Infant Mental Health Competency Guidelines

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 IMH Competency Guidelines offer a roadmap for infant mental health (IMH) development for practitioners and educators across disciplines, including First Nations professionals and those from Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

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, including obstetricians, paediatricians
  • psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health professionals
  • social workers
  • speech-language, occupational and physical therapists 

and those offering training to them such as university professors and lecturers and TAFE lecturers.

To download the complete Competency Guidelines booklet (68 pages), click on the button below. 

AAIMH Competency Guidelines® AAIMH Competency Guidelines®

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

The Competency Guidelines identify four competency categories reflecting specific scopes of work. You can download the separate PDFs for each of the four IMH Endorsement categories:

Copyright note: 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.


The Infant Mental Health Competency Guidelines were developed by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH). They 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.

The Competency Guidelines form the basis of the IMH Endorsement credential. Both were adapted by AAIMH WA for the West Australian context, working in close collaboration with MI-AIMH. 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® and bring them to the local workforce.

How AAIMH is implementing the IMH Competency Guidelines

In 2016 the AAIMH Board agreed to implement the IMH Competency Guidelines across the Association and membership. Learnings from the implementation in WA show that the implementation needs dedicated time and resources.

The implementation of the Competency Guidelines involves presenting the framework to members and infant mental health organisations, with the guidance and oversight of the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health (the Alliance). It is up to individual AAIMH members and organisations to choose whether they want to adopt the framework to guide their own learning and development, or, in the case of an organisation, to guide workforce development, including articulation of scope of practice and clinical governance.

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 Competency Guidelines to the Australian workforce and wider community.

Learn more
Background to the adaptation of the MI-AIMH Competency Guidelines® for the West Australian context:

The AAIMH WA Competency Guidelines and Endorsement® Project