The first infant mental health competencies framework has been launched to ensure practitioners working with children aged 0-2 years have the right training and resources they need to support families.

The framework has been developed for all staff working with infants and their parents from pregnancy to the second year of life to help promote healthy infant development. It is designed to raise standards of care for families by supporting all staff to optimise their learning and skills and represents one of the first attempts to standardise competencies for infant mental health practice.

The framework has been developed by the Association for Infant Mental Health (AIMH (UK)) in partnership with the International Training School for Infancy and Early Years (ITSIEY).

The framework features 63 competencies which are divided into seven areas:

  • relationship-based practice

  • normal and atypical development

  • factors that influence caregiving

  • assessment of caregiving

  • supporting caregiving

  • reflective practice and supervision

  • working within relevant legal and professional framework.

There are three graded levels to each competency to cater for staff working in a variety of roles as follows.

  • Level 1: general knowledge and skills (for early years practitioners)

  • Level 2: advanced knowledge and skills (for nursery managers, health visitors, midwives, etc)

  • Level 3: the knowledge and skills required to supervise and manage (for parent-infant psychotherapists and specialist health visitors).

Self-assessment grids are provided for each level to record whether practitioners have achieved a competency or are working towards it.

More information on the framework is available here.

Last reviewed 14 May 2019