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  • 07 Jul 2021 by Michelle Becerra Becerra

    Proclamation on Advancing Equity in Infant and Early Childhood Systems of Care

    June 2021 

    Advancing racial equity is critical to FAIMH’s mission of supporting and strengthening a diverse infant and early childhood mental health workforce to better serve the young children and families of Florida. To fulfill this mission, we must address systemic racism and implicit bias that creates racial inequities, barriers, and exclusion for infants, young children, their families and the professionals who serve them. As a professional organization that promotes the advancement of infant and early childhood mental health, we will continue to ensure that we are creating a safe and intentional atmosphere that advances full inclusion of professionals and families across all social identities. We believe that we can model cultural humility and a willingness to learn by being accountable for any negative impacts of our own biases during interactions with children, their families and professionals from diverse backgrounds. This will require our dedicated efforts to self-reflect, a willingness to listen to the perspectives of others, and a commitment to continuous learning to improve relationships across all systems.


    As we continue to tackle the root causes of inequities in the infant and early childhood mental health field, we will utilize the Diversity Informed Tenets for Work with Infants, Children and Families as guided principles to better understand the sociocultural and sociopolitical context of our diverse cultures and experiences. As an organization, we are guided by the Tenets because it is rooted in the belief that self-awareness and intentional action are the cornerstones of principles of equity and inclusion. These Tenets provide us with a framework to heal racial trauma and social injustices of all young children, their families and professionals who have experienced a legacy of historical trauma.


    Together, we can ensure that all infants, children, families, and professionals, regardless of their race, or ethnic backgrounds are nurtured, valued, supported and strengthened to achieve equity and social justice. In expressing our solidarity with the Black community through this proclamation, what is most important is what we do as an organization in the years ahead to demonstrate our commitment and dedication in becoming better allies.  Therefore, as an Association, we are committed to the children, families and professionals we serve. We understand that we have a role to play in helping to dismantle interpersonal and institutional racism. As such, we will continue to advance diversity, inclusion and equity work, both inside and outside of our organization, to take action towards lasting change by ensuring that all services are representative and impactful of all racial and ethnic communities. We will continue to ensure that our vision of equitable access is a reality for all children, families and professionals within the infant and early childhood mental health system of care. Together, we can make dreams become a reality for all, as we continue to remember that “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” (Native American Proverb)



    Dr. Harleen Hutchinson

    Vice President

    Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Workgroup

    Led by Dr. Harleen Hutchinson, Vice President of the Board


    FAIMH recognizes and celebrates the role diversity and inclusion play in our organization’s success. For years, we have worked intentionally on expanding our circle to include all professionals who serve infants, young children and families, on ensuring our leadership is diverse, and by supporting the use of the Diversity Informed Tenets for Work with Infants, Children and Families. We seek to continue this work by embracing inclusive relationships with individuals from varied background, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, beliefs and values. We will promote an organizational culture where everyone can thrive and feel a sense of belonging. In doing so, we seek to build our capacity for equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as we cultivate relational bonds and bridges across Florida that will enable everyone to grow and learn from each other.

    We have created this workgroup to look inward first, at our own organizational structure and processes, affirming our values--the guiding principles which we apply across the organization and underpin how our work is carried out. We believe that through relationships built on respect and integrity fostered by just actions, we can build a truly inclusive community where all feel that they belong, serve Florida with excellence, and create a diverse community by promoting equitable access and opportunities in the infant and early childhood mental health system of care.


    Research has shown that diversity alone doesn't drive inclusion. As you reflect on your organization, how do you create a culture of awareness, authenticity and accountability that drives inclusion and belonging for staff to be their best selves?

  • 25 Jun 2021 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    We are a community who comes together as one in times of tragedy.

    Today we hold our fellow community, our fellow families, those in particular, who are suffering the devastation and aftermath of the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida.

    Below we have included helpful guidance on how to talk with children when scary or sad things happen, as well as a way to donate to those affected by this tragedy.

    How Do We Talk to Children When Scary Things Happen?

    An article from University of Colorado Boulder, published March 2021

    When scary or sad things happen in the world, whether thousands of miles away, in your state, your town, your backyard or your home, kids look to the adults that surround them to help them feel safe and understand what is happening. This can feel tricky and challenging, particularly when the adults themselves are also responding to and making sense of the same experience. 

