The Child & Family Center began in 1976 as St. Stephen’s Special School, a church sponsored parenting program. Our founders, Katie Clarke, Liz Seipel and Carol Gelsinger recognized the need for children’s mental health services in the Santa Clarita Valley and together they developed the small program for parents and their children ages 2 through 8 years, two afternoons per week to learn appropriate behaviors. They worked with the parents, teaching them how to meet their child’s needs, helping them learn to be successful in both their school and family lives.
In 1982, the Center formed its first Board of Directors and became a United Way member agency. In 1985, the name SCV Special Children’s Center name was adopted. The Center became a 501c3 non-profit agency and opened a preschool in Newhall and received its first government funding for services.
As the community evolved, programs were developed to meet the needs of the growing Santa Clarita Valley. In 1987, the Center began offering delinquency prevention services. In 1989, children of all ages were able to receive services along with their parents. In 1991, the Center adopted the name Santa Clarita Child & Family Development Center, reflecting the comprehensive prevention and early intervention and treatment services.
The Center became the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health contract provider for all mental health services for children in Santa Clarita Valley, including crisis intervention and drug and alcohol prevention.
In 1998, the agency simplified its name to Child & Family Center. The Child & Family Center Foundation was formed to raise money and awareness for the Center programs. The Foundation began a capital campaign and with the support of the community, raised $2.1 million to fund the Center’s new facility. In 2001 the staff moved into the new 27,000 square foot building on Center Pointe Parkway and in 2007 construction was completed on a 10,000 square foot addition and a 15,000 square foot Education Building.
Today the Center, helps more than 3,300 children and 2,500 adults annually with a comprehensive range of prevention, early intervention, evaluation and therapeutic services including counseling, crisis intervention, parenting classes, and substance abuse recovery programs.