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Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development

Babies can't wait - caregiver holding baby

First three years last a lifetime

The Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development supports the professional development of interdisciplinary infant and early childhood practitioners and conducts research related to infant and early childhood mental health. It consists of three divisions:

  • Research: The center includes researchers making important contributions and innovations to the field.
  • Dissemination: Nursing Child Assessment Training Programs (NCAST), which is being renamed Parent-Child Relationship Programs, is now formally part of the Barnard Center and operates as the center’s dissemination arm.
  • Workforce development: As the go-to resource for workforce development and training, the center serves those professionals who work with families every day and provide services to support the care and well-being of young children.

Infant mental health courses

The School of Nursing offers opportunities for learning through several courses in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. These opportunities are open to UW graduate students and non-degree seeking students with non-matriculated (NM) status.

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About infant mental health

During the first five years of life, children develop a fundamental sense of themselves and their worlds. As they learn to experience, express and regulate emotions, form close relationships, and explore and learn from the environment, we say they are thriving according to the principles of infant and early childhood mental health.

These principles promote diversity-informed practice across research, clinical work, and policy to provide caregivers and babies the best possible start.

The goals of the Barnard Center are to:

  • Advance knowledge about infant and early childhood mental health and the centrality of early relationships to the healthy development of children;
  • Promote collaborative university-community partnerships for infant and early childhood mental health education and training, advocacy, and clinical research;
  • Offer educational opportunities in infant and early childhood mental health;
  • Promote the health of young children and their families through effective preventive approaches to children’s emotional, social and behavioral problems;
  • Conduct longitudinal and clinical research to increase our understanding of the development of children in the context of adversity and effective community and family intervention efforts on their behalf.

We believe that every child has the right to the early nurturing relationships that are the foundation for lifelong healthy development.