The UW–Madison Capstone Certificate in Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health offers you the knowledge and experience to provide direct and consultative relationship-based services to children and their families.

Is this program right for you?

Nearly one-quarter of children aged birth through five years show signs of some mental health problem. Here in Wisconsin, we have an urgent demand for mental health professionals who can effectively evaluate and treat mental health disorders in infants and young children. The Capstone Certificate in Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health from UW–Madison is a program that will prepare you to meet those demands. You will be knowledgeable in culturally sensitive, relationship-based, and reflective practices that support the development of healthy attachment relationships for families who face multiple stressors.


Employment of mental health professionals is projected to grow nearly 30% in the next decade, as more people are covered for mental health counseling through their insurers. Many of our students currently work in mental health, health, social services, or education fields. Like you, they want to better assist families in the prenatal and postpartum periods, as well as children aged birth through five years.


Through our program you will gain an enhanced understanding of mental health issues in infants, children, and parents, and build the skills to support children’s social and emotional development. You will also acquire the knowledge and competencies to pursue Endorsement as an Infant Family Specialist, Infant Mental Health Specialist, or Infant Mental Health Mentor through the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH).


Our courses are taught by nationally recognized experts and state specialists in the field. We provide a small group setting where you receive reflective mentoring, discuss cases, and participate in a Mindfulness Class. You will also build relationships with people who work in this specialty area and who share your goals and interest in working with infants, young children, and their families.


What you Learn

  • Apply concepts of parent, infant, and early childhood mental health informed by developmental, neuroscience, and attachment research to support the social and emotional development and well-being of young children in the context of their family or caregiver relationships
  • With a focus on parent-child early relationships, provide appropriate screening, assessment, diagnostic, and referral services for infants, young children, and families
  • Provide therapeutic interventions and mental health consultation to families and professionals to reduce the impact of early-life trauma, loss, and disturbances before they become more serious disorders
  • Use reflective practice and mindfulness strategies to support you and those you support in your work

Where & How you learn


  • Face-to-face


  • Attend 2-3 days of class instruction each month for the academic year, which includes large and small group sessions. Between sessions there will be applied assignments and individual mentoring sessions
  • Work in a cohort of students who collaborate with and support each other
  • Apply early for admissions and scholarship consideration; applications are available in February

Apply Now

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or its equivalent and a minimum grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale
  • Apply to the Division of Continuing Studies as a University Special student
  • Visit the certificate program’s application page to view application instructions and to download and complete the program application
  • Submit an application packet that includes a current résumé or curriculum vitae; two letters of reference that speak to your professional qualifications (one from a supervisor acquainted with your work experience); and for licensed professionals, copies of your current licenses and/or credentials

Apply now or visit program website.


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