San Diego Center for Children makes a difference
Posted on Feb. 17, 2017
Childhood experiences shape who we become as adults. For youngsters who face difficulties, from mental and behavioral disorders to past traumas, those formative years are especially crucial. The San Diego Center for Children, which celebrates its 130th anniversary this year, offers a wide range of services to make sure kids have everything they need to succeed in the future.
The San Diego Center for Children customizes its approach for every child and young person who goes through its various programs. It also provides support for family members. Last year, the organization worked with 1,571 families, helping more than 8,000 individuals in all.
“What the Center does is understand that not every challenge experienced and problem manifested can be approached with the same solution,” explains Moisés Barón, PhD, the organization’s CEO.
Programs include outpatient and residential treatment, as well as in-home support services. Featuring eight program sites throughout the county, the Center also runs a therapeutic foster family agency, as well as a K-12 school at its Kearny Mesa campus for youths who need extra support when it comes to education. The nonprofit is one of the few children’s healthcare organizations in California to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval accreditation.
“We work with all walks of life,” says Barón. “We help families at any stage of the process. If they’re encountering challenges, we use the methodology we’ve created to assess their needs and put in place the appropriate plans.”
Missy Meehan and her ten-year-old daughter Aricelli are among the organization’s success stories. Aricelli came to Meehan as a foster placement in 2013. The Center guided the pair every step of the way. Of particular help was the Center’s Foster Family Agency Stabilization and Treatment, or FFAST, as well as its Special Families Foster Care program.
“When Ari first came to me, she had a really hard time not knowing if she’d be with me in a week or a month. The San Diego Center for Children helped her wrap her head around that. It is invaluable in a system that is overburdened,” says Meehan, who formally adopted Aricelli in 2015.
The intense support made all the difference for the duo. “Ari has totally blossomed,” says Meehan, who recently let Ari adopt a kitten named Emerald. “She was chosen,” says Meehan. “That’s the term we use, ‘chosen,’ and Ari and I argue about who is the luckier of us for having found each other.”
Funding for a portion of the Center’s programs is provided by the County of San Diego, including its Health and Human Services Agency. “We also really rely on support from the community in terms of the philanthropy component. We try to incorporate all these resources to provide care and support families in a holistic way,” says Barón. The Center’s 130th anniversary gala takes place May 4 at the Marriott Marquis and Marina. 858.277.9550, centerforchildren.org AnnaMaria Stephens
Photo by Bob Stefanko