    The Center for Resilience & Well-Being in Schools at The University of Colorado Boulder, has resources to offer guidance for parents, guardians, teachers or anyone else who is regularly with children. The following is an adapted version of a resource on how to talk with children and youth when scary things happen. Full resources are available at this link

    Here are several helpful tips:

    1. Check in with yourself first

    Before talking with a youth, check in with yourself (How am I feeling? What do I need?) so that you are calm and grounded during the conversation. Just as youth have feelings about these experiences, so do adults. Checking in with yourself first will also help you to be ready to address any questions youth might have. It’s OK not to have all the answers. Your warm, open presence is the most important thing. 

    2. Clarify your goal

    As you approach the conversation, it can be helpful to start with a goal in mind. An overall goal is to create a safe space for youth to share their feelings, questions, reactions and experiences about the scary/sad thing and to feel your support. You might ask yourself, “How might I help my child feel safe?” “Is there some important information for them to know? Is there any misinformation to correct? What might my child already know or think about the situation?” 

    Keep coming back to messages of safety, support and willingness to keep talking. 

    3. Provide information

    Share simple facts and information about what happened and balance it with information about how adults and/or community systems may have stepped forward to help and create safety. Match the type and amount of information to the developmental level of the child. Ask open-ended questions about what they may have already heard and correct any misinformation. Keep this part of the discussion brief, simple and clear. Multiple short conversations can often be more powerful than a single long conversation. 

    4. Ask helpful questions

    Ask helpful questions to learn more about the young person’s thoughts, feelings, perspective and needs. The goal is to gain an understanding of the young person’s experience and not one of “fact finding,” or learning about specific details of a situation. The questions we ask should be open-ended and focused on their experience, emotion and perspective. (“What was that like for you?,” “How are you feeling?,” “What are you thinking/wondering about?,” Do you have any questions or worries?”)

    5. Validate feelings

    Normalize and validate their feelings. It’s okay to feel scared, sad or mad. This doesn’t mean that you’re normalizing the bad thing that happened, but instead you’re affirming that whatever they are feeling is normal and OK. You might say, “That makes sense,” “I understand,” “Other people feel that way, too,” and “You are not alone.” 

    6. Reduce media exposure

    Be aware of how much you are checking the media when you are with youth, and be aware of how much they are tracking the event in the media to monitor and reduce negative impacts. While it is part of our culture to be consistently connected to news and social media, if youth see that you are checking your phone or the television constantly, they may be more likely to do the same.

    Read more: Talking to Children When Scary and Sad Things Happen

    More coping resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network

    Please share with your colleagues, friends and family--anyone in your life who might be struggling to know what to say to their children during this time; anyone who wants to know how they can help the survivors.

  • 23 Jun 2021 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    From our Partners, the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health:

    To simplify the Endorsement process for all professionals trained by Child First, the Alliance and Child First have partnered to develop a co-branded crosswalk across Child First training and the Competency Guidelines for Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health and Early Childhood Mental Health®. 

    Child First has affiliates in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, and North Carolina (all of which are Alliance states!).  Endorsement Applicants in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, & North Carolina* can use the Crosswalk NOW!

    Enhancing the infant and early childhood workforce is critical.  The Alliance and Child First Endorsement Crosswalk is one way to support the advancement of professionals in our field by making the process of achieving this credential more accessible.  It is essential that the cross-sector infant, young child and family workforce is IECMH-informed, and the Endorsement process is one way to support this endeavor.  The Alliance is proud to partner with Child First on this initiative to reduce possible barriers to the Endorsement process for staff at Child First affiliate sites.

    Download the crosswalk.

  • 07 Jun 2021 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    RIOS™ 1: Using the RIOS™ Framework for Reflective Supervision


    Reflective supervision/consultation (RSC) is a form of ongoing professional development that supports infant and early childhood practitioners in their work and guides them in providing services focused on children’s needs.


    In this three-week online course, 10 clock hours, get an introduction to the principles and core competencies of RSC. Develop a foundation of knowledge about reflective supervision/consultation based in infant mental health theory and practice.


    This course uses the Reflective Interaction Observation Scale (RIOS™) as a framework. This course is a prerequisite for the online course RIOS™ 2: Advanced Reflective Supervision Using the RIOS™ Framework, intended for those currently providing or preparing to provide RSC.


