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Welcome to WCAIMH!

We are glad you have found us!


WCAIMH meets regularly to share information, resources and connect with each other to promote optimal practices in infant mental health. Here, you can find information for parents and professionals, as well as our monthly events.

Contact Us today.



In infancy and early childhood, nurturing family relationships provide the foundation for social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. The resulting positive infant mental health is key to long term relationships and mental health. Early positive relationships can lead to resilience in the face of life’s challenges.


Happy Mixed Race Ethnic Family Having Fun Playing In The Park.


WCAIMH promotes:

  • The idea that infancy is a sensitive period in development
  • Increased knowledge about development in children from conception to five years of age
  • The dissemination of evidence-based and experience-based knowledge to support parents in healthy caregiving and providing nurturing environments for children
  • The cooperation and collaboration of professionals concerned with promoting optimal development of infants and young children

Upcoming Events

  • WCAIMH Talk: February 23, 2017 – Working with Refugee Families
  • PRESENTATION: The complexities of working with refugee families in Canada: understanding the difficult life experiences of refugee parents and their young children with a focus on understanding the impact on parenting and children’s mental health.


    Paula and Aline will explore questions of central interest to those seeking to understand the impact of refugee experiences on parents and their young children and allow time for a meaningful discussion about these important questions. For example, what does parenting look like in other cultures? What does “keeping your child safe” mean to you? What does it mean for someone who has experienced the catastrophe of war, flood, or famine to find safety for their children? How does generational camp life affect parenting? What does it mean if you are illiterate in your own language? What does it mean if you have no control over your reproductive health? How has the Syrian crisis changed our community….why is it different from other refugee experiences? What kinds of supports and interventions help such parents and young children? What does not help?



    Paula Church is the Program Manager of the First Steps Early Years Refugee Settlement and Coordinator of the Newton Early Years Centre Program in Surrey BC., affiliated with the Provincial Office of the Early Years. Her formal training is in Early Childhood Education, but she has expanded her knowledge and experience with an extensive work history serving young children and parents/families. She has twenty-two years front-line work experience at one largest service agencies in the province, and within the fastest growing cities of the province (e.g., Surrey). She spent 14 years working for a young parent program connecting teen mothers and their infant children, followed by working one-to-one in an outreach capacity to families with children 0-6 YO. She has delivered multiple parenting groups including Nobody’s Perfect Parenting and Systematic Effective Parent Training and coordinated a family resource program in Cloverdale.


    Aline Mananda is an Early Childhood settlement worker for First Steps and works for another program within same organization (Options) that helps support families in need in Surrey area as an outreach worker. She is originally from Rwanda (Africa) and came to Canada as a refugee herself.
    She has worked in the past for UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in her home country. In that role she had the opportunity to work with refugees who were returning home after the Rwandan genocide and also new refugees fleeing from neighboring countries due to war and unrest in their country of origin. She is an Early Childhood Educator by training and worked as a preschool teacher at one of the largest French schools in Surrey for many years. She has an extensive background of providing care in various daycares and preschools including a Family Daycare she started/owned herself. The latter experience really gave her an opportunity to engage with families in the community and find out firsthand what their needs were. She has a passion for children and families and feels privileged to be able to give back and help refugee families settle and raise their families in Canada.

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