|SARASOTA – The Chief Operating Officer at the Florida Center for Early Childhood recently became one of the first people in the state to be endorsed as an ‘Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Expert.’
Dr. Kristie Skoglund, who has been employed at the Florida Center for over 20 years, was one of eight experts across the state invited to apply for the endorsement, which was issued through the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health (FAIMH).
Skoglund and seven others will now serve as the ‘leadership cohort,’ reviewing applications and advising a select group of early childhood experts who have applied for the same type of endorsement credential.
Skoglund said bringing this endorsement process to Florida was “years in the making” and is necessary to shine a light on the important work of infant and early childhood professionals.
“A profession working with infants and young children and their families is a unique niche, especially as a mental health provider,” Skoglund said. “It will separate professionals with expertise in infant and early childhood from those mental health experts with a different focus.”
While the endorsement Dr. Skoglund received is for advanced mental health clinicians, other endorsement designations are available for those working with infants, young children and families. There are four endorsement designations, which include: Infant Family Associate, Infant Family Specialist, Infant Mental Health Specialist, and Infant Mental Health Mentor. There are education, competency, and training requirements for each endorsement designation.
In the mental health world, infant and early mental health professionals work with the child in the context of their relationships. Most of the time, the relationships include a mother or father but can included a grandparent, aunt or uncle, foster parent, or teacher. This therapeutic framework helps the entire family heal from trauma while promoting healthy social and emotional development of the child.
Skoglund says she expects FAIMH to open offer the endorsement opportunity to the public within the next year.
“This will be a major breakthrough for the state of Florida and the professionals who work with young children,” Skoglund said. “I am very humbled I was selected to be part of it.”
About the Florida Center for Early Childhood: For nearly 40 years, The Florida Center for Early Childhood has been the leading provider of therapeutic services, early education and healthy development for young children in southwest Florida, offering a seamless delivery of services for the whole child and their family. Today, the agency is nationally recognized for its early childhood expertise in a variety of specialties. The Florida Center provides developmental therapies, mental health counseling, Starfish Academy preschool, the Healthy Families home-visiting program, and the state’s only Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders clinic.
For more information, visit www.thefloridacenter.org or call 941-371-8820.