Area Of Expertise

As Demonstrated by
Theoretical Foundations
Knowledge AreasFor infants, very young children, and families referred and enrolled for services:
pregnancy & early parenthood

infant/very young child development & behavior

infant/very young child & family-centered practice

relationship-focused practice

family relationships & dynamics

attachment, separation, trauma, grief, & loss

cultural competence
Informally (and in some cases, formally) observes and assesses the infant or very young child, parent, and their relationship to identify landmarks of typical child development; behavior; and healthy, secure relationships

Supports and reinforces parent’s ability to seek appropriate care during pregnancy

Supports and reinforces parent’s strengths, emerging parenting competencies, and positive parent-infant/very young child interactions

Demonstrates awareness of conditions that optimize early infant brain development

Recognizes conditions that require the assistance of other service providers and refers these situations to the supervisor

Shares with families an understanding of infant and family relationship development

Applies understanding of cultural competence to communicate effectively, establish positive relationships with families, and demonstrate respect for the uniqueness of each family’s culture

Area of Expertise

As Demonstrated By:
Law, Regulation, & Agency Policy
Knowledge Areas
ethical practice

government, law, & regulation

agency policy
Exchanges complete and unbiased information in a supportive manner with families and other team members

Practices confidentiality of each family’s information in all contexts, with exception only when making necessary reports to protect the safety of a family member (eg, Children’s Protective Services, Duty to Warn)

Maintains appropriate personal boundaries with infants/very young children and families served, as established by the employing agency

Promptly and appropriately reports harm or threatened harm to a child's health or welfare to Children’s Protective Services after discussion with supervisor

Accurately and clearly explains the provisions and requirements of federal, state, and local laws affecting infants/very young children and families (eg, Part C of IDEA, child protection, child care licensing rules and regulations) to families

Is knowledgeable about the rights of citizen children of non-citizen parents

Personally works within the requirements of:
  • Federal and state law
  • Agency policies and practices
  • Agency code of conduct

Areas of Expertise

As Demonstrated By:
Systems Expertise
Knowledge Areas
service delivery systems

community resources
Assists families to anticipate and obtain the basic requirements of living and other needed services from public agencies and community resources

Collaborates and communicates with other service agencies to ensure that the child(ren) and family receives services for which they are eligible and that the services are coordinated

Helps parents build the skills they need to access social support from extended family, neighbors, and friends needed and as available in the community

Makes families and service providers/agencies aware of community resources available to families during pregnancy, the newborn period, and the early years

Areas of Expertise

As Demonstrated By:
Direct Service Skills
Knowledge AreasFor infants, very young children, and families referred and enrolled for services:
observation & listening

screening & assessment

responding with empathy


life skills

Establishes trusting relationship that supports the parent(s) and infant/very young child in their relationship with each other and that facilitates needed change

Uses example, encouragement, and, when appropriate, own life experience to:
  • Empower families to becomes socially and emotionally self-sufficient
  • Create nurturing, stable infant/young child-caregiver relationships

Provides direct care and teaching/developmental activities to infant, very young children, and families with multiple, complex risk factors to help ensure healthy pregnancy outcomes and the optimal development of the child in all domains (physical, social, emotional, cognitive)

Participates in formal and informal assessments of the infant’s/young child’s development, in accordance with standard practice

Formally and informally observes the parent(s) or caregiver(s) and infant/young child to understand the nature of their relationship, developmental strengths, and capacities for change

Provides information and assistance to parents or caregivers to help them:
  • Understand their role in the social and emotional development of infants/very young children
  • Understand what they can do to promote health, language, and cognitive development in infancy and early childhood
  • Find pleasure in caring for their infants/very young children

Promotes parental competence in:
  • Facing challenges
  • Resolving crises and reducing the likelihood of future crises
  • Solving problems of basic needs and familial conflict

Note: In some agencies, this may be the responsibility of the supervisor/Infant Family Specialist ( II) practitioner

Advocates for services needed by infants, child(ren) and families with the supervisor, agencies, and programs

Recognizes environmental and caregiving risks to the health and safety of the infant/young child and parents and takes appropriate action

Areas of Expertise

As Demonstrated By:
Working With Others
Skill Areas
building & maintaining relationships

supporting others


resolving conflict

empathy & compassion
Builds and maintains effective interpersonal relationships with families and professional colleagues by:
  • Respecting and promoting the decision-making authority of families
  • Understanding and respecting the beliefs and practices of the family's culture
  • Following the parents’ lead
  • Following through consistently on commitments and promises
  • Providing regular communications and updates

Works with and responds to families and colleagues in a tactful and understanding manner

Collaborates and shares information with other service providers and agencies to ensure the safety of the infant/young child and effective, coordinated services, and promote awareness of relationship-focused approaches to working with children

Works constructively to find “win-win” solutions to conflicts with colleagues (eg, interagency, peer-peer, and/or supervisor-supervisee conflicts)

Areas of Expertise

As Demonstrated By:
Skill Areas


Actively listens to others; asks questions for clarification

Uses appropriate non-verbal behavior and correctly interprets others’ non-verbal behavior

Communicates honestly, sensitively, and empathically with families, using non-technical language

Obtains translation services as necessary to ensure effective communication with families who may experience a communication barrier

Writes clearly, concisely, and with the appropriate style (business, conversational, etc) in creating notes, reports, and correspondence
Competency Details

Areas of Expertise

As Demonstrated By:
Skill Areas
analyzing information

solving problems

exercising sound judgment

maintaining perspective

planning & organizing
Sees and can explain the “big picture” when analyzing situations

Sees and can explain the interactions of multiple factors & perspectives

Assigns priorities to needs, goals, and actions

Considers difficult situations carefully

Evaluates alternatives prior to making decisions

Integrates all available information and consults with others when making important decisions

Generates new insights and workable solutions to issues related to effective relationship-focused, family-centered care

Defines, creates a sequence for, and prioritizes tasks necessary to perform role and meet the needs of families

Employs effective systems for tracking individual progress, ensuring follow-up, and monitoring the effectiveness of service delivery as a whole
Competency Details

Areas of Expertise

As Demonstrated By:
Skill Areas

self awareness


professional/personal development

emotional response
Regularly examines own thoughts, feelings, strengths, and growth areas

Seeks the ongoing support and guidance of the supervisor to:

Ensure that family progress and issues are communicated and addressed

Determine actions to take

Help maintain appropriate boundaries between self and families

Seeks a high degree of agreement between self-perceptions and the way others perceive him/her

Remains open and curious

Identifies and participates in appropriate learning activities

Keeps up-to-date on current and future trends in child development, behavior, and relationship-focused practice

Uses reflective practice throughout work with infants/young children and families to understand own emotional response to infant/family work

Understands capacity of families to change

Recognizes areas for professional and/or personal development