Cheryl was drawn to the Wonder program after her daughter moved
away from home. “I found myself with a lot of time on my hands,”
she said. She noted she longed to help young people. One of her
passions is a love of nature and she wanted to be able to share
that with a young person.
Read more about Book of Dreams here.
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.
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
We’re excited to receive this grant award for our Career Pathways
program! Our internship program continues to build behavioral
health champions at the educational partner institutions we
serve, and builds a pipeline for students to enter the field with
knowledge, skills, and employment offers after their
Join us in congratulating this year’s Champions for
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Now in its second year, the
Business Journal’s DEI Awards program honors the individuals and
organizations in the region that have demonstrated a commitment
to promoting a more diverse and equitable community.
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.
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.
Ebony Chambers McClinton was selected to receive the 2023
Innovative Program Award in recognition of outstanding Family and
Youth Partnership programs committed to supporting those in need
of service from the California Mental Health Advocates for
Children and Youth (CMHACY).
SSYAF serves over 6,000 youth and families annually throughout 17
counties. The ultimate goal is that every child thrives. How that
happens is empowerment, a sense of belonging, and skill building.
Family permanency is woven into all of our work. Read the
Over the span of SSYAF’s 120-plus-year history, the organization
has transitioned from an orphanage to a community-based
organization focused on ensuring every young person has a family
and the tools to overcome their challenges and become healthy,
happy and successful.
Read the article here.
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,
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
Experience with Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) and quality
Senior leadership experience in training and staff
Cultural diversity, equity, and inclusion presenter/trainer
Please join us in welcoming Ontson to Stanford Sierra Youth
& Families, and to Northern California.
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!