Stanford Sierra Youth & Families Welcomes Ontson Placide as New Chief Program Officer

Photoograph of Ontson Placide

After an extensive search and a multi-step application and interview process, Stanford Sierra Youth & Families is thrilled to announce that it has hired a Chief Program Officer (CPO). Ontson Placide, LMFT will serve as our agency’s newly appointed CPO and will oversee programs and services across the region, supporting clinical and program directors. 

Ontson has demonstrated that he is a catalyst for positive change within the Los Angeles community for over 30 years and brings a wealth of knowledge regarding operational excellence in public and private/non-profit community agencies. He has an unwavering commitment to provide innovative services for youth and families, in particular, for the most vulnerable at-risk youth/families in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. He strongly values the voice of the young people and their families.

Ontson brings with him the experience of being the Senior Administrator at one of California’s largest behavioral health services organization, Stars Behavioral Health Group/Star View Children & Family Services, overseeing 160+ staff in a $22 Million per year division with oversight of many types of programs and funding sources. Ontson also brings his experience as the Chief Operating Officer with Fred Jefferson Memorial Homes/FFA/Adoptions, where his focus was to expand their services in response to the California’s Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) initiative.  Ontson will be coming to Stanford Sierra Youth & Families from his most recent position as the Clinical Program Manager II/Program Head for LA County DMH, in one of the largest directly operated clinics in Los Angeles County.

Ontson has vast experience in both public and non-profit administration and business functions as well as clinical services, management, and best practices which include, but are not limited to the list below.

  • Organizational/strategic Planning 
  • Administrative oversight and program development
  • Start-up and implementation of various complex programs and payment models/delivery systems
  • Advanced funding stream oversight
  • Strong total quality management/continuous quality improvement acumen
  • Experience with Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) and quality service implementation
  • Senior leadership experience in training and staff development
  • Cultural diversity, equity, and inclusion presenter/trainer

Please join us in welcoming Ontson to Stanford Sierra Youth & Families, and to Northern California.


Celebrating 120 Years of Empowering Youth

Photo of CEO Dr. Laura Heintz

Celebrating their 120th anniversary, Stanford Sierra Youth & Families (SSYF) provides a continuum of care to empower youth and families to overcome challenges together, as well as connects youth in foster care to the permanent loving families they need and deserve. SSYF annually serves 4,500 youth and their families throughout 17 Northern California counties.

SSYF was originally founded in 1900 and has remained committed to helping vulnerable children and families since inception. Throughout the years, the organization has transformed from an orphanage to a community based organization focused on ensuring every young person has a family and the tools to overcome their challenges, so they can become healthy, happy, and successful.  

With the merger in 2019, Stanford Youth Solutions and Sierra Forever Families became SSYF which offers greater depth of services, staff, resources, and expertise. Uniquely designed programs help end the child welfare cycle by keeping children safe and together with family, in school and out of trouble. Services include family stabilization, behavioral and mental health services, juvenile justice intervention, foster care and pre- and post-adoption support.  “Over the years, our organization has continuously evolved to meet the needs of youth and families. What hasn’t changed is our determination to help youth overcome obstacles, develop life skills, and grow into self-sufficient adults. We support the entire family with professional treatment and compassionate care, so every youth has the opportunity to thrive”, says Dr. Laura Heintz, CEO.

SSYF looks forward to many more years of continuing to fulfill the organization’s vision of communities with safe, lifelong connections for all young people, built and strengthened through generations of empowered families.

Thank you to our community Partner, Comstock’s Magazine for helping us highlight this momentous occasion in their December edition!



Pathways to Permanency: Promoting Connections During Times of Crisis

Going about normal routines and balancing new challenges can be difficult during these uncertain times. Many organizations have been forced to restructure, furlough, or even stop providing crucial services to the community. At Stanford Sierra Youth & Families (SSYF), we have been delivering and will continue to deliver essential services to youth and families within our programs, all while focusing on the safety and well-being of all within our communities. The challenges we face during this time will provide us with invaluable tools and resources for years to come.


Introducing Stanford Sierra Youth & Families

Stanford Youth Solutions + Sierra Forever Families is proud to announce our new identity – Stanford Sierra Youth & Families (SSYF). SSYF believes each and every child deserves the love, safety, and unconditional commitment of a family and the opportunity to develop as a healthy and productive adult.