Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. The center partners with family support organizations in San Luis Obispo County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority.

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  • CFS Promotes Staff Member

    Center for Family Strengthening promotes Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia to Director of Promotores Collaborative. “We are thrilled with Erica’s accomplishments in driving the growth and success of Promotores Collaborative,” said Lisa Fraser,… Read more…

  • CFS Welcomes New Program Coordinator

    Gwendolyn Garcia has joined Center for Family Strengthening as Program Coordinator for CFS’ major programs: Parent Connection, Kidz Tool Box for personal safety, Promotores Collaborative, Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition and… Read more…

  • CFS moves to new location

    Center for Family Strengthening has moved its corporate headquarters to 3480 South Higuera, Suite 100, San Luis Obispo. Affiliate agency ALPHA Pregnancy and Parenting Support is also moving its corporate… Read more…

  • Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition Symposium

    Renowned Dr. Paula Meier Speaks at Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition Symposium May 19.   Researcher, Professor, and Author Dr. Paula Meier Ph.D., RN, FAAN speaks on Breastfeeding the Premature Infant: Bridging… Read more…

  • KSBY promotes Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety

    Every year Center for Family Strengthening instructs over 4,000 Preschool, Kindergarten, 2nd grade and Special Needs students in San Luis Obispo County with the Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety program. Educating children… Read more…

CFS Promotes Staff Member

Center for Family Strengthening promotes Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia to Director of Promotores Collaborative. “We are thrilled with Erica’s accomplishments in driving the growth and success of Promotores Collaborative,” said Lisa Fraser, Executive Director of Center for Family Strengthening. “Her leadership, planning, and execution of “Promotores Collaborative” are having a transformational impact on our Spanish-speaking Community.”

Ruvalcaba-Heredia is a graduate of the University of Santa Barbara and earned her Master’s Degree in Spanish and BA in Spanish and Latino and Iberian Studies. She holds a PhEd in Organizational Leadership from the University of Laverne.

Promotores Collaborative,” of San Luis Obispo County is an emerging prevention and health education model that works for the Latino community with neighbor-to-neighbor outreach activities. This promising and novel program, introduced by Center for Family Strengthening (CFS), is rapidly changing our Spanish-speaking Community from within to achieve greater and greater success. Organized and trained volunteer Latinos within the neighborhood are providing a path for other Latinos in the neighborhood to thrive.

Promotores volunteers reach into the Latino neighborhoods to recruit, organize and train networks of Spanish-speaking volunteers who introduce Latinos to important beneficial services to build healthy communities. Through Promotores, the Latino Community, neighborhood by neighborhood, is learning essential life skills. Promotores provides Latinos access to healthy foods, nutritional education, emotional support, access to mental health resources such as substance abuse and domestic violence programs, medical and dental care access, and programs tailored to child development, effective parenting and education.

About Center for Family Strengthening (formerly SLO-CAP): In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call (805) 543-6216.

CFS Welcomes New Program Coordinator

Gwendolyn Garcia has joined Center for Family Strengthening as Program Coordinator for CFS’ major programs: Parent Connection, Kidz Tool Box for personal safety, Promotores Collaborative, Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition and Postpartum Depression Support Services.

Garcia graduated from California Polytechnic University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Child Development and a minor in Psychology and also holds an Associate Degree in Early Child Development and Behavioral Sciences.

Impressively, while completing her studies at Cal Poly, she received training through Active Parenting and Positive Discipline. She worked as an“early childhood educator” at Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo, served as Assistant Director at the Shepard Christian Preschool and was a co-teacher working with pre-schoolers at the County Office of Education in Paso Robles and Shandon.

We are thrilled to have Gwen as an addition to our team,” said Lisa Fraser, Executive Director of Center for Family Strengthening. “Gwen’s education, experience, her enthusiasm in working with preschoolers and her ability to create supportive environments for children and families substantially enhance our efforts in strengthening families and preventing abuse and neglect in children.

Center for Family Strengthening is a SLO-based non-profit agency dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect through by building stronger families and supporting them with a myriad of programs.

Through its Parent Connection, Center for Family Strengthening offers parenting skills classes and coaching skills, and manages the Postpartum Depression Support Line and support services. Through Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety, CFS teaches child protective and safety skills. CFS’ Beginnings program offers prenatal substance use awareness. CFS also educates the San Luis Obispo Community at large about child abuse reporting laws. Promotores Collaborative is a volunteer team of Spanish-speaking members who connect to families in need. CFS works with Public Health Programs to make dental care accessible to the thousands of children in this San Luis Obispo County who do not qualify for Medical. The Central Coast Breast Feeding Coalition brings together a collaborative team of breastfeeding advocates to network, share resources, accomplish projects and provide breastfeeding education based on current research and best practice. To provide families high-quality services and opportunities to thrive, CFS also partners with 14 county-wide Family Resource Centers.

About Center for Family Strengthening (formerly SLO-CAP): In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call (805) 543-6216.

CFS moves to new location

Center for Family Strengthening has moved its corporate headquarters to 3480 South Higuera, Suite 100, San Luis Obispo. Affiliate agency ALPHA Pregnancy and Parenting Support is also moving its corporate headquarters and will co-locate with Center for Family Strengthening.

