Barnard Center

Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and Development

Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health

Barnard Center at the University of Washington in Seattle

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.

We have begun a re-envisioning process for the Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health and our Graduate Certificate in Infant Mental Health. Read our updates on the process or add your name to our email list to receive updates in your inbox.

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.


Kathryn Barnard

Dr. Kathryn Barnard

The Barnard Center embodies the vision of the late Kathryn E. Barnard, PhD, FAAN. Barnard was an international pioneer in the field of infant mental health. Barnard founded the Center on Infant Mental Health and Development in collaboration with the University of Washington School of Nursing and the Center on Human Development and Disability as a multidisciplinary resource for research and training. The center was renamed in her honor in 2012.

With the support of generous donors, the Barnard Center opened in 2001 with a five-year plan to increase the number of professionals trained to provide therapeutic support for parents and infants in the state of Washington. From 2001 to 2006, the Barnard Center trained 38 Seattle-area professionals, giving a significant boost to the field. A redesigned graduate certificate program started in 2009 graduates eight to 12 students annually.