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San Diego Center for Children

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Mental Health, Residential Mental Health Treatment

Mission: San Diego Center for Children promotes the emotional behavioral well-being of children, youth, families and communities by providing an array of proven and effective mental health and social services. Our prevention and intervention services, delivered through programs in communities with schools and in out-of-home placements, serve more than 1,000 children annually. Founded in 1887, we are the community's oldest accredited nonprofit organization serving children in San Diego County.

Programs: Residential services and day rehab - provided a safe, supervised and therapeutic setting in order to foster a culture of positive behavioral supports and enhance the treatment objectives.

san diego center academy - provided a safe, supportive environment which nurtures students through therapy and academics.

mental health services (community based) - outpatient programs provided therapeutic services on multiple levels to help clients deal with inhibiting behaviors

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

The San Diego Center for Children supports children in our community that have very significant mental, emotional, and behavioral challenges. The board of directors, donors, customers, vendors, employees and professional service providers truly care about each one of these young people. We want to improve their lives. We want to provide skills that will last them a lifetime. And, we want to set their future trajectory toward the most positive path available to them, their friends and families, and their communities.

To do this, we know that we must be constantly learning, improving, educating, and utilizing the very best practices in all areas. We must strive for excellence in governance, management, financial oversight, therapies, education, and corporate culture. And we must do this with a firm commitment from all levels of the organization. As a seven year veteran of this amazing nonprofit, it is with great pride that I can say without reservation that we work hard every day to be the best at all that we do.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When looking at some of these reviews, I am honestly dumbfounded. I have been involved with the company for over five years as a volunteer and as an employee for almost two, my experience has been nothing but positive and life-changing.
I never worked under the previous CEO, so I cannot speak for his professionalism or leadership skills. However, the current CEO, Moisés Barón, is quite possibly the best leader I have ever had the pleasure of working with. His sincere passion for the Center's mission and his vision of being able to help so many people is inspiring. While I don't feel that the Center was ever a negative place to be, I would say that he has inspired a change to continue to improve the services it provides and ultimately make it better.
The staff is like a family, everyone cares for each other and supports one another through difficult times. It's amazing to see the joy that the Center brings to the children and families that it helps. I love the organization and will be a community partner long after my time working there ends.
Keep up the amazing work you do, everyone! It doesn't go unnoticed.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I was indirectly involved in a lawsuit filed against this organization. I reviewed information, paperwork and company documentation which would bring concern to any individual associated with this company. Upper management allows sexual misconduct to occur between staff members and turns a blind eye as long as the individuals are producing income for the company. Human resource department hires people that do not possess the minimum requirements for the job. David McCaslin CEO is a disgrace in his leadership abilities. He also serves as a board member which should be in direct conflict with his position of CEO. There is documented proof that this company misled the County to obtain funding in the millions of dollars. This company spends A LOT of money defended themselves against lawsuits filed. Their approach is to do or say whatever they need to, to make the case or individual disappear. They pay employees to remain on the payroll even though they are not actually working just to ensure their loyalty during depositions and declarations submitted to the courts. They committed perjury - in their own declarations - just to achieve the outcome they wanted in a lawsuit. I am disgusted by this organization and cannot sit quietly while watching them take money from donors, large corporations and the government. This company even changed locations and the name of their sister company to remove the stigma associated with their terrible business dealings.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

There is no respect for professionalism. Admin places people in charge that do not even possess appropriate licenses. The main focus is money. The director willing took money from a parent of one of the residents, which poses as a conflict of interest. The HR department fires at least one person a week after most were never even trained. I am ashamed to have ever worked for this agency.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

