Ann Stacks

Ann Stacks

Ann Stacks


Ann M. Stacks, Ph.D. is the Director of the Infant Mental Health Program at the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute. Dr. Stacks holds a full license in marriage and family therapy and is endorsed as an Infant Mental Health Mentor by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health. In collaboration with her colleagues in Social Work, Education and Nursing, Dr. Stacks developed a Dual-Title Degree in Infant Mental Health. The Dual-Title prepares clinicians who are well versed in research related to infant mental health and researchers who are well versed in the clinical field of infant mental health. The curriculum is aligned with competency standards set by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health. She was awarded the Esther Dean Callard Award for outstanding services to infants, toddlers and their families and the Hiream E. Fitzgerald Emerging Scholar/Researcher award

Dr. Stacks' program of research focuses on dimensions of caregiving that support social emotional development in early childhood, especially in the context of family risk, including poverty and maltreatment. She is particularly interested in the protective role that caregiver reflective functioning and sensitivity play in supporting the development of a secure attachment and social emotional competence in young children and in understanding effective ways to promote caregiver reflective functioning and sensitivity in parents who have a history of childhood maltreatment and in early childhood teachers.

Dr. Stacks serves on community boards, including the Metro-Detroit Association for Infant Mental Health and the Michigan Kids Count Advisory Board. She works with community agencies to provide professional development to staff and to assist in program evaluation. Currently, she is evaluating the Southeastern Michigan Period of PURPLE Crying Program and the Wayne County Baby Court Program



  •  Ph.D., Family and Child Ecology, Michigan State University
  • Graduate Certificate in Infant Mental Health, University of Michigan
  • M.A., Marriage and Family Therapy, Michigan State University
  • B.S. Psychology, Michigan State University

Office Location

71 East Ferry, Detroit, MI 48202


 Current Research Support 

9/11-8/14 Evaluation of Southeastern Michigan Shaken Baby Syndrom Project funded by the Jewish Fund (to the Michigan Children's Trust Fund).

1/13-12/14 Wayne County Baby Court: A Systems Integration Initiative to Support Infant Mental Health funded by the Flinn Foundation

Office Phone

(313) 664-2500

Professional Service

Metro Detroit Association for Infant Mental Health, Board Member

Michigan Department of Community Health, Kids Count Data Committee

Research Focus

  • The influence of psychosocial risk on early parenting and infant development
  • Reflective functioning
  • The effect of maltreatment in infancy
  • Infant mental health interventions

Training Offered

  • An Introduction to Infant Mental Health
  • Wayne County Baby Court: Child and Family Assessments
  • Wayne County Baby Court: Introduction and Core Components
  • Well-Being of Maltreated Children in Foster care
  • Infant Inconsolable Crying: Causes, Consequences and Coping
  • A Primer on Infant Development

Honors and Awards

  •  2008 Level IV Endorsement: Distinguished Infant Mental Health Mentor, Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health
  • 2012 Esther Dean Callard Award
  • 2013 Hiram Fitzgerald Emerging Scholar/Researcher Award

Courses Taught

Current Courses:

  • ELE 7025 - Infant Mental Health Theory to Practice Across Early Childhood Settings (Spring) 

Past Courses:

  • PSY 3430 - Psychology of Infant and Toddler Development
  • PSY 7430 - Infant and Toddler Developmental Assessment


 Recent Representative Articles (students in italics):

Dexter, C., Wong, K., Stacks, A.M., Beeghly, M.,  & Barnett, D. (2013). Attachment among low-income African American and Caucasian preschool children. Journal of Family Psychology 24(7), 

Casanueva, C., Goldman Fraser, J., Gilbert, A.,Maze, C., Katz, L., Ullery, M. A., Stacks, A.M. & Lederman, C. (2013). Evaluation of the Miami Child Well-Being Court Model: Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being Findings. Child Welfare 92(3).

Stacks, A.M., Wong, K., & Dykehouse, T. (2013). Teacher reflective functioning: A preliminary study of measurement and self-reporte teaching behavior. Journal of Reflective Practice 14(4), 487-505.

Stacks AM, Beeghly M, Partridge T, & Dexter C (2011). Effects of placement type on the language developmental trajectories of maltreated children from infancy to early childhood. Child Maltreatment, 16(4):  287-299.

Stacks, A. M. & Partridge, R. T. (2011). Infants Placed in Foster Care prior to their First Birthday: Differences in Kin and Non-Kin Placements. Infant Mental Health Journal 32(5), 489-508.

Carpenter, G., & Stacks, A. M. (2009). Developmental effects of exposure to domestic violence in early childhood: a review of the literature. Child and Youth Services Review, 31 831-839.

Stacks, A.M. & Oshio, T. (2009). Disorganized attachment and social skills as indicators of Head Start children's school readiness skills. Attachment and Human Development 11(2), 143-164

Stacks, A.M., Gerard, J., Oshio, T., & Guzell, J. (2009). The moderating effect of parental warmth and sensitivity on the association among physical discipline and child behavioral outcomes: A longitudinal approach. Infant and Child Development, 18, 178-194,


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