If you’ve lived in Southern California for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services. This remarkable organization has been at the forefront of providing ground-breaking children’s services for more than a century.
Here’s a little about its story and the incredible difference it’s making for so many youngsters and their families.
A Solid Foundation
The enterprise was founded in 1908 as the Jewish Orphan’s Home of Southern California. Its purpose, at the time, was to provide a safe home for the growing number of Jewish children living on California streets who’d fled war-torn Europe with their families.
Another influence was the 1909 establishment of the Federal Children’s Bureau by the American government, with its focus on foster homes rather than institutional care. Unfortunately, there was little hope that fostering could be found for all the children in need, so the charity innovated with a cottage-style orphanage approximating a home-like setting. By 1925, the agency was renamed Vista Del Mar.
Evolving to Meet Needs
The early years saw youngsters who required treatment for tuberculosis and polio as well as being in need of a caring environment where they could grow into healthy young adults. However, as time progressed the non-profit began administering to children who had experienced abuse and neglect, as well as those who were experiencing mental health problems.
Of necessity, the organization innovated to become a leader in a wide range of supports. To address the changing and complex needs of its clients in the surrounding communities, Vista Del Mar developed pioneering programs and services in the areas of mental health, autism, early intervention, prevention, residential care, adoption, education and more.
The behavioral, developmental, and emotional difficulties experienced by many of the children served can be a challenge for parents, who have their own struggles. However, over the years, the agency has held steadfast to the belief that equipping families to manage the difficulties their children face is critical to building a resilient family unit and better outcomes for all.
Today, Vista Del Mar is on a mission to provide “a trauma-responsive continuum of services to empower children, youth and families in Southern California to lead fulfilling lives.”
Wide-Ranging Program Offerings
Guided by the core values of equity, empowerment and excellence, this non-profit serves up a range of high-quality programs. All are based on making sure that young people and their families have the tools that will help them learn to better manage a variety of behavioral challenges.
Here are just two of the foundational programs at Vista Del Mar.
Mental Health and Wellness
The agency’s clinical programs are nationally recognized. They’re evidence-based and cover the following: child parent psychotherapy, interpersonal therapy, managing and adapting practices, seeking safety, reflective parenting, and trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy.
In terms of mental health and wellness, the aim is to teach clients to problem solve effectively, improve their ability to manage their behavior, develop positive relationships with others, and reach a level of academic achievement.
By encouraging children to develop more self-awareness and become psychologically healthy, these programs help them unlock their potential and take their place as fully functioning members of their communities.
Intensive Treatment Intervention
Sometimes, a more structured and adaptive solution is required. Vista Del Mar offers a continuum of intensive treatment interventions designed for children and families that need a greater level of support.
These individualized remedies include wraparound services, residential treatment, and intensive treatment in foster care homes. The security, nurturing, and additional amount of day-to-day encouragement characteristic of these interventions sets young people up for a more success in the family home, at school, and in their neighborhood.
Vista Del Mar’s Wraparound Program, Connections, offers therapeutic intervention and assistance to children and adolescents at home. This enables them to continue living with their families while they work on problems and improve relationships.
Residential treatment relies on a relationship model with staff who supervise and guide residents in a home-like cottage setting. A locked community treatment facility is also available for youth who would benefit from this type of accommodation.
Intensive Treatment Foster Care (ITFC) assists youngsters who are in the foster care system and require intensive social work and therapeutic services to help them address behavioral or emotional issues. This care is provided within the homes and foster parents play a key role.
There are two other crucial cornerstones for the enterprise. Its extensive parent and family resources teaches families invaluable childrearing skills and helps them navigate difficulties. Finally, the agency is known for its comprehensive educational programs for those working in the field of children services. These include fellowships, graduate school, continuing education, and internships.
With such an amazing track record, no doubt Vista Del Mar will continue to be a effective and well-respected child and family service organization.