The Infant Mental Health Competency Guidelines and Endorsement®

The AAIMH Competency Guidelines for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® (the Competency Guidelines) identify the knowledge, skills, and reflective practice approaches that lead to quality services and effective support for infants (0-36 months) and their families, across disciplines and in multiple service settings.

The Competency Guidelines® are the framework for the AAIMH WA Endorsement® process. The Competency Guidelines and Endorsement offer a guide and a cohesive approach to workforce development in infant mental health (IMH) across disciplines, including and not limited to:

  • early childhood educators and centre managers
  • GPs and nurse practitioners
  • child health nurses
  • midwives
  • social workers
  • pre-and post-natal health professionals
  • child protection workers
  • psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health professionals
  • speech-language, occupational and physical therapists
  • policy and research professionals
  • Independent Children Lawyers (ICLs), Family Lawyers, and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDRPs)
and those offering training to them such as university and TAFE lecturers.

                                                        Photo courtesy of Goodstart Early Learning

AAIMH WA adapted the Competency Guidelines for the WA context from those developed by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH). These guidelines are recognised internationally as the 'gold standard' to support practitioners, educators, policy makers and the community in their understanding of the specific knowledge and skills set that lead to best practice in IMH work.

AAIMH WA was the first affiliate of the World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) outside the USA to adapt the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines® and Endorsement® for the local context.

You can access and download the complete guidelines (68 pages booklet) by clicking on the button below. 

AAIMH Competency Guidelines® AAIMH Competency Guidelines®

Separate PDFs for each endorsement category can be downloaded from the  'Categories of Endorsement' page.

Please note: The materials supporting AAIMH Endorsement®  are copyrighted by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH). AAIMH is able to make these materials available to our membership and collaborators through a licensing agreement with MI-AIMH. Copyright law allows individuals to print out or make ONE copy of copyrighted material for personal, non-commercial purposes only. Only one download is allowed per user.

Why be endorsed?

AAIMH WA Endorsement® is a recognition and credentialing of the professional development and knowledge of service providers who work with children from birth to 36 months and their families

  • within the context of parent-child relationships, and
  • promoting both an understanding of the needs of infants and young children, and of their parents' unique ability to meet those needs.

Endorsement recognises your professional knowledge, experience and best practice skills. It also:

  • attests to your experience in engaging in reflective supervision
  • provides a road map for professional and developmental growth
  • recognises the importance on continuing education and reflective supervision for services with a high level of quality and integrity
  • improves professional opportunities and advancement potential.

Applying for endorsement

Applying for endorsement involves submitting a portfolio online. Your portfolio documents your education, training, professional skills and experience. It demonstrates that you meet the requirements for the category that is the most appropriate for you.

Before applying, please read the sections below to learn about the endorsement categories, requirements and application process.

AAIMH WA Endorsement® is a rigorous process with specific requirements. While it may seem overwhelming at first, AAIMH WA is dedicated to making this process as accessible as possible to applicants. 

If you have questions please contact the Endorsement Coordinator at

AAIMH WA acknowledges the Mental Health Commission of Western Australia (MHC) for its ongoing support and funding for the introduction and promotion of the AAIMH WA Competency Guidelines and Endorsement® framework to the WA workforce and wider community.

Learn more

Background to the decision to adapt the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines® for the WA context:

Thank you to MI-AIMH, the Alliance and New York State Association for Infant Mental Health for the permission to adapt some of their online information for the AAIMH WA Endorsement® webpages.