Early Childhood and Family Mental Health (ECFMH) Credential

This Credential, begun in 2011 is based on the Early Childhood Family Mental Health Competencies – Intermediate Level.  It is for professionals currently working with young children (ages birth to 8) and their families in the classroom or other group setting, as a home visitor, or as a consultant. Candidates may come from different disciplines- education, health, related therapies, child care, social services, or mental health.

To begin the credential process you need to-

  1. be working with children and families for at least 3 years;
  2. have completed education (minimum 21 college credits in related fields),
  3. have 3 years or more of work experience with young children and their families, and
  4. have completed training in the last five years in the Early Childhood Mental Health core knowledge areas

This GRID helps potential candidates consider if they meet the initial requirements, or can meet them within the year they are working on the Credential.  This TIMELINE outlines the credential process over 15-18 months.

The credential can be earned, only when you are part of a regional cohort working on the credential together.  Open this link to see the Early Childhood Mental Health cohort guidance and Application.  Contact Northern Lights staff if you want it as a word document to complete.

It takes 12-18 months, approximatley to earn the credential, while you are employed.  During that time, applicants work individually and in a group with a Reflective Practice Consultant (RPC) and create a professional portfolio documenting their competence.

Once a cohort is formed and approved, Northern Lights continues to provide technical assistance to the candidates and the agencies involved.  Candidates aregiven notebooks and access to an online site to view and use all of the documents related to the credential.  It is also a place to post and share learning throughout the process.    See the sidebar on this page for sample candidate forms related the Credential.

The competencies and the credential are based on 6 competency or Core Knowledge areas, which are detailed in the side bar of this page:

  • Philosophy and Professional Orientation
  • Family systems
  • Child Development (0-8)
  • Child Assessment
  • Addressing Challenges
  • Systems Resources

Training and coursework related to these Core Knowledge areas can be found throughout the state.  The resources on the  Center on Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning website is well aligned with this Credential.

Benefits of this credential include:

  • “pulling it all togther” as one candidate said, to reflect on the accumulated experience, training and completed education, and skills gained over time, and to be recognized for your speciality knowledge and skills in early childhood and family mental health
  • gaining additional skills and knowledge in working with all young children birth to 8 and their families.  You will be an even more effective partner with licensed mental health clinicians who work with you.
  • earning the credential while you work.  The education, skills, knowledge and experience you already have can count toward meeting the credential requirements.  The credential process is a flexible individualized pathway.
  • Employers and the Child Development Division (CDD) value professionals with this credential.  CDD  will pay a Recognition Bonus to those eligible  professionals who achieve the credential.
  • The Credential is recognized by Children’s Integrated Services as meeting their job requirements.

Contact Northern Lights Career Development Center if you are interested forming a cohort.