    Summer 2021: June 14 to July 6, 2021. Register by June 7. Cost: $215

    Learning objectives:

    • Gain an understanding of the principles and goals of RSC.

    • Learn the structure of an RSC session.

    • Learn how to describe the topics of conversation and methods of inquiry used in RSC when employing the RIOS™ framework.  

    RIOS™ 2: Advanced Reflective Supervision Using the RIOS™ Framework


    Using the Reflective Interaction Observation Scale (RIOS™) as a framework, you’ll learn about the process of beginning and maintaining a reflective alliance with individuals and groups to help professionals build skills and increase self-efficacy. (28 clock hours)


    Summer 2021: July 12 to August 23, 2021. Register by July 5. Cost: Early bird through June 14: $340; After June 14: $360


    Learning objectives


    Learn about and/or expand your knowledge of:


    • the theoretical foundations of reflective supervision and consultation (RSC)

    • the Reflective Interaction Observation Scale (RIOS™) as a framework for the provision of RSC

    • best practice guidelines for reflective supervision/consultation

    • developing a reflective relationship

    • including race and culture in reflective supervision/consultation

    • cultivating reflective capacity in self and others

    • addressing common supervisory challenges

  • 04 Jun 2021 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    Please share with your early learning colleagues, friends, and local networks! FAIMH is proud to be sponsoring FAIMH Leader Noemi Marquez as the Keynote Speaker for all the 2021 Summer Summits:
    The Florida Association for the Education of Young Children (FLAEYC) is offering pop-up summer summits across the state to help early childhood teachers and directors better respond to the changing needs of young children after coping with COVID for more than 12 months. This day-long, in-person professional development opportunity focuses on infant and early childhood mental health strategies for the classroom, communicating with families to empower behavior change, and the ever important concept of self-care using developmentally appropriate practices, including play-based learning.
    The dates and locations are listed below. You can access the online registration portal by clicking the date or the location button below.
    ·         June 12: Panama City
    ·         June 26: Miami
    ·         July 10: Tampa Bay
    FLAEYC is keeping costs low thanks to sponsorship from the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health and local Early Learning Coalitions. FLAEYC is also offering scholarships to any early childhood professional – you do not have to be a FLAEYC member to qualify! This is truly an exciting opportunity to finally reconnect, safely, with peers for a unique learning opportunity that cannot be found anywhere else.  
    All classes are 8:30 am – 4:00 pm local time. The cost is $49 per person and includes lunch (before scholarships). CEUs are also available for a small fee and are FREE to all FLAEYC members.
    If you have questions, you can learn more online or by contacting Holly McPhail, FLAEYC’s Events & Communications Manager, at
  • 28 May 2021 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    From our Partners at ZERO TO THREE:

    Whether infants and toddlers are born healthy and with the potential to thrive as they grow greatly depends on their mother’s well-being – not just before birth, but even prior to conception. We are pleased to share a new policy brief, developed in partnership with Child Trends: Racism Creates Inequities in Maternal and Child Health, Even Before Birth.


    To inform maternal and child health policy and practice, this brief applies an even more targeted racial and ethnic equity lens to the review of the data from the State of Babies Yearbook: 2021, and lays out recommendations for policymakers and practitioners to promote equity and improve maternal and child health.


    The State of Babies Yearbook: 2021 shows that, even before the pandemic, our country wasn’t doing enough for our babies to thrive. In every state, significant disparities are hurting the ability for babies and families of color to thrive, often driven by historical and structural inequities. This supplemental report reinforces this understanding, exploring these disparities to better identify areas that warrant further examination and action.

    Looking to dig in even more? Listen to the Maternal and Child Health Panel from the State of Babies Summit!

  • 18 May 2021 by Christine Hughes Pontier



    Research shows that ACEs are at the root of many crises our community faces today. Gun violence, domestic abuse, overflowing jails, homelessness, child abuse, addiction, chronic disease, and mental illness are often the adult results of early childhood trauma. 

     “As a society, we simply can't afford to wait for children to fall apart before we do something. From ACEs science, effective strategies have emerged. It’s time to invest in them. NOW.” Renée Layman, Center for Child Counseling. Action now is more important than ever. Strategies to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic on children's mental health is urgent. 

    Leading the FightBarbara Pariente has been a lawyer and a judge in a career spanning over forty-six years. She served as a Justice on the Florida Supreme Court from 1998 until her retirement in January of 2019. During that time she served as Chief Justice; authored over 1000 opinions; participated in cases from Bush v. Gore (the presidential election case) to Terri Schiavo to redistricting following the passage of the Fair District Amendment.

