San Diego CA— Zable Foundation has awarded $30,000 to the San Diego Center for Children to continue their therapeutic and educational programs, including the launch of the Center’s Empowered Families© Program to better respond to the needs of families with a child suffering from a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder.
As a leader in San Diego for serving youth with mental health disorders, the Center created Empowered Families© to help families better cope with the needs and challenges associated with caring for a child with a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. Empowered Families© helps guide families through a process of identifying their needs through a Family Needs Assessment to help them develop and implement an individualized and comprehensive Family Action Plan. This plan serves as a roadmap for the clinician and the family to identify the information, skills, therapeutic services and community resources they need for the short and long-term.
This important process is also designed to identify the level of support a family may need to implement their Family Action Plan. While some families may need some information and encouragement, others may need coaching, advocacy, and greater assistance. The Family Needs Assessment and Family Action Plan have been developed by the Center’s President & CEO, Moisés Barón, Ph.D., during his career, and scaled with the expertise from Center mental health professionals for the specific needs of parents and caregivers of a child with a mental health disorder.
In 2017, the Empowered Families© pilot program launched at the Center’s Family Wellness Center served 312 families receiving 4,317 units of service.
To serve more families and to do so more efficiently, the Center seeks to develop a web-based platform to help families complete the Family Needs Assessment and provide them access to their goals and action items remotely through their phone or tablets. This technology will give families greater access to the guidance they may need. Additionally, this will help the Center reach more families and train other providers.
Mental health challenges affect one in five youth in San Diego. These challenges impact a child’s ability to manage emotions, communicate with others, learn, cope with various stressors, plan for the future, and can be of great detriment if not treated to youth becoming independent, autonomous and fulfilled adults.
The Center’s work addresses one of California’s most critical issues—the increase in the number of youth challenged with a mental illness while funding for treatment and solutions is decreasing. It is estimated that over 50% of youth in California may need mental health care and/or counseling by the age 18, while less than 20% of children and adolescents receive the mental help they need. Over 50% of students with a mental disorder at the age of 14 and older drop out of high school—the highest dropout rate of any group. Racial and ethnic minorities are less likely as well to have access to mental health services and often receive a poorer quality of care.
The San Diego Center for Children, founded in 1887, is the oldest children’s non-profit in San Diego. The Center provides therapeutic care, specialized education and critical life skills to more than 1,000 children and their families every day in eight program sites and hundreds of homes across the county.