The AAIMH Competency Guidelines and IMH Endorsement® 

Providing services to babies, young children and their families—particularly those facing adversity—is a challenging job. It requires a unique set of skills, experience, competencies and access to support and professional development.

The good news is that most practitioners and educators have many of the skills and competencies they need to support the emotional health and wellbeing of children and their families .

Strong scientific evidence shows that safe, stable nurturing relationships are central to early relational health, which is a key building block for the development of babies’ brains and good mental health during the lifespan.

The AAIMH Competency Guidelines® describe the specific competencies that are central to supporting early relational health when working with babies, young children and their families, starting from conception. They identify the knowledge, skills, and reflective practice approaches that lead to effective, quality services for infants (0-36 months) and their families, across disciplines and in multiple service settings.

                                              Photo courtesy of Goodstart Early Learning

The Competency Guidelines are the basis for the Infant Mental Health Endorsement® process. As a framework, the IMH Competency Guidelines and Endorsement offer a guide for professional development for practitioners and educators across disciplines, including First Nations practitioners and those from Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. It is a proven cohesive approach to workforce capacity building in infant mental health (IMH).

Disciplines include but are not limited to (listed alphabetically):

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

and those offering training to them such as university and TAFE lecturers.
You can access and download the complete guidelines (68 pages booklet) by clicking on the button below.

please read the IMH Competency Guidelines in conjunction with
the 2022 changes to IMH Endorsement requirements

AAIMH Competency Guidelines® AAIMH Competency Guidelines®

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

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.

Note: Endorsement is only available to those residing in WA.

COPYRIGHT: The materials supporting IMH 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?

The prenatal and zero-to-three workforce needs and deserves specialised support. IMH Endorsement ensures that the practitioners and educators serving the most vulnerable are equipped with the culturally-responsive and reflective skills to promote early relational health, making life better for babies and their families.

What West Australian IMH endorsed practitioners say...

Applying for endorsement

Applying for endorsement happens online by submitting information about your education, training, professional skills and experience. This information documents how meet the requirements for the endorsement category that reflects the scope of your work and is the most appropriate for you.

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

IMH 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.