and syllabi at the associate and bachelor degree level as of 2014.
The professional development system includes a track for Family Infant Toddler (FIT) Studies. Professionals who pursue this track are primarily home visitors and early interventionists striving to work toward an associates or a bachelors degree and corresponding levels of certification. The state created the NewMexicoKids.org website as a portal that features resources for state providers, families, OCD staff, training and technical assistance providers, and participants in the Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS) all in one place.
Early childhood professionals, administrators, and infant-toddler specialists who wish to obtain certification in Family Infant Toddler Studies are able to expand their professional skills as defined by core knowledge and competencies. Infant-toddler-specific content is spread throughout the competencies. The Family Infant Toddler pathway includes core courses and upper-division courses specifically for the infant“toddler workforce. Associates degree students focus on courses in relationship building, caregiving for infants and toddlers, and infant-toddler growth and development. Bachelors degree students, including those going into early intervention and home visiting, take courses in research, assessment, public policy and advocacy, and reflective practice. Infant mental health competencies are integrated into all coursework for those wishing to obtain endorsement. Course work can be done online. See http://www.fitstudiescourses.com/
This description of New Mexicos work is highlighted in ZERO TO THREE’s publication A Place to Get Started: Innovation in Infant and Toddler State Policies. Read the full brief at http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy. Updated February 2016.
Kansas was one of ten states that participated in a three-year infant and early childhood mental health (I-ECMH) learning community.