Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health
Cart 0

"Every day in a hundred small ways, our children ask 'Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter?' Their behavior often reflects our response."

— LR Knost


WI-AIMH strives to promote infant mental health through building awareness, promoting professional capacity, fostering partnerships and supporting policies which are in the best interest of infants, young children and their families.


We aim for all Wisconsin infants and young children to reach their fullest potential through nurturing and consistent relationships within the context of family, community, and culture.

Our Strategies Used to Promote Infant Mental Health Include:

  • Increase public awareness of the influence of early experiences and relationships and impact on development

  • Develop professional capacities to understand and support infants and young children within their relationships

  • Foster partnerships, policies and best practices to better support healthy development in infants, young children and their families


Annual Reports


Meet our Board

To read about WI-AIMH’s Board of Directors, click here.


What do we really mean by “infant mental health?”

Infant mental health (IMH) is synonymous with social and emotional development in our youngest children. Social and emotional development involves skills such as self confidence, curiosity, motivation, persistence, self control, and trust–all of which affect future learning, growth, and success. The development of all of these traits begins in infancy and within the context of relationships. Emotional and social milestones include a child’s ability to experience, regulate and express emotions, and form close and secure interpersonal relationships. A child’s capacities to identify their own feelings, experience empathy for another and constructively manage strong emotions are skills that begin in early childhood and support later learning.


Click above to begin slideshow, then click on the side arrows to advance slides.


 Why care about social and emotional development?

The early preschool years are a critical time for skill formation and lay the foundation for future success in school and beyond.  Practice-based evidence and scientific research have demonstrated the importance of early experiences as well as the interactions between genetics and environment.

Over the last twenty-five years we have gained a greater understanding about what can hinder and what can promote healthy social and emotional development. Children who are unable to attain early social and emotional milestones do not do well in early school years, and research indicates that children who start behind tend to stay behind. These children are at a higher risk for school problems and juvenile delinquency. Research and experiential knowledge from the field of infant and early childhood mental health confirm that a child’s emotional development forms the foundation for all later development and sets the stage for relationships and readiness to learn. Research also shows that children participating in “enriched early childhood programs are more likely to complete school, and much less likely to require welfare benefits, become teen parents, or participate in criminal activities. Rather, they become productive adults.” (Heckman, James: Ounce of Prevention, 2000, Chicago, Illinois)

Infant Mental Health in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH) is focused on promoting the healthy social and emotional development of all Wisconsin children from birth through age five. The Wisconsin Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Plan presents a blueprint for a comprehensive system of care that includes prevention, early intervention, and treatment. The goal is not to set up another silo for services, but rather to weave infant and early childhood principles into the fabric of all systems that touch the lives of young children.

The developing infant and early childhood system of care in Wisconsin includes the critical components of public awareness, training, service delivery, and policy. One of our goals is to provide parents and people working with young children and their families (such as child care workers, home visitors, and pediatricians) the knowledge, skills, and practices that support healthy social and emotional development. All people working with young children need to know early warning signs and how to use screening tools. Referral processes need to be developed and streamlined. Finally, the mental health services for young children and their families must be accessible, affordable, and based on models that result in positive outcomes.




The World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH)

The World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) is an international organization for scientific and educational professionals interested in promoting the cause of Infant Mental Health. https://waimh.org/

The Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health (The ALliance)

Twenty-nine state and two international associations are members of the Alliance. These organizations offer Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health®, a credential that ensures professionals have attained a certain level of expertise with young children and their families. https://www.allianceaimh.org/

Zero to Three

A Washington, D.C.-based organization devoted to the well-being and healthy development of infants and toddlers. https://www.zerotothree.org/