We’re pleased to share corporate offices with ALPHA,” said Lisa Fraser, executive director of Center for Family Strengthening. “We’re able to provide additional services to ALPHA’s Clients when needed and share in administrative expenses where possible.”

Center for Family Strengthening is an SLO-based non-profit agency dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect through by building stronger families and supporting them with a myriad of programs.

Through its Parent Connection, Center for Family Strengthening offers parenting skills classes and coaching skills, and manages the Postpartum Depression Support Line and support services. Through Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety, CFS teaches child protective and safety skills. CFS’ Beginnings program offers prenatal substance use awareness. CFS also educates the San Luis Obispo Community at large about child abuse reporting laws. Promotores Collaborative is a volunteer team of Spanish-speaking members who connect to families in need. CFS works with Public Health Programs to make dental care accessible to the thousands of children in this San Luis Obispo County who do not qualify for Medical. The Central Coast Breast Feeding Coalition brings together a collaborative team of breastfeeding advocates to network, share resources, accomplish projects and provide breastfeeding education based on current research and best practice. To provide families high-quality services and opportunities to thrive, CFS also partners with 14 county-wide Family Resource Centers.

Ron Huxley, Family Healer and Therapeutic Parent Coach, featured guest speaker at the recent Child Abuse Prevention Academy at Cuesta College, described how abusive emotional childhood experiences could so negatively affect a young child resulting in underdeveloped social and emotional skills as well as negative impacts on our society as a whole.

According to experts, child abuse is preventable by strengthening families and fostering the healthy development of children. Working with the Community, CFS prevents child abuse by offering programs that make systemic changes in lives of families. A community that cares about early childhood development, parental support, and maternal mental health will foster nurturing families and healthy children.

Child abuse and neglect are found in families across the social and economic spectrum. Social isolation, financial stress, poverty, substance abuse, and domestic violence are all factors that can lead to adults abusing children.

About Center for Family Strengthening (formerly SLO-CAP)

In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority.

To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call (805) 543-6216.

About Alpha Pregnancy and Parenting Support

Alpha provides support, practical assistance during pregnancy through a child’s second year, and education on pregnancy and early parenting throughout San Luis Obispo County.

To donate or learn more about Alpha Pregnancy and Parenting Support go to www.sloalpha.org or call (805) 541-3367

Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition Symposium

Renowned Dr. Paula Meier Speaks at Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition Symposium May 19.  

Researcher, Professor, and Author Dr. Paula Meier Ph.D., RN, FAAN
speaks on Breastfeeding the Premature Infant: Bridging the Gap from Hospital to Home.
 

Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition will hold a day-long educational conference on May 19, 2017, at the Cliffs Resort in Pismo Beach. The conference features the renowned research, professor, speaker and author Dr. Paula Meier. The subject of Dr. Meier’s presentation is Breastfeeding the Premature Infant: Bridging the Gap from Hospital to Home.

Leslie Mehigan, President of the Coast Breastfeeding Coalition, said, “We are thrilled that an expert of Dr. Meier’s caliber with a long, successful track record working as a practitioner and researcher in the area of human milk, lactation and breastfeeding for premature infants will keynote our Symposium. This Education conference is a signature event for health professionals throughout California.”

Up to 150 healthcare professionals are expected to attend the May 19 conference, including physicians, advanced practice healthcare providers, lactation consultants, community educators, advocates and supporters of breastfeeding.   To register for the conference go to  http://www.centralcoastbreastfeeding.com/

Dr. Paula MeierAbout Dr. Meier: 

Dr. Meier is Director for Clinical Research and Lactation in the neonatal intensive care unit at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and is a professor of Women, Children and Family Nursing as well as a professor of Pediatrics. Dr. Meier serves as a member of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation and of the Health Advisory Council for La Leche League International. She has conducted numerous externally-funded research and demonstration projects and currently, serves as the principal investigator for a 5-year, $2.76 million, NIH-funded study, “Health Outcomes and Cost of Human Milk Feedings for Very Low Birth Weight Infants.” Dr. Meier has published over 70 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Impact of Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition

Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition programs have achieved high positive impact on our San Luis Obispo County Community. SLO County is now ranked fourth in California for exclusive breastfeeding at hospital discharge, up five ratings from ninth place last year. Eighty-eight percent of all babies born at a hospital in SLO County were exclusively breastfed.

Sierra Vista Hospital just announced the attainment of their “Baby Friendly” Certification. With this certification, all three hospitals that provide maternity services in the San Luis Obispo County are now “Baby Friendly” certified. French Hospital Medical Center was the first to attain this certification and was quickly followed by Twin Cities Community Hospital.

The “Baby Friendly” initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

Importance of Breast Milk

Breast milk is not only nourishment but is also medicine for infants. It contains antibodies, disease-fighting stem cells, anti-virus, anti-allergy, anti-parasitic, and anti-cancer properties that provide both short and long-term protection. Breast milk contains growth factors, enzymes, hormones, probiotics and other nutrients that help infants to grow and to develop optimally. Breastfeeding provides benefits to the mother with increased bonding with baby, better healing post-delivery, less incidence of postpartum depression, and decreased likelihood of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

Center for Family Strengthening provides non-profit fiscal management services for the Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition.  