    Her commitment to ensuring that cases involving children and families received the utmost attention in the court system and her advocacy for a fair and impartial judiciary are two of many issues she championed during her twenty-one year tenure on the Court. She is a strong voice for children in our child welfare and juvenile justice systems and often speaks about the impact of ACEs.

    On May 20, 2021, Justice Pariente will facilitate a leader panel as part of an action-oriented, 3-part Lead the Fight series, developed in response to the pandemic by Justice Pariente and our CEO Renée Layman to develop long-term strategies to support children's resilience and well-being.

    RSVP now!


  • 07 Apr 2021 by Christine Hughes Pontier


    Telling the story of America’s babies is more important than ever. PLEASE JOIN US!

    The State of Babies Yearbook: 2021 provides an in-depth look into the well-being of our nation's infants and toddlers, and shows that, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the littlest among us did not have the supports they needed to thrive. Because of these disparities, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on babies’ development and families’ stability.


    It is high time we implement policies that will address these barriers and set all our children up for success.

    On April 22 at 2pm EDT, we will bring together three expert panels to tackle the tough issues facing families today and lay out the strong, permanent, national policies that will ensure these families -- and their babies -- have what they need to thrive.


    This year's Summit promises to deliver new insights on what's facing our families, and how we can better support them and their families. 

    Economic Policy


    Even before the pandemic, families with young children lacked access to supports that would help them weather the COVID-19 crisis. What economic policies will help strengthen families?

    Darrick Hamilton


    Hamilton, Ph.D.


    The New School

    Ben Hammond


    Hammond, MA


    Niskanen Center

    Myra  Jones-Taylor


    Jones-Taylor, Ph.D.



    Anna Wadia





    Ford Foundation’s Future of Work(ers)

    Child Care


    Pre-COVID, families and providers struggled with the precarious economics of child care, and the pandemic has intensified that struggle, leaving a system in disarray. How can we build a system that works for all our families?

    Barbara  Chow


    Chow, MA


    Heising-Simons Foundation

    Walter  Gilliam


    Gilliam, Ph.D.


    The Yale University Child Study Center and Edward Zigler Center in Child Development & Social Policy, ZERO TO THREE Board Member

    Jackie Mader


    Mader, MA


    The Hechinger Report

    Jessica Sager


    Sager, J.D.


    All Our Kin

    Maternal and Child Health

    During COVID-19, overall parent and child emotional stress increased, and families report less emotional support and greater isolation. How can we improve the health and well-being of families and their babies?

    Rahil Briggs


    Briggs, PsyD




    Markita Mays


    Mays, LCSW


    The University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Services and Embrace: Perinatal Care for Black Families

    Kerri Schnake


    Schnake, MA


    SC Program for Infant/Toddler Care at University of South Carolina and the SC Infant Mental Health Association

  • 12 Mar 2021 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    A Moment to Remember & Reflect

    This week, many of us are marking the one year anniversary of when Florida shut down...our communities were ordered to shelter in place due to the uncontrolled pandemic, and our work moved to virtual operations.

    Anniversaries invite us to remember, and in a year like this, that is a heavy reality. As we reflect upon this anniversary and the experiences of the past year, you may feel renewed grief, overwhelm, or exhaustion. If you are feeling this way, know you are not alone. Know that this is expected. We are all mourning the collective trauma of this year. And we are still experiencing it. We still have loved ones getting sick and too many people dying. We still live with distance from loved ones, isolation, and the complex stresses of our circumstances.

    Many of our leaders and members (many of you!) have been on the front lines of the crises this year. Whatever our role, however we serve our communities throughout Florida--we have, in a year of incredible loss, continued to nurture the bonds of care and love, community and hope. While it is important to remember the sorrows, it is just as important to recognize and celebrate the ways we have shown up for each other, for our communities and for our values as an infant and early childhood mental health community.

    We learned more deeply what it means to center collective care and compassion in our services. We learned to more fully recognize our interdependence and prioritize the needs of those most vulnerable within and beyond our communities. We’ve helped people survive. We’ve cared for  Florida's children and their families. We’ve created reminders of beauty and kindness, and practiced gratitude to sustain us.

