About IACAPAP

The Organisation

The International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) is registered as a not-for-profit association in Switzerland, and is recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an official non-state actor in child & adolescent psychiatry and mental health.

History of IACAPAP

In 1935 a group of European psychiatrists started work to establish and expand contacts between psychiatrists working in the new field of child psychiatry. These pioneers were Georges Heuyer (France), Moritz Tramer (Switzerland), Paul Schröder (Germany), Carlos de Sanctis (Italy), Nic Waal (Norway), and Emanuel Miller (UK).  IACAPAP was started in 1937 in Paris with it first meeting as the International Committee for Child Psychiatry led by Dr Georges Heuyer, head of the Clinique Annexe de Neuropsychiatrie Infantile in Paris who also became the first European chair of child psychiatry in 1948.  That same year, the International Association for Child Psychiatry was started with 30 member societies mainly from Europe.   

In 1958 at the meeting in Lisbon, the organisation changed its name to the International Association for Child Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACP&AP) . 

In 1978 the name was changed to the name it has today—IACAPAP. At last, adolescents were incorporated in the official name. However, years later separate international organisations were created for adolescent psychiatry (ISAP in 1984 and ISAPP today) and for infant psychiatry (WAIMH in 1992). The movement towards international child mental health began in Europe among medical specialists in child psychiatry. Expedited by the migration of child mental health professionals to the US before and during World War II, North American professionals became involved in this international association at an early stage. Also, from the 1970s, professionals from other parts of the world began to be elected as officers of the Executive Committee of IACAPAP— from South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. Today all parts of the globe are represented through national societies as full members: 64 in 2019.  

In 1954 IACAPAP was officially incorporated in Massachusetts, United States of America, as a tax-exempt organization. Currently it is registered in Geneva, Switzerland, as a non-government organization, structured as a corporation, and empowered as a juridical entity. If networking with likeminded professionals was the initial driving force for IACAPAP, the emphasis soon evolved “to advocate for the promotion of mental health and development of children and adolescents through policy, practice and research. To promote the study, treatment, care and prevention of mental and emotional disorders and disabilities involving children, adolescents and their families through collaboration among the professions of child and adolescent psychiatry, psychology, social work, paediatrics, public health, nursing, education, social sciences and other relevant disciplines”. 

To achieve these purposes, one of the main activities of IACAPAP has been the organization of international congresses—to meet with colleagues, to learn from each other, and to promote ethical child and adolescent mental health services and practices. At the beginning, the constitution stipulated that congresses were to be held every four years. In 2008, it was decided that world congresses should be organised every two to four years. 

Besides congresses, regional conferences devoted to specific topics have been organised regularly. Furthermore, so-called study groups (or seminars) have been conducted since 1954; in recent years especially in low income countries to stimulate the recognition and development of the discipline in these countries. Since 1998 research seminars for young scientists (the Helmut Remschmidt Seminars) and since 2004 the Donald J Cohen Fellowship Programme have been regular events to help younger child mental health professionals, especially from less developed countries, to promote their career development. 

Publications like the Bulletin since 1994, the IACAPAP Book Series since 1970, the e-Textbook of Child and Adolescent Mental Health since 2012, and the IACAPAP Declarations, mostly published in connection with congresses, have all broadened the services that are offered to mental health professionals. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health (CAPMH), an open access online journal became the official scientific journal of IACAPAP in 2013. The IACAPAP website is the portal to access most of this material.

Milestones

  • 1920

    Lanfranco Campi became first chair of Child Psychiatry in Argentina

  • 1937

    International Committee of Child Psychiatry meeting of 26 countries in Paris

  • 1948

    First European Chair of Child Psychiatry and the International Association for Child Psychiatry with 30 countries participating in the meeting

  • 1958

    Name change to include Allied Professions

  • 1978

    Name change to IACAPAP to include Adolescents

  • 2012

    Launch of online free eTextbook 

  • 2013

    Appointment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health (CAPMH), an open access online journal as the official journal

Mission

The mission of IACAPAP is to promote child and adolescent psychiatry and the mental health and development of children and adolescents, through policy, practice, training and research.

To achieve its global mission, IACAPAP has a wide range of activities. These include a bi-annual world congress, a freely accessible e-textbook, a massively online open course (MOOC), and two early career development programmes (the Donald J Cohen Fellowship and Helmut Remschmidt Research Seminars). IACAPAP also makes position statements, and publishes position papers and monographs to promote child & adolescent psychiatry and mental health around the globe. On social media, it promotes its activities through a quarterly Bulletin, through facebook and twitter, and through its website.

Goals

IACAPAP’s goals for the following years are to:

  • support organisations devoted to promoting the mental health of children and adolescents;
  • disseminate information and foster training through multidisciplinary study groups, congresses, publications and other educational initiatives; and
  • strengthen the bonds between the different regions of the world to promote multi-disciplinary, multi-professional research and clinical practice in child and adolescent mental health (CAMH).

In addition, IACAPAP will promote international, state and community policies within all sectors of human services to ensure evidence-based, culturally acceptable, affordable and accessible mental health services are available for all children and adolescents.

Association Governance

IACAPAP’s Executive Committee is comprised of members from around the world.

Its Constitution provides the framework for the association and its Strategic Plan 2018-2022 provides a map for the association’s future.

The Constitution was amended by vote of the Extra-Ordinary General Assembly virtually in November 2020.

Association Programming

IACAPAP is actively pursuing its goals through a variety of programs: