Cover kids Alyssa, Ashley and Dylan epitomize the image of the typical child in Santa Clarita. Their grandmother, Judi Best, knows all too well that there are many other children in our community who don’t fit that image. They are the thousands of children who suffer from mental health, emotional or behavioral problems who seek help at Child & Family Center, a non-profit organization that has been serving Santa Clarita families since 1976.
Judi is passionate about giving back to the community she’s lived in since 1971. She began as a volunteer for Child & Family Center 16 years ago, answering phone calls from frantic parents who knew their child needed help. Now the Administrative Program Services Manager, she supervises the front office staff which helps families from their first phone call seeking services through a seamless system of care to get the mental health care their children need.
Children who come to Child & Family Center are sometimes among the most severe who reside in the Santa Clarita Valley. Many suffer from ADHD, are bi-polar, or are self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Many of these children come from completely dysfunctional families. They don’t understand what’s going on in their lives and need someone to talk through their issues.
Some of the children needing the most help are those who have been neglected or abused by their parents. “Parents are supposed to take care of the children and provide a safe haven,” said Best. “When a parent turns against a child, he does not understand and will start to act out at school or with friends. Children often can not express their frustrations, so they act out with rage or in various other ways.”
Therapists also work closely with foster children and their families. These children often have serious abandonment issues. Through therapy they learn to believe that they are valuable human beings. Many people in the community have been very generous in helping the Center’s staff secure community resources to help these children and their families.
The Center also has a crisis team of professionals who see children whose problems have escalated to a crisis level where they are in imminent danger of harming themselves or others. When a crisis call comes in the staff is trained to ask the right questions to identify a child in crisis. They can then immediately be referred to the trained team of professionals who can stabilize the child, or have him taken to a hospital for his own safety, if necessary.
“One case I’ll always remember was one of the first crisis calls we had over ten years ago,” said Best. “A divorced father came to the Center and said his son was acting out at school. He had been caught at school cutting” a process where the child intentionally cuts himself with a sharp object to help alleviate the internal emotional pain from which he is suffering. The father reacted with anger toward his son. When the father came in you could see the anger in his eyes. After meeting with the crisis therapist, the expression on his face had changed from anger to a look of compassion for his child. They met with a therapist for several weeks afterward to work through their issues.”
“I’m proud to be a part of a team that makes an impact in the lives of so many children who need our help,” said Best. “Although I am not directly involved in the treatment, we’re all in it for the same reason and that is to help these kids feel safe and secure so they can become responsible, successful adults.”
Each week, Child & Family Center helps over 650 children who suffer from emotional or behavioral problems. The staff of 140 includes child psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, social workers and psychologists who work together as a team to provide the best treatment for the child. All of the programs involve interaction with family members to encourage nurturing relationships in the home.
For information about Child & Family Center, call 661-259-9439 or visit www.childfamilycenter.org .
The Center presents Kid Expo to provide families with entertainment and valuable community resources. Research has proven that the involvement of parents in the life of a child is imperative to their growth and development. In addition, involvement in extra-curricular activities has proven to help develop a child’s physical and mental health and self-esteem, thereby helping them grow into healthy, well-rounded adults. Kid Expo will take place on Saturday, October 27 from 11am-4pm at Golden Valley High School. The event is Free to attendees. Visit www.kidexposcv.com to find out more about this fantastic community event.
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Articles - This Issue
- The True Reason Behind Kid Expo-Our Cover Story
- Dining and Entertainment Guide
- 23rd. Annual Santa Clarita Valley Home & Business Expo October 13-14
- A Note From the Publishers- October 2007
- HALLOWEEN FASHION FUN
- Brothers Volunteer to Help Literacy & Arts Festival
- Children's Bureau Seeking Volunteers to Nurture At-Risk Children
- Bow-Wows and Meows is Back and Better than Ever
- Bras For a Cause
- The Santa Clarita Ballet Company Presents The Nutcracker Ballet