    So many of you, and your communities as a whole, have done so much to nurture life and care and hope in this time. May this have a lasting impact on our lives and work, reminding us always of what is most important.


    with care,

    Your FAIMH Family

    Join us on Friday March 19th

    At 12:00 PM EST, we will host a brief time where we can come together, remember those we have lost, honor each other, and allow ourselves to feel the weight of this moment in time--together, in community.

    We will have a time of silence honoring people in our lives we have lost over this year, we will practice a lovingkindness meditation to share wellbeing with ourselves, others, and the world, we will share words upon which to reflect, and we will celebrate our resilience.

    Register here. All are welcome, please share.

  • 10 Mar 2021 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    From our colleagues at Zero to Three:

    Today, Congress passed President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package which includes critical supports to help families struggling with the impact of the pandemic. After a year of advocating for policies that truly put families first, significant emergency supports for babies, families, and the child care system are finally on the way.

    Watch the statement of Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer, on the passage of the American Rescue Plan and explore ZERO TO THREE’s overview of how the plan addresses babies’ five critical needs.

    video statement from Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Offcer, ZERO TO THREE

    The American Rescue Plan represents a monumental step forward for babies and families - and your advocacy helped make it happen! Thank you for keeping the pressure on Congress to Think Babies and Act™ and pass this crucial emergency relief. Celebrate. . . and rest for what is next. There is still more work to do to make sure these investments are sustained and the policy advances are made permanent. Babies are counting on your continued action to ensure they have what they need to thrive now and in the future.  

    Share the good news with your colleagues and friends!

  • 04 Feb 2021 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    Un entrenamiento en los conceptos basicos de la salud mental en la infancia - Regístrese: Introducción a la Salud Mental en la Infancia - español

    jueves el 25 de febrero, 2021

    2:00 PM EST

    Miembros de FAIMH $15, No Miembros $20

    (Also offered in English on the same day at 12:30 PM EST - Register: Introduction to Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health - English)

  • 22 Dec 2020 by Cathy Timuta

    From our partners at the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions, and Healthy MomCare Network:

    The Chief Program Officer (CPO) will serve as a critical member of the executive management team. In collaboration with the CEO, the CPO will articulate and implement the strategic vision and leadership of the programs offered by the Healthy Start MomCare Network and its parent company, the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions. The position will oversee a significant portfolio of maternal and child health programs and related services; evaluate the effectiveness of programs to provide ongoing feedback and CQI; help to promote and diversify funding; raise the agency’s profile through external communications and partnership building; provide mentoring, guidance, supervision, and professional development to program staff; enhance services provided by staying abreast of developments in maternal and child health and home visiting; and provide technical assistance support for the 32 Healthy Start Coalitions and MIECHV subcontracted providers.

    The CPO will spend approximately 50% of the time directing Florida’s MIECHV program and 50% directing other programs that currently include: CONNECT coordinated intake and referral; Florida’s Healthy Start home visiting; Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems; Moving Beyond Depression Training; Mothers and Babies program; CAPTA nurse home visiting for substance exposed mothers, newborns and their families; and Seeking Safety.

    The position will be located at the Healthy Start MomCare Network office at 2002 Old St. Augustine Rd. Suite E-45, Tallahassee FL, 32301. Please note most staff are temporarily working remotely due to COVID 19.

    Visit the full job description on Indeed or on the FL Assoc. for Health Start Coalitions' website here.

    The job posting is open until Dec. 31, 2020. Interviews will be held in early January.

    Interested candidates may apply on Indeed or send a cover letter and resume to

  • 10 Dec 2020 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    Faded Conversations 2: Promoting the Mental Health of Black Children and Families

    Friday December 11, 12:30-1:45 PM

    Join the United Way of Broward virtually for the second installment of their Faded Conversations event series focused on highlighting and uplifting Black mental health—this time within the context of Black children and families.

    Learn from and engage with their moderated panel of Black mental health experts and advocates as they discuss important issues and next steps for promoting the mental health of Black families in Broward County. Presented by United Way of Broward County's Commission on Behavioral Health and Drug Prevention – Mental Health Promotion Action Team.

    Register at:

  • 20 Aug 2020 by Allison Parish

    An invitation from our former Board Member, Allison Parish, and the FL Association of Healthy Start Coalitions:

    In celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month, we are partnering with The Children’s Movement of Florida for this exciting opportunity. We invite you, your community, friends and families to join us in watching the Chocolate Milk documentary and participate in a Facebook Live session. You won’t want to miss it!

