Delivering Christmas with Audacy
A Partnership with 98 Rock, 96.9 The Eagle, 106.5 The End, ESPN 1320, 102.5 KSFM, Alt 94.7

Group photo with Audacy radio stations: ESPN and 106.5 The End

Our Community Engagement Manager, Karla Zaragoza, had the pleasure of speaking with Doug Thomas about our programs and the impact we can make to help local youth in foster care through Audacy’s Annual Delivering Christmas Toy Drive. Thank you Audacy for having us on the Sacramento Public File and partnering with us to bring holiday joy to local children! Listen to the full episode here


SMART Initiative
Combating Structural Racism & Advancing DEI Efforts

SSYAF Staff sitting around a table after a meeting

We are proud to partner with Sacramento County’s Behavioral Health Services (BHS) and the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS), as we embark on an imperative initiative—the Self-Assessment for Modification of Anti-Racism Tool (SMART) project. The objective is to facilitate a comprehensive evaluation of our organization’s practices, focusing on behavioral health domains that are impacted by structural racism.


A Strategic Partnership that Supports Local Youth and Families
Sacramento State University

Beatriz Lodia, Wonder Mentoring Program Manager

Sacramento State University and Stanford Sierra Youth & Families (Stanford Sierra) have formed a strategic partnership for over five years. Both entities have a common vision of improving the well-being and quality of life for vulnerable youth and their families in the community. Stanford Sierra supports the entire family with professional treatment and compassionate care, so every youth has the opportunity to thrive at home, in school, and in the community.


Capital Region Cares Community Spotlight
Comstock’s Magazine

Diverse children in a park, smiling

During May, which is National Foster Care Month, we want to bring awareness to the need for safe and nurturing homes for youth in care over the age of 10. These young people never outgrow the need for a loving family. Through our Pathway to Permanency program, older children are connected to a family that can provide a sense of stability, lasting connections, and guidance.


Kars 4 Kids Grant: Healing Families for the Sake of the Children

A family of four posing

We too, believe that helping children needs to be a holistic effort that strengthens and supports the whole family. That is why we felt so good about having a small part in the critical work of this organization by way of our small grant program. We share the mission of giving kids a feeling that they belong, and helping families to learn how to heal, moving forward.

Click here for the full interview with SSYAF Director of Development, Christie Shorrock.


SAFE Grants $10,000 to Help Kids in Foster Care Moving to New Homes

SAFE Grants $10,000 to Help Kids in Foster Care Moving to New Homes

SAFE Credit Union is committing $10,000 to help area children and teens living in foster care with mental health services provided by Stanford Sierra Youth & Family Services throughout Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties. The grant will be used to offer a continuum of care to local youths living in foster care – many of whom are recovering from childhood trauma – seeking and moving into permanent homes. 


Family & Youth Partnership as an Effective Strategy in the Crisis Continuum of Care

Family Partners and Youth Advocates help treatment teams provide services through a lens that is strength-based, outcome-driven, team-based, persistent, individualized, culturally competent, collaborative, community-based, inclusive of natural supports, and upholds family voice and choice. Their primary role is to ensure that all decisions are in the best interest of the youth and families served.


Empowering Youth and Families, Transforming Lives

For more than 121 years, SSYAF has provided help and hope for youth and families during times of uncertainty. We remain steadfast in our mission of transforming lives by nurturing permanent connections and empowering families to solve challenges together, so every child can thrive.


Studio40 Live Interview

Ebony with two news reporters

Watch our very own Chief Family and Youth Partnership Officer, Ebony Chambers, chat with Gary Gelfand and Scott Moak of Studio40 Live. They discuss our Mission, Giving Tuesday, and the importance of supporting local foster youth during the holiday season.


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

Photo of Ontson Placide, LMFT

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!