Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health

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“The first five years of life is the time of unparalleled potential and yet greatest vulnerability. These years are particularly important because they provide the foundation for every domain of human development. Children can only reach their potential in the context of sensitive, responsive relationships, and supportive environments. It is upon us, the adults in their lives, to ensure this happens. I can’t think of another time when having emotionally present, loving adults was more critical. During the global pandemic and this historic time of heightened awareness of racial disparities and action to end racism we need to support our infants and young children in making sense of the world, helping them be kind, empathetic, just, open, curious, healthy, and safe.” - Lana Nenide, WI-AIMH Executive Director

Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH) has information available to providers and families on several timely topics:

Background: WI-AIMH’s focus is the promotion of healthy social and emotional development of children birth to five. Their goal is to weave infant and early childhood mental health principles and practices into the fabric of all systems that touch the lives of infants and young children. They provide parents and professionals working with young children and their families (such as child care workers, home visitors, and pediatricians) the knowledge, skills and support to use practices that enhance healthy social and emotional development for all children.

WI-AIMH recognizes that the issue and impact of racism is inextricably bound to social and emotional well-being. WI-AIMH is committed to its mission and acknowledges that this commitment necessitates self-reflection on the thoughts, beliefs and unconscious bias that sustain the oppression of children and families of color.

With PDG funds, WI-AIMH aimed to reduce the likelihood of suspension and expulsion in early childhood settings by increasing early childhood educators’ (across ECE program types, family and group child care) and ECE coaches’ understanding of social emotional competencies and by supporting programs in implementing evidence–based, social emotional support strategies to address challenging behaviors. In 2021 WI-AIMH provided the following services, accounting for cultural, linguistic, and economic diversity within the populations served:

  • Provided continued engagement and participation in the Early Childhood Expulsion Policy Advisory Committee and the Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) with the intent to align current and future work with statewide policy decisions,
  • Subcontracted with the authors of the nationally renowned Climate of Healthy Interactions for Learning and Development (CHILD) assessment tool to provide reliability training and coaching on the tool to individuals providing support to ECE programs
  • Expanded the number social-emotional experts to support programs by increasing the number of coaches, trainers and individuals with an Infant-Toddler Mental Health endorsement in Wisconsin
  • Piloted technical assistance and evaluation tools that specifically target best practices in supporting children’s social and emotional development
  • Enhanced and updated Wisconsin Pyramid Model training content, creating an Implicit Bias training course, and creating and piloting Spanish e-Modules

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