A General Overview 

The Competency Guidelines for Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health® (Endorsement) are internationally recognized credentials that support and recognize the development and proficiency of professionals who work with or on behalf of pregnant women, young children, birth up to 6-years old, and their families. Both the Infant Mental Health Endorsement® (IMH-E®) and the Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement® (ECMH-E®) are based on a set of competencies designed to support and enhance culturally sensitive, relationship focused practice within the framework of infant and early childhood mental health. An Endorsement applicant demonstrates acquisition of these competencies through education, work, specialized training, and reflective supervision experiences.

Working with our youngest citizens requires specialized training and experience, and IMH-E® ensures professionals have attained a certain level of expertise with 0 – 3 year olds and their families.  ECMH-E® assures that professionals have attained a specific level of expertise with 3 up to 6-year olds and their families.  Both IMH-E® and ECMH-E® are relevant for professionals across disciplines including early care and education, prevention and early intervention, home visitation, medicine, child welfare, mental health, policy, academia, and others.


What is it? 

Infant Mental Health Endorsement® (IMH-E®) and Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement® (ECMH-E®) are two separate credentials that can be earned by anyone working with, or on behalf of, very young children and their families, with a focus on strengthening and supporting early relationships that are so crucial to a child’s social and emotional development. Endorsement® by Infancy Onward will verify that an applicant has acquired knowledge to promote the delivery of high quality, culturally sensitive, relationship-focused services to infants, toddlers, parents, other caregivers and families. 


Who can get it? 

Four categories of Endorsement® represent the varied disciplines that contribute to the field of infant and early childhood mental health. 


How do I earn it? 

The specific requirements for Endorsement® vary for each category, however eligibility is based on the level of education, work experience, in-service training hours (pertaining to the promotion of social-emotional development and/or the practice of infant or early childhood mental health), hours of reflective supervision received from an eligible provider, and three professional reference ratings. The applicant must also be a member of an infant mental health associa-tion, such as Infancy Onward or the World Association for Infant Mental Health. 

*Only one credential can be earned at one time, with at least a one-year waiting period between applying for the other. 


Endorsement® Fees 

IFA/ECFA (I) IFS/ECFS (II)IMHS/ECMHS (III) IMHM/ECMHM (IV)
Membership in Infancy Onward$50$50$50$50
Application Fee$15$25$25$25
Processing Fee $25$50$200$300
Total Cost:$90$125$275$375