Ethical dilemmas in infant mental health: Examples from child protection, home visiting, and medical contexts

Charles H. Zeanah, Jon Kormacher, Izaac Lim, Alison Steier, Paula D. Zeanah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Infant mental health is explicitly relational and strengths based as a field. Ethical dilemmas in infant mental health have received insufficient attention at the level of infant mental health professionals (IMHP) and other professionals caring for infants who must grapple with questions of when caregivers and infants have conflicting interests. We present composite cases drawn from North American and Australian contexts, using three systems in which such conflicts may commonly manifest: child protection, home visiting, and medical settings. The field of infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) should begin to discuss such dilemmas and how best to balance the needs of caregivers and infants when they are not well aligned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-624
Number of pages11
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • ethics
  • home visiting
  • infant mental health
  • maltreatment
  • medically ill infants

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