Our Story


Every child has the right to the early nurturing relationships that are the foundation for life-long healthy development.

Mission Statement

The Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development supports the professional development of interdisciplinary infant mental health practitioners. By providing quality research, training and education that promotes healthy social and emotional development we give young children the best possible start.


  • To advance knowledge about infant mental health and the centrality of early relationships to the healthy development of young children;
  • To promote collaborative university-community partnerships for infant mental health education and training, advocacy, and clinical research;
  • To offer educational opportunities in infant mental health;
  • To promote the mental and emotional health of young children and their families through effective preventive approaches to children's emotional, social and behavioral problems;
  • To conduct longitudinal and clinical research to increase our understanding of the development of vulnerable children, and effective community and family intervention efforts on their behalf.


The Barnard Center realizes the vision of nurse scientist Kathryn E. Barnard, PhD, FAAN, an international pioneer in the field of infant mental health. In collaboration with the University of Washington School of Nursing and the Center on Human Development and Disability Dr. Barnard founded the Center on Infant Mental Health and Development (renamed the Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development in 2012), a multi-disciplinary resource for research and training.

With the support of generous donors, the Barnard Center opened its doors in 2001 with a five-year plan to increase the number of professionals trained to provide therapeutic support for parents and infants in Washington State. From 2001 to 2006, the Barnard Center trained 38 Seattle-area individuals in infant mental health, giving a significant boost to the field. A redesigned graduate certificate program started in 2009, graduating 10-12 students per year.

Our Students

Our Research

The Barnard Center conducts infant mental health research with numerous populations, including child welfare, childcare, Early Head Start, special needs, homeless, and therapeutic childcare. Visit our Community Program Evaluation and Research pages to see our current work.