My teenage son has a mental/emotional disorder, which also led to substance abuse problems. We were at our wits end & he wasn't responding to outpatient care. It was too dangerous for him to be alone because he was suicidal, and the hospital would try to discharge him asap (insurance purposes). We were finally able to get help from the county mental health & school district, and he was admitted to SDCC. It is very sad to not have him in the home, but our hearts are overwhelmingly grateful for the care he is receiving at SDCC. He has been clean for 6 months now, and finally responding to medications. He is doing really well in the structured environment they provide. While in one breath he HATES it there, in another he says he knows he needs it, and it is helping him. He does tell me that some of the staff 'sucks'...but mostly has good things to say about them. While he isn't having 'fun', he is learning how to interact with other kids with emotional issues, he sees them have outbursts and in turn tries to control his own. During some of our visits, or when we pick up/drop off from a home visit, we have witnessed some pretty extreme outbursts from a few kids. Personally I thought the staff was way too lenient on them! I know there are laws in California about restraining the kids, but when they start destroying property I think it crosses the line when they aren't able to restrain them. My son has told me about some of the kids getting put in their rooms for time outs. He also tells me what the kid did wrong to be put there, and he (and I) both think the kid got off too easy! My son has the most awesome therapist that has gotten him to open up and be honest, in a very short amount of time. He has found a few staff members he trusts enough to open up to. This is SO important because he has had such a hard time opening up. They are helping him learn coping skills that we never knew how to teach him, because his issues were so extensive we needed the professionals to step in. The SDCC is VERY proactive in positive reinforcement with the kids. I have personally witnessed the awards ceremonies and it is so touching to see the sparkle in the kids' eyes when they earn the awards, it literally moves me and my husband (and many people) to tears. My son has earned several awards and it actually brought up a lot of his negative self-talk behaviors, (telling himself he didn't deserve it etc) & the staff was there on site to help him re-frame his thoughts and emotionally accept the praise. We were SO torn about putting him in a residential facility. Now I feel it is truly an answer to many prayers. They also provide weekly family therapy for us. It has been an immense help for all of us, including my younger son (all of this has been so stressful for him). I know this review is getting very wordy, I guess the point I want to get across is this place has been a lifesaver for our family, and so many of the kids. I personally know that my son would not be with us now if we had not gotten their help. He was attempting suicide often and we weren't getting the help he needed with the hospital inpatient & outpatient programs. I cannot say enough good things about the SDCC. I am realistic in knowing there are a few staff that aren't the "best". But really, you get that in any job situation, and I can imagine how hard it would be to deal with these kids 24/7. (I only dealt with ONE of them & it about did me in!) I know my son would be more than open about the 'cruel' punishment if they received that. His opinion is when any of them act out they truly DO deserve the punishment they receive, and that often some of the kids deserve way more 'punishment' than they get. (After smashing TVS, breaking all the dishes, throwing microwaves off the counter, punching holes in walls, and hitting vehicles with a big tree branch, etc). I will also say they have the best programs for these kids, my son has seriously gotten SO much benefit therapeutically through their music, sports, and poetry groups. He has enjoyed all of the outtings the staff takes them on. I want to do all that I can to support this place and help 'pay forward' the all of the good they have brought to our family.

Review from Guidestar

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

The purpose of this review is to voice how the children are being treated at the center and how the organization falsifies documentation when reporting to the courts and Health and Human Services Agency. I was an employee during a regular shift where a child became assaultive and was restrained by being kept in his room against his will (also called an involuntary time out). A supervisor by name Elizabeth Hook was on the unit during the incident and I wrote a standard report documenting everything that took place. At the end of my shift, I debriefed with another supervisor by name, Michelle Drake who said to me that she had concerns why that type of restraint took place when Elizabeth knows we shouldn't do that type of restraint and that she was going to talk to her. A week later I received a written warning stating that I had been told to rewrite the report excluding the involuntary time out in that clients room. I will do everything in my power to stop this organization's dishonestly and its supervisor's unprofessional and incompetent handling of these situations. If you are a funder I would strongly recommended that you investigate this before giving support to an organization that would treat children in this manner and them try to cover it up.

Review from Guidestar