Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health

The Alabama Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (AAIECMH) was formed in January 2017 and will operate under the name of First 5 Alabama.  During this time, the AAIECMH became a licensed affiliate of the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health®, a global organization that includes those states and countries whose infant mental health associations have licensed the use of the Competency Guidelines® and Endorsement® for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® under their associations’ names.

Purpose and goals of the Association:

• promote the healthy social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of children from conception through five years of age through supportive and nurturing relationships;
• facilitate interdisciplinary cooperation among individuals concerned with promoting conditions that will bring about the optimal development of infants and young children;
• encourage the realization that infancy is a sensitive period in the psychosocial development of individuals and to promote education, research, and study of the effects of mental development during infancy on later normal and psychopathological development; and
• promote the education, professional development, and Endorsement® of professionals across multiple disciplines to increase the supply of early childhood mental health consultants to enhance programs of care, intervention, and prevention of mental impairment in infancy and early childhood.

Mission of First 5 Alabama to support cross discipline work:

 The mission of First 5 Alabama is to enhance healthy attachment relationships between children birth to age five and the adults who care for them through promotion, prevention, and intervention supports throughout Alabama's early childhood systems.

More information about First 5 Alabama membership and endorsement can be found on their website https://www.first5alabama.org/

First 5 Consultation Project:

the first 5 Consultation Project is a combined effort between multiple state agencies that serve children and families. It is unique in that it pairs an infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) consultant with providers who care for infants, young children, and families to collaboratively provide a problem-solving and capacity-building intervention. While infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC) is considered an indirect service, it is relationship-based focusing on helping caregivers to effectively support the social and emotional development of children in their care. IECMHC is a holistic approach focusing on the full spectrum of the child’s needs and grounded in the latest developmental theory and research. It is not just for those children identified with mental health or developmental challenges, but for all children and caregivers birth through 5 years.

Currently, the First 5 Consultation Project is present in licensed child care facilities and will soon be available to First Class Pre-K and Early Intervention programs.

What is Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement (IMH-E®/ECMH-E®)

Endorsement® is intended to recognize experiences that lead to competency in the infant and early childhood-family field. It does not replace licensure or certification, but instead is meant as evidence of a specialization in this field. IMH-E®/ECMH-E® is a registered trademark that indicates that a person has been awarded Endorsement® by their state’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Association, which is a licensed affiliate of the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health and meets the Endorsement® criteria. IMH-E® represents work with the birth to 3-year-old child and family, while ECMH-E® represents work with the 3 to 5-year-old child and family.

For more information, please contact Dallas Rabig, LPC, IMH-E® at dallas.rabig@ece.alabama.gov or (334) 202-2717.