About Center for Family Strengthening (formerly SLO-CAP):
In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call 805 543-6216.

CCBC Logo Lockup-vert_color

About the Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition:
The Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition brings together a collaborative team of breastfeeding advocates to network, share resources, accomplish projects, and provide breastfeeding education based on current research and best practice. Our members include private, hospital-based and county lactation consultants, as well as lactation educators and experienced breastfeeding mothers with a passion for helping others with breastfeeding. www.centralcoastbreastfeeding.com

 

 

Understanding Generational Patterns of Parenting


The impact of trauma on caregiver/child relationships and attachment.

Parenting is never easy. As professionals working with parents/caregivers it is important to understand some of the challenges present in generational patterns of parenting. These challenges include:
  • The transmission of trauma from one generation to another
  • Adult Attachment challenges
  • The life-cycle of parenting
  • The importance of addressing survival needs and immediate crisis before addressing sensitive, underlying trauma and unexplored issues
Through building healthy communication habits, modeling characteristics of self-aware adults, and providing concrete tools and strategies, you can build confidence and restore hope for parents/caregivers.
 
There will be 5 contact hours through the Board of Behavioral Sciences. (This only applies to Therapists and Social Workers)

This training is appropriate for: professionals working with parents and caregivers of children of any age. Including: parent educators, family advocates, social workers, therapists and counselors, teachers, childcare providers and health care providers. 

Training instructor: Ron Huxley, LMFT is a noted child and family therapist, speaker and blogger who helps families in need of hope and restoration in his San Luis Obispo County. 

Date: Friday September 22, 2017
Time: 9am – 4pm
Location: San Luis Coastal Adult School, 1500 Lizzie St. SLO
Cost: $55.00 (includes morning coffee and lunch) $85.00 (includes morning coffee, lunch and CEUs)

 
 
 

KSBY promotes Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety

Every year Center for Family Strengthening instructs over 4,000 Preschool, Kindergarten, 2nd grade and Special Needs students in San Luis Obispo County with the Kidz Toolbox for Personal Safety program. Educating children at a young age about personal boundaries and safety is key in preventing sexual abuse. 

View a recent news story on Mary Thielsher, Kidz Toolbox instructor who has made it her mission to help empower children and their families to be safe and learn responsible boundaries. 

KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

The Kidz Toolbox qualified educators teach assertiveness skills and model how to ask for help if they have a problem.  Studies show that these are key skills lacking in children at risk for abuse. The lessons varies according to the grade level, and the skills targeted for practice are developmentally appropriate. At all grade levels, children have opportunities for skill practice and transfer of learning. 

Kidz Tool Box for Personal Safety lessons are free of charge to all schools and community groups. Learn more at http://cfsslo.org/programs/kidz-tool-box/.

 

Stay tuned…

Please check back for more community events in 2017!

 

 

Promotores Collaborative – Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

“Promotores Collaborative” may just have our Latino Community on a faster track of assimilation into our San Luis Obispo community.

Latinos in our community continue to face tremendous challenges: language, cultural and educational barriers, access to good paying jobs and now, the constant fear of deportation.

“Promotores Collaborative,” of San Luis Obispo County is an emerging prevention and health education model that works for the Latino community with neighbor-to-neighbor outreach activities. This promising and novel program, introduced by Center for Family Strengthening, is rapidly changing our Spanish-speaking Community to achieve greater and greater success. Organized and trained volunteer Latinos within the neighborhood are providing a path for other Latinos in the neighborhood to thrive.

What is Promotores Collaborative?

Center for Family Strengthening
, a nonprofit organization, is “centered home” for Promotores Collaborative recruiting and training Promotores volunteers to reach into the Latino neighborhoods. They recruit, organize and train networks of Spanish-speaking volunteers who introduce Latinos to highly beneficial services to build healthy communities. Through Promotores, the Latino Community, neighborhood by neighborhood, is learning essential life skills. Promotores provides Latinos access to healthy foods, nutritional education, emotional support, access to mental health resources such as substance abuse and domestic violence programs, medical and dental care access, and programs tailored to child development, effective parenting and education.

Access to Good Nutrition

Overcoming food shortage or food insecurity is a major obstacle for many families living in poverty in the Latino Community. Rosa drives 45 miles per day to access the proper nutrition to feed her family. The gasoline costs for this 45-mile drive places a major burden on Rosa’s meager household income.

Promotores Collaborative has launched a major initiative with the San Luis Obispo Food Bank to bring healthy, fresh food to Latinos. Now Rosa can get fresh vegetables and produce from a local distribution center close to her home. Promotores advocates have educated Rosa about proper food preparation and have helped her understand and value the importance of proper nutrition for her and her children. Rosa’s kids delight in eating fresh fruit and vegetables. Promotores and the San Luis Obispo Food Bank make culturally-appropriate food and nutritional education available for women like Rosa.

Emotional and