The Ford Family Foundation has awarded PSU funding for 10 students in the Infant/Toddler Mental Health (ITMH) Graduate Certificate program. This grant will support recipients in rural Oregon who are working with families who have children ages 0–36 months and will increase capacity in infant mental health throughout Oregon.
Ford Family Foundation Program Officer Robin Hill-Dunbar said, “Providing access to coursework related to infant mental health in rural Oregon is critical. It is a pleasure to support students in the pursuit of the PSU graduate certificate and the Infant/Toddler Mental Health Endorsement. Our youngest ones and their caregivers are counting on those who serve them to understand and be able to best support their complex and unique needs.”
The project is led by Professor Ingrid Anderson, who has over 25 years of experience administering early childhood programs locally and regionally. Faculty who teach in the program are practitioners in social work, migrant head start, early learning hubs, parent education, and research.
ITMH is a 20-credit interdisciplinary program offering coursework through the PSU Counselor Education, Special Education, and Curriculum and Instruction departments. The ITMH certificate completers can use the courses as part of the PSU Master in Early Childhood degree.
The PSU ITMH graduate certificate was established in 2004 to address the growing field of practice in infant and toddler mental health. More than 125 graduates have completed the PSU program to date.
A handful of training programs across the country serve 22 states that offer infant and toddler mental health provider certification. PSU is the only program in the nation offering fully online coursework, which makes it accessible to both urban and rural areas.
ITMH practitioners are social workers, health professionals, mental health workers, pediatric nurses, home visiting professionals, and early childhood educators.
Anderson explained that healthy foundations for life start with the social and emotional health of infants and toddlers. “Our strengths-based approach embraces the rich diversity of families who live in our communities and offers professionals—working with our youngest children—a chance to nurture resiliency, build on positive changes, and learn what is already successful for families.”
The new ITMH cohort at PSU begins in January 2018.