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, therapeutic practice

family relationships & dynamics

attachment, separation, trauma, grief, & loss

disorders of infancy/early childhood

cultural competence
During observations and assessments, identifies emerging competencies of the infant and very young child within a relationship context

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

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

Helps parents to:
  • "See" the infant/very young child as a person, as well as all the factors (playing, holding, teaching, etc) that constitute effective parenting of that child
  • Derive pleasure from daily activities with their children

Shares with families realistic expectations for the development of their infants/very young children and strategies that support those expectations

Demonstrates familiarity with conditions that optimize early infant brain development

Recognizes risks and disorders of infancy/early childhood conditions that require the assistance of other professionals from health, mental health, education, and child welfare systems

Shares with families an understanding and appreciation of family relationship development

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

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 and other service providers working with the family

Shares information with non-citizen families and service agencies about the rights of citizen children of non-citizen parents

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

Areas of Expertise

As Demonstrated By:
Systems Expertise
Knowledge Areas
service delivery systems

community resources
Assists families to anticipate, obtain, and advocate for concrete needs and other services from public agencies and community resources

Actively seeks resources to address infant/very young child and family needs

Works collaboratively with and makes referrals to 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

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

Provides services to children and families with multiple, complex risk factors

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

Conducts formal and informal assessments of infant/very young child development, in accordance with established practice

Effectively implements relationship-focused, therapeutic parent-infant/very young child interventions that enhance the capacities of parents and infants/very young children

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

Nurtures the parents' relationship with each other, if one exists; alternatively, helps the custodial parent manage appropriate contact with the non-custodial parent

Promotes parental competence in:
  • Facing challenges
  • Advocating on behalf of themselves and their children
  • Resolving crises and reducing the likelihood of future crises
  • Solving problems of basic needs and familial conflict

Advocates for services needed by children and families with the supervisor, agencies, and programs

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

Areas of Expertise

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

supporting others/mentoring


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

Provides positive, specific feedback to encourage and reinforce desired behaviors and interactions in families

Assists families to develop the skills they need to become their own advocates

Models appropriate behavior and interventions for new staff as they observe home visits

Encourages parents to share with other parents (eg, through nurturing programs, parent-child interaction groups)

Collaborates and shares information with staff of child care, foster care, community-based programs, and other service agencies to ensure effective, coordinated services

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

Provides emotional support to parents/caregivers and children when sad, distressed, etc

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 empathetically 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; discusses issues, concerns, actions to take with supervisor, consultants, or peers

Consults regularly with supervisor, consultants, peers to understand own capacities and needs, as well as the capacities and needs of 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 learning activities related to the promotion of infant mental health

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

Uses reflective practice throughout work with infants/very young children and families to understand own emotional response to infant/family work and recognize areas for professional and/or personal development