Adelphi's Institute for Parenting has done much to help young children and new families, while training the practitioners who provide them with mental health care. The institute comprises a clinic, multiple community initiatives, a degree program and postgraduate certificate programs.
Adelphi’s Institute for Parenting has done much to help young children and new families, while training the practitioners who provide them with mental health care. The institute comprises a clinic, multiple community initiatives, a degree program and postgraduate certificate programs.
Since 2013, the institute has taken great strides in making that care available on Long Island through Babies Can’t Wait, a partnership with the Nassau County child welfare system. And according to Joaniko Kohchi, the institute’s new director, those successes can be built upon to offer more to students and greater awareness of services to the public and what the institute is all about, something that’s unfamiliar to people outside the mental health field.
“When people hear ‘infant mental health,’ they don’t know what to think,” said Kohchi. “‘Do you put a baby on the couch?’ We don’t diagnose babies. We support healthy relationships. We hold the core principal that caregiving relationships are important to the development of any child. We provide direct clinical service training in a variety of ways and have well-trained people and postgraduate certificate programs that are infused with this foundational approach.”
Kohchi is certainly dedicated to her craft. She is a New York State Association for Infant Mental Health-endorsed infant and early childhood mental health mentor with considerable experience implementing and co-training child-parent psychotherapy. She has worked in early care and educational settings and schools for students with typical and atypical development, providing direct service to children and families, consultation to staff, and supervision to students and professionals. She is also co-president of the New York Zero-to-Three Network and is an original member of the Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee.
The appeal of taking the helm at the institute, she said, is “being able to wear so many hats. I can teach, I can supervise clinicians, I can be the administrator for grant-funded programs and be part of a thriving university that values teaching.”
And, she said, she can be part of adding to those offerings. Kohchi believes there’s room for growth in the Babies Can’t Wait program, for example.
“I don’t think that we have fully explored all that we can do in that area,” she said. “I also would like to increase our credit-bearing programs and integrate them into other programs and community programs. I hope that we will be able to become more meaningfully engaged with existing academic programs.”
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