COINN officially incorporated in 2005 to act as the voice for international neonatal nursing and care.  It is not anindividual membership driven organization but rather a group that assists in working on global heath policy, advocacy, building capacity, and developing regional networks throughout the world, for nurses who specialize in the care of newborn infants and their families.  Some of the nursing associations have become members of COINN thus giving their members access to COINN for education, practice, or research.

COINN is part of the growing international community of nurses that represents a resource for nurses in developing and developed countries that want to form a national or local organization, create guidelines for care or professional standards or just want advice on neonatal nursing issues.

To date over 60 countries are represented.  COINN attempts through its regional networks to link a person with a question to a regional representative in that area of the world.  The rationale is that there may be better understanding of culture and health care practices if issues are handled regionally.

COINN has joined the World Health Organization (WHO) Partnership in Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health and is working with the International Council of Midwives (ICM), FIGO-International Federation of International Gynecology and Obstetrics, International Paediatric Association (IPA) to address issues on a local level that focus on pre-conception through adolescence.  The goal is to improve maternal and child health care by using global resources to work locally at country level.  COINN also was accepted as an affiliate member of the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

COINN was established to promote high quality standards of neonatal nursing practice and care and committed to evidence and research-based practice for the benefit of the global public and to: 1) Collect and disseminate information on all matters affecting the above purposes, and exchange such information with members and other bodies having similar purposes. 2) Arrange and provide for, or join in arranging and providing for, the holding of meetings, exhibitions, and conferences internationally-face-to-face or through other media. 3) Provide leadership in neonatal nursing by collaborating with other relevant healthcare associations. 4) Foster the development of neonatal nursing as requested in specific countries i.e. development of a national association and to 5) Write and publish documents that support health care practice, education, and policy as needed.