    Register here: to receive a link on Friday, August 28, to access the film. You can watch it on your own time prior to the event.

    On Monday, August 31, at 12:30 ET, we'll meet at for a conversation that centers on Black motherhood and illuminates the bold and courageous ways Black women have reclaimed and resisted a complicated history around breastfeeding and nursing.

  • 14 Aug 2020 by Christine Hughes Pontier


    FAIMH Vice President Jackie Romillo and Communications & Training Coordinator Christine Hughes Pontier were joined by Allen Yergovich of Kiwanis Florida at the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education Demonstration School, where Congresswoman Donna Shalala donated a box of ClearMasks and our FACES ARE ESSENTIAL Kit.

    This donation event, attended by several South Florida media outlets, was an exciting opportunity for FAIMH and our partners to share the importance of young children seeing the full faces of their caregivers. It also helps us spread the word to the community that this success of this program will depend on you! Our ability to raise the funds needed to donate ClearMasks + FACES ARE ESSENTIAL Kits to every child care program in the state will require each and every member and friend of FAIMH to donate and support us further by sharing this initiative with their network, friends and family.

    Right now, tens of thousands of Florida's children are in the care of early learning teachers whose faces are mostly covered all day long, and that represents a threat to those children's healthy brain development and their lifelong mental health. FAIMH feels the urgency with which we must get these fully transparent masks to children--do you? Please help us by sharing our social media posts and emails about FACES ARE ESSENTIAL, and donate generously. 100% of funds donated go directly to this initiative. Every $75 will get 1 box of ClearMasks + a FACES ARE ESSENTIAL Kit to a child care program.

    Learn more at

    Donate by visiting or by texting FACES to 202-858-1233

    If you represent an early learning program, you can get your program on our Priority List for donation.

    If you represent a business or organization who wants ClearMasks for your own use, contact us about our Buy One, Give One program.

  • 05 Jun 2020 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    June 5, 2020

    The Florida Association of Infant Mental Health (FAIMH) is committed to promoting both reflection and action to deepen the conversation and to foster self-awareness so that each of us can acknowledge and address the structural racism, implicit bias, and injustices that impact the well-being of the families we serve. We are also keeping in mind our infant and early childhood professionals of color who carry out this work in holding a safe space for the families’ experiences, giving voice to their pain, while managing their own emotions.

    As an organization, we stand in solidarity with communities across the nation who are speaking the unspeakable, committing ourselves to mitigate the chronic racism and trauma that has affected children of color, their families, and our infant and early childhood workforce.

    Our Board of Directors and Chapter leaders throughout Florida stand in solidarity with our community partners across the state who see, experience, and respond to racism and injustice through the work they do across many sectors. We are committed to supporting you and learning from you as we collectively work to examine our implicit bias and bring awareness to the work we do with families of color.

    We close with these words from our partners at Child-Parent Psychotherapy:

    “As a community that is dedicated to addressing the impact of trauma, we ask you to reflect on what you will do as individuals, as members of systems, and as members of our larger US society to actively address the forces within us and around us that contributes to the existence of racism and its associated crimes.

    No need to answer with what you are doing. Our hope is that we will all reflect and act in a deep and enduring way, so that we work to end this cycle of historical violence.”

    We invite you to join us in the work—work that each of us has to do for ourselves, work that no one can do for us.



    Florida Association for Infant Mental Health Board of Directors and Chapter Chairs

  • 19 Sep 2019 by Christine Hughes Pontier

    Funded by Allegany Franciscan Ministries

    The FAIMH Board of Directors is excited to announce that an idea that has been long in the works has launched as a funded project of FAIMH! Board Vice President Jackie Romillo and Board Member Christine Hughes were proud to lead the Training Academy launch party at the Miami Chapter Meeting on Sept. 11th at our partner site, the United Way of Miami-Dade.

    #TBT Last week FAIMH launched our Training Academy! We celebrated our commitment to building capacity and providing high-quality, relationship-based education and training for professionals working with infants and young children.

