Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health
Established in 2001, the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of social-emotional learning and relationship-based practices through raising public awareness, providing resources for professional development, and advocating for policies that are in the best interest of infants, young children, and their families.
Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH): We Speak for Wisconsin's Babies!
OUR MISSION: WI-AIMH strives to promote infant mental health through building awareness, promoting professional capacity, fostering partnerships and supporting policies that are in the best interest of infants, young children and their families.
Our VISION: We aim for all Wisconsin infants and young children to reach their fullest potential through nurturing and consistent relationships within the context of family, community, and culture.
OUR STRATEGIES USED TO PROMOTE INFANT MENTAL HEALTH INCLUDE: *Increase public awareness of the influence of early experiences and relationships and impact on development *Develop professional capacities to understand and support infants and young children within their relationships *Foster partnerships, policies and best practices to better support healthy development in infants, young children and their families
WHAT IS INFANT MENTAL HEALTH? Infant mental health is synonymous with healthy social and emotional development and defined as the developing capacity of a child from birth to age 5 to:
*Experience, regulate and express emotions
*Form close and secure interpersonal relationships
*Explore the environment and learn all in the context of family, community, and cultural expectations for young children
WHY CARE ABOUT SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT? The early preschool years are a critical time for skill formation and lay the foundation for future success in school and beyond. Practice-based evidence and scientific research have demonstrated the importance of early experiences as well as the interactions between genetics and the environment.
Over the last twenty-five years, we have gained a greater understanding of what can hinder and what can promote healthy social and emotional development. Children who are unable to attain early social and emotional milestones do not do well in early school years, and research indicates that children who start behind tend to stay behind. These children are at a higher risk for school problems and juvenile delinquency. Research and experiential knowledge from the field of infant and early childhood mental health confirm that a child’s emotional development forms the foundation for all later development and sets the stage for relationships and readiness to learn. Research also shows that children participating in “enriched early childhood programs are more likely to complete school, and much less likely to require welfare benefits, become teen parents, or participate in criminal activities. Rather, they become productive adults.” (Heckman, James: Ounce of Prevention, 2000, Chicago, Illinois)
INFANT MENTAL HEALTH IN WISCONSIN The Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH) is focused on promoting the healthy social and emotional development of all Wisconsin children from birth through age five. The Wisconsin Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Plan presents a blueprint for a comprehensive system of care that includes prevention, early intervention, and treatment. The goal is not to set up another silo for services, but rather to weave infant and early childhood principles into the fabric of all systems that touch the lives of young children.
The developing infant and early childhood system of care in Wisconsin include the critical components of public awareness, training, service delivery, and policy. One of our goals is to provide parents and people working with young children and their families (such as child care workers, home visitors, and pediatricians) the knowledge, skills, and practices that support healthy social and emotional development. All people working with young children need to know early warning signs and how to use screening tools. Referral processes need to be developed and streamlined. Finally, the mental health services for young children and their families must be accessible, affordable, and based on models that result in positive outcomes.
Position Title: Member of the Board of Directors
Length of Term: Three years (two consecutive term limit)
Reports To Entire Board of Directors
The board of directors is legally and ethically responsible for all activities of the organization. To that end, board members:
a) Engage in the development of the strategic priorities of the organization
b) Co-create and approve all fiscal policies and supports the completion of independent audits
c) Review and approve independent audits to monitor compliance
d) Develop and approve all board policies including but not limited to by-laws, commitment letters, conflict of interest statements, and whistleblower policies
e) Co-create and approve all personnel policies
f) Approve Executive Director's job description
g) Is active in the selection and evaluation of Executive Director
h) Provide regular support to the Executive Director
i) Co-create, adopt and monitor annual budget
j) Receive, review, and participate in the approval of financial statements regularly and seek clarification as needed
k) Authorize all bank accounts and all borrowing by the organization
l) Authorize all contracts with funding sources
m) Determine and monitor WI-AIMH’s programs, services, and overall performance for alignment with mission and deliverables through long and short-range planning
n) Develop and help implement a realistic annual funding plan
o) In adherence with the bylaws, recruit, vet, orient, and develop board members at large and elect officers, hold meetings and evaluate its own performance, addressing any board performance issues in a timely and effective manner
p) Maintain minutes of all board meetings
q) Ensure that annual reports are submitted in an accurate and timely manner
r) Understand and adhere to laws regulating nonprofit organizations
s) Is informed of and approve all political activities
t) Act as an ambassador for the organization to support relationship building and public engagement without committing WI-AIMH to any obligations that do not have prior approval.
● Understand and promote the organization’s mission
● Be familiar with the organization’s programs, policies, and operations
● Attend board meetings and appropriate committee meetings
● Actively serve on at least one committee and offer to take on special assignments
● Review agenda and supporting documents prior to meetings
● Make an annual monetary donation to the organization commensurate with ability
● Participate in fundraising activities and special events
● Keep current on infant mental health issues and developments in program areas
● Strictly adhere to conflict of interest policies
● Strictly adhere to confidentiality policies
Time Demands (approximate):
● Prepare for board and committee meetings by reading, reviewing, conducting own research on agenda items, and organizing your thoughts and questions (approx. 1-3 hours)
● Attend and actively participate in all board meetings (quarterly board meetings, approximately 4 hours in length)
● Attend and actively participate in committee meetings and related work (1-3 hours per month as determined by the committee)
● Promote and support the organization’s marketing and fundraising efforts through phone calls, postal mail, email, and social media (approx. 30 minutes monthly)
● Attend special events such as fundraisers (1-2 fundraisers per year)
● Attend annual conference (at least 1 weekday)
● Attend new board member orientation (approx. 2-4 hours)
● Meet with potential donors/funders to make a case for funding the organization, answer questions, etc. (approx. 4 hours annually)
Financial and Resource Development Expectations:
● Make an annual gift “commensurate or significant according to your circumstance” to the organization (in order to achieve 100% board giving)
● Promote online fundraising campaigns
● Provide resources for raffle baskets at fundraising events
● Recruit sponsors, as needed
● Identify and cultivate potential donors
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