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  • 07 Jul 2021 by Michelle 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?