    Pictured Left to Right:  Dr. Christine Hughes, Jackie Romillo, Silvia Alvarez McBride, Dr. Harleen Hutchinson, Noemi Aguila-Marquez (Not pictured: Clarissa DeWitt)


    Meet FAIMH's New Training Coordinator & Expert Trainers

    Training Coordinator Noemi Aguila-Marquez, LCSW, IMH-E®

    Noemi Aguila-Marquez, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is the founder of Counsel & Connect, Inc., and has been in clinical practice since 2003. She is one of the first 22 persons in Florida to be endorsed as a Category IV Infant Mental Health Mentor-Clinical. She provides reflective supervision, professional education and agency consultation regarding infant and early childhood mental health, trauma, and gender & orientation concerns. She is also a Child Parent Psychotherapy practitioner and supervisor, and a Zero to Three DC:0-5 Trainer. Mrs. Aguila-Marquez is completing her doctoral degree in Social Work in Barry University specializing in trauma, child welfare, and transgender children/youth.

    Ms. Aguila-Marquez is FAIMH's Training Coordinator (a new part-time staff position) and will be coordinating and providing expert IECMH training through our FAIMH Training Academy thanks to funding from Allegany Franciscan Ministries.


    Expert Trainer Silvia Alvarez McBride, LMHC, IMH-E®

    Ms. Silvia Alvarez McBride is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and supervisor with clinical expertise in the field of infant and early childhood mental health, and was one of the first in Florida to earn the Florida Infant Mental Health Endorsement. Her work has focused on families referred by the Juvenile Court system following allegations of child neglect, domestic violence, and abuse for nearly twenty years. Ms. Alvarez McBride is the clinical supervisor for the University of Miami Linda Ray Intervention Center Infant and Young Children’s Mental Health Program team, where she also collaborated on the Miami Child Well-Being Court™ Model, a pioneering approach to meeting the relational, emotional, mental health, and developmental needs of young children in care. Ms. Alvarez McBride is a practicing clinical and reflective supervisor in the State of Florida for mental health counseling interns and clinical social work interns, provides infant and early childhood mental health education and training, and is a Zero to Three DC:0-5 Trainer.


    Expert Trainer Dr. Harleen Hutchinson, IMH-E®

    Dr. Harleen Hutchinson is the FAIMH Broward Chapter Chair and Executive Director of The Journey Institute, and was one of the first in Florida to earn the Florida Infant Mental Health Endorsement. She also works collaboratively as a clinician and leader with the Broward County Early Childhood Court. With a background in social work and psychology, Dr. Hutchinson has devoted her career to the clinical practice and research centered on children in the child welfare system exposed to trauma and children prenatally exposed to drugs.  Dr. Hutchinson is trained and nationally endorsed in the evidenced-based model Child Parent Psychotherapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Seeking Safety, The Circle of Security, a Becoming Trauma Informed Trainer, and Zero to Three's DC:0-5. Dr. Hutchinson is an adjunct professor with the Barry University School of Social Work, conducts training on topics related to early childhood trauma and attachment, and their impact on the parent-child relationship. She is a current board member of the Broward Healthy Start Coalition. and is recognized as a leader in Reflective Supervision.



    Expert Trainer Clarissa DeWItt, LMHC, IMH-E®

    Clarissa DeWitt, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, and Certified Circle of Security therapist, is the FAIMH Palm Beach County Co-Chair and the Director of the Center for Child Counseling's Institute for Clinical Training. Ms. DeWitt was one of the first in Florida to earn the Florida Infant Mental Health Endorsement, and has worked with children and families since 2006. She has training in a wide variety of best practice and evidence-based treatment models including Play Therapy, Filial Therapy, Triple P Parenting Program, Infant Mental Health, Child Parent Psychotherapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR and Zero to Three's DC:0-5 . Ms. DeWitt is a member of the American Mental Health Counselor's Association and the Association for Play Therapy, where she is currently co-chair of the Palm Beach/Martin County Chapter.



    Expert Trainer Jackie Romillo, LCSW

    Jackie Romillo, our FAIMH Vice President of the Board of Directors, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and the Administrator of the Early Childhood Development Department at Citrus Health Network. Beginning her career in adolescent substance abuse intervention, Ms. Romillo rose from direct-service provider to Executive Director of a small nonprofit in Little Havana over the course of a decade. In her role at Citrus Health Network since 2007, Jackie has sharpened her focus on infants and young children, is trained in Child Parent Psychotherapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Addiction Prevention, Brief Strategic Family Therapy, and Zero to Three's DC:0-5, and is a Qualified Clinical Supervisor. She has built a strong team of infant and early childhood mental health practitioners who support thousands of children and families across Miami-Dade County annually, and has been an integral support to FAIMH since she began as Miami Chapter Chair in 2008, joining the Board in 2014, and becoming our Vice President in 2019.

