Valerie Dallas


How Social Justice Can Be Promoted and Incorporated into Reflective Supervision/Consultation with Infant Mental Health Practitioners


The multidisciplinary field of infant mental health supports young children’s ability to experience the world around them, foster learning, regulate and express their emotions, and form close relationships with caregivers. In line with infant mental health, the social work profession has offered the Grand Challenge to close the health gap for all. Within a safe and secure relationship between young children and their caregivers, adversities can be mitigated and healed to ensure that the socio-emotional health gap for young children is closed and that they are able to meet their developmental trajectories. Integral to infant mental health is for practitioners to engage in reflective supervision/consultation (RS/C) to address strengths and challenges while simultaneously working with young children and their caregivers. Supervision is not immune to experiences of social injustice, prejudice, power, and privilege, which impact supervisees, the children, and the caregivers they serve. RS/C is a platform to address these issues with a trusted reflective supervisor/consultant. The literature review for this capstone project explores current scholarly literature that addresses RS/C from a social justice perspective. The conceptual paper provides theories for integrating a social justice lens into RS/C. Finally, the practice application paper applies these theories to practice by focusing on social justice barriers for young children and their caregivers, which can be a point of focus in RS/C. The aim is to support practitioners in RS/C, to promote infant mental health principles, and to address social justice barriers that can alleviate the social-emotional health gap for all young children.


Valerie Dallas is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and qualified supervisor in Florida. She completed her Bachelor of Social Work from Florida State University in 2002 and her Master of Social Work from the University of Central Florida in 2005. Valerie is a doctoral candidate with a clinical concentration attending the University of Kentucky and will graduate in May 2024.

Valerie is faculty at Florida State University’s Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy. She provides training on the Foundations of Infant Mental Health and is one of Florida’s Child-Parent Psychotherapy trainers. In addition, she serves as the Statewide Clinical Coordinator for the Early Childhood Courts and provides reflective supervision/consultation to the FSU-Young Parents Project. With 20 years of clinical experience and being trained in Child Parent Psychotherapy, TF-CBT, and EMDR, Valerie also has a private clinical practice called Halo Counseling and Consultation, LLC, which supports adolescents, those who are pregnant, or parenting young children aged 0-5.

Valerie’s research area of interest includes adolescent parents and social justice-informed infant mental health practice. Her capstone is titled “How Social Justice Can Be Promoted and Incorporated into Reflective Supervision/Consultation with Infant Mental Health Practitioners.” Valerie is the 2023 recipient of the Dr. Neil Boris Mentorship Award from the Florida Association of Infant Mental Health. She is a member of the Irving Harris Professional Development Network, the National Association of Black Social Workers, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, and one of Tallahassee’s 25 Women to Know (2019).