Family Advocacy & Support


Family and Youth Partnership

Family Partners and Youth Advocates offer their own personal experiences and advocacy skills as a valuable layer of support to the youth and families in all Stanford Sierra Youth & Families’ programs. Having similar experiences in their past, these important partners empower young people and their families to lead their own care teams to get their needs met. Family Partners are staff members who have personal experience in the child welfare, mental health or juvenile justice systems as a consumer and/or as a parent/caregiver.


Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)

Stanford Sierra Youth & Families employs Youth Advocates (individuals with “lived experience”), who serve as peer mentors/advocates for the CSEC population. The core framework of the program blends child family teaming, mentoring, and positive youth development, as well as integrates a trauma informed, gender responsive approach in supporting youth (ages 10-18) who have been trafficked. Youth Advocates works with youth, engaging them and incorporating the evidenced model Seeking Safety to address the youth’s individual needs, while also building upon their strengths, skills, and positive connections to the community.

What are high risk factors?
  • Running away
  • Domestics Violence
  • History of Sexual Abuse
  • Homelessness
  • Substance Abuse
  • Truancy from school
Referral Process:

Please fill out the CSEC Referral Form, and submit to or call (916) 344-0199.


Empowerment Training Center

The Empowerment Training Center (ETC) is a workforce development program that is uniquely designed to strengthen skills and development of employees locally, state wide, and nationally. SSYAF’s Empowerment Training Center also provides training and support to individuals with lived experience who are on a path of recovery and are willing and able to assist others who are in earlier stages of the recovery process. These individuals’ viewpoints and experiences are included in the training, education, and support.


Parent Partner Services

Stanford Sierra Youth & Families collaborates with Child Welfare to provide Parent Partner Services for families involved in the Child Welfare System. The program’s goals are to engage parents more fully in the child welfare case planning and services process; provide information to parents to help them navigate the child welfare system and understand their rights and responsibilities; and provide support, modeling, and linkages to assist families in meeting their safety, permanency, and well-being goals. The program helps empower youth and families and ensure they have voice and choice in service delivery.


Parent Support Groups
Check out the list of support groups that we offer each month!

Two women on merry go round with two children

Crisis Intervention for Families

Stanford Sierra Youth & Families empowers parents and caregivers to become advocates for their children and leaders in their communities through its free monthly support group meetings.

Attendance is FREE!

Are you a resource parent, adoptive parent, parent in need, or caregiver? All are welcome to join our support group meetings, even if you do not receive services through our agency.

Support Groups Schedule


  • In-person support group at Sacramento office       
  • 8912 Volunteer Lane, Sacramento, CA 95826       
  • Every First Wednesday of the Month: 6:00-7:30PM 
  • *Dinner and childcare will be provided*                 
  • Please RSVP to Ro’Mel Smith at
  • Or Call 916-215-6382


  • Every Second Wednesday: 5:30pm – 7:00pm
  • Meeting ID: 952 9503 0707
  • Passcode: 8912


  • Every Last Thursday of the Month: 5:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Zoom Meeting ID: 823 908 7885
  • Passcode: REC


  • Every Second Wednesday: 12:00pm – 1:30pm
  • Meeting ID: 943 9984 0422
  • Passcode: Kinship


  • Every Second Tuesday: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
  • Registration required
  • Please contact Debbie Wender at (916) 956-2079 or email to register.
For More Information & Meeting Details:

Support Groups Schedule


Resilient Youth Speak Out (RYSO)
Activities for Youth to Learn Leadership Skills and Boost Resilience

RYSO seeks to increase exposure to positive social, relational, educational, and career routes among youth ages 13-21, as well as teach important leadership skills, build resilience, share experiences, and help each other prepare for adulthood while navigating life’s challenges. This is achieved through innovative activities, compelling speakers, field trips, and a comprehensive youth leadership curriculum.  


Kinship Support Services

Kinship Support Services

What is Kinship Care?

Kinship is the care for children by relatives or those like relatives due to the disruption of care with their parents. Kinship care offers the child impacted by the separation an opportunity to remain connected to their community and family.

When children are in need of stability while their parents receive support, living with someone with a connection to the child helps promote the child’s sense of identity, their self-esteem, and supports their connections to their culture and community.


Wonder Mentoring Program
Our vision is to improve the emotional and social well-being of children impacted by child welfare

Wonder is a mentoring program matching children and youth impacted by foster care, one-to-one, with caring, consistent adults. The mentors are trained to listen, support, and guide each child through fun, age-appropriate experiences in music, the arts, sports, volunteer service, dining out, and nature. The children enrolled in the program are called “Explorers” and the adults who volunteer and serve as mentors are called “Guides.” Together, they participate in a journey of fun and exploration filled with Wonder moments.