Endorsement®

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The NJ-AIMH is the sole provider of the NJ-AIMH Competencies and Endorsement system in New Jersey.  Grounded in the best practices developed by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health, the NJ-AIMH Endorsement represents nearly a decade of effort to bring to the State a highly-regarded professional credential to Infant Mental Health multidisciplinary professionals in our field.

What is the IMH-E®?

Endorsement is a process that supports and recognizes the development of professionals who work with or on behalf of infants, toddlers, and their families.  This process uses a nationally recognized set of competencies that helps define best practice and guides professional growth.

iStock_000027169666SmallThe intent of the NJ-AIMH Endorsement is to recognize and document the development of infant and family professionals within an organized system of culturally sensitive, relationship-based, infant mental health learning and work experiences. Endorsement by NJ-AIMH verifies that an applicant has attained a level of education as specified, participated in specialized in-service trainings, engaged in professional work related to infants and toddlers, obtained reflective supervision/consultation from mentors or supervisors, and acquired knowledge to promote the delivery of high quality, culturally sensitive, relationship-based services to infants, toddlers, parents, other caregivers and families.

Recognition of NJ-AIMH Endorsement tells employers, parents, health and legal practitioners, and insurance providers that the person endorsed has expertise related to the social and emotional development of infants and young children in families. Of additional importance, the NJ-AIMH Endorsement offers individuals in the infant and family field a professional development plan that focuses on cultural sensitivity, early emotional development, and relationships.

Levels of Endorsement Requirements

NJ-AIMH endorses professionals from many disciplines at the following four levels: Infant Family Associate, Infant Family Specialist, Infant Mental Health Specialist, and Infant Mental Health Mentor. Each Level recognizes knowledge, training and conformance with best practice standards.

  Education Training Experience Reflective Practice
Level I Infant Family Associate CDA, or Associate’s degree in a related area or 2 years of infant/childhood paid work experience (including college, AA and CDA work) 30+ hours of defined training or portfolio CDA, or Associate’s degree in a related area or 2 years of infant/childhood paid work experience (including college, AA and CDA work)
Level II  Infant Family Specialist Bachelors or Masters degree in defined fields, 30+ hours of training 30+ hours of defined training 2 years post-BA paid IMH work 24+ hours over 1-2 years of reflective practice
Level III Infant Mental Health Specialist Masters or Doctorate in defined fields (some possible credit for intensive in-service training) 30+ hours of defined training 2 years post-grad paid IMH direct services to infants/caregivers OR one year supervised graduate internship 50 hours over 1-2 years of reflective practice
Level IV Clinical Mentor Masters or Doctorate in defined fields (some possible credit for intensive in-service training) 30+ hours of defined training As in Level III + 3 years Post Grad providing IMH reflective practice supervision/Consultation and defined leadership activities 50 hours over 1-2 years of reflective practice
Level IV Policy 3 years of post- grad experience in policy/Administration related to IMH field and defined leadership activities OPTIONAL: 50 hours over 1-2 years
Level IV   ResearchFaculty 3 years of post-grad experience as a leader in university-teaching and/or published research and other defined leadership activities OPTIONAL: 50 hours over 1-2 years

Registering and applying on the EASy System

Register to apply:

  • The first step in Endorsement is to register to apply.  Go to https://easy.mi-aimh.org/njaimh and click on “Register.”
  • Registration requires you to provide brief information about your specialized education, work, and reflective supervision/consultation experiences, and to upload a resume.
  • It is strongly recommended that you register using a personal email address (e.g., gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc). Employer email servers often block messages sent by the EASy system.   You will be asked to pay a registration fee of $20.00 via PayPal using a credit card or through check.
  • At the time of registration, applicants must have a current membership with NJ-AIMH or another IMH association.
  • After you register to apply, you will receive an email from the EASy system within 48 hours with log-in information to begin your application.

Complete application:

  • You may then log in, as often as necessary and from any computer with an internet connection, to build your portfolio on-line.
  • If questions come up while using EASy, there is a “Help” button on the top right.  Applicants can indicate whether the issue is technical or related to the endorsement process.  There are also comment sections on most pages where applicants can ask questions or leave remarks

Submit application:

  • Once the application is complete (all sections completed, reference ratings complete, transcripts uploaded by NJ-AIMH), the applicant may hit the Submit button that appears on his/her EASy dashboard.  The Endorsement Processing Fee will be paid via PayPal.

Helpful tips for completing the Endorsement application

Here you find helpful documents for completing your Endorsement application:

Endorsement Exam

For applicants at Level III and IV, there is a requirement of the Endorsement Exam.  The exam consists of two parts – a 60 question multiple-choice test and an essay portion.  Level III and Level IV-Clinical respond to clinical vignettes, Level IV-Policy responds to a vignette related to policy/advocacy in IMH, and Level-IV-Research/Faculty writes about presentations or research in IMH.

Broad topics covered on the exam include:

  1. Pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn period.
  2. Attachment theory and early relationship development.
  3. Caregiving practices and caregiving behaviors.
  4. Family, parenting and child care issues.
  5. Infant and toddler development in all domains: social, emotional, cognitive, language, and physical.
  6. Temperament and individual differences in infancy and early childhood.
  7. Indicators of risk, identified disturbance or disorder, as well as capacity, in infancy, early childhood, and early parenthood.
  8. Infant mental health practice.
  9. Best practice infant mental health assessment, diagnoses, and treatment approaches.
  10. Cultural competence.
  11. Familiarity with standardized screening & assessment tools
  12. Familiarity with service delivery systems that cater to infants, toddlers, and their families
  13. Reflective supervisory practice (Level IV – Clinical)

Exam Preparation

For suggestions on resources to read as you prepare for the exam, please see this document:

NJ-AIMH offers two different kinds of review sessions to those candidates who wish to participate.

Self-study:

Read through the suggested articles above, and schedule a time to visit IMH resource centers including the library at the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University

Group study:

The NJ-AIMH will organize group study sessions scheduled in between application due date and exam date.  You will register for the group study session and choose one or two topics from the above list to research and present to your group study colleagues.  All candidates will help each other share their expertise and experience in this format.