    2019-2020 Training Academy Opportunities are for FAIMH Members Only

    Become a member--or better yet, have your organization become a member--to ensure you are able to attend these high-quality, relationship-based infant mental heath trainings!

    FAIMH Memberships start at $15 (for students); $15 for child care providers; $50 for individuals (other professionals or IMH supporters)

    FAIMH Agency Memberships start at $100 (for child care providers); $150 for Mental Health Group Practices; $500 for Agencies with budgets under $5 million; $1000 for Agencies with budgets $5-$10 million; $1500 for Agencies with budgets above $10 million.


    Learn more about FAIMH membership or contact us with questions about which membership is best for you!

  • 12 Jun 2019 by Neil Boris

    Greetings FAIMH family! Welcome to the Spring 2019 edition of our Florida Association for Infant Mental Health Newsletter.  As always, there is much to highlight in our shared work for babies and their families.  

    Recently, we were reminded by the 2019 State of Babies report that Florida has a lot of growing to do: if you’re not familiar with this report, please review the findings here:  The State of Babies report makes it clear that Florida is mostly "getting started" in helping our youngest and most vulnerable citizens realize their full potential.  We have work to do.  

    The Board of Directors of FAIMH sees you--our membership--as change agents.  As we build a stronger infant mental health community in Florida, the needs of babies and their families will be recognized.  Together, we can change the State of Babies in Florida!  

    The centerpiece of our collective professional development work is the Florida Infant Mental Health Endorsement (FIMH-E®).  I'm happy to report ongoing progress in rolling out FIMH-E®.  FAIMH's Endorsement Workgroup, a small but mighty team that interfaces directly with the FAIMH Board of Directors, has been steadily guiding our Endorsement efforts.  In the last few months, almost two dozen infant mental health professionals from around Florida have led the way by going through our endorsement process.  I want to personally thank our tireless Endorsement Workgroup as well as those professionals who stepped up to be endorsed for all they’re doing to advance infant mental health in Florida.  The names of these leaders appear below in our Member's Highlight section. You can find out more about Endorsement here:  

    The efforts of our Endorsement team remind me that we are part of an incredible community of professionals.  In October of last year, we had our FIMH-E® kickoff meeting in St. Petersburg.  In the back of the room was one of the great leaders in our Florida mental health community. Herb Quay, aged 90, was there to be with us at our kickoff!  I am sad to report that Herb passed away in March of this year; if you didn’t know Herb, you probably know his wife of 34 years, Anne Hogan, who was on the Board of Directors of FAIMH (as our Past President) when we had the kickoff.  

    Herb was truly a man of letters--an accomplished academic psychologist whose legacy of training professionals in Florida is unrivaled.  For more on Herb's incredible career, please see: ...  We will miss Herb greatly and hold Anne in our collective hearts.

  • 31 May 2019 by Neil Boris

    Honoring our Florida Infant Mental Health Endorsement (FIMH-E®) Pioneers!


    FAIMH Endorsement Workgroup  

    The Team who makes it all happen!

    Lisa Negrini

    Anne Hogan

    Lisa Maddocks

    Debbie Goldberg

    Greg Van Pelt

    Marianna Tutwiler

    Cindy Horwitz


    Leadership Cohort

    The First Floridians to earn IMH Endorsement!

    Clarissa Dewitt

    Cecily Hardin

    Allison Parish

    Greg VanPelt

    Maite Schenker

    Kristie Skoglund

    Christine Hughes Pontier

    Jenna Waterbury


    Advisor/Reviewer Cohort #1

    The First Group of Endorsement Advisors & Reviewers!

    Cindy Horwitz

    Twila Jowers

    Roxanne Mayorca

    Julieta Hernandez

    Veronica Castro

    Harleen Hutchinson

    Silvia Alvarez McBride

    Christine Chaffin

    Noemi Marquez

    Angie Hilken

    Meredith Piazza

    Heidy Garcia

    Kimberly Renk

    Leslie Allen

    Jennifer Black

    If you're interested in learning more about Florida's new Infant Mental Health Endorsement,

    read more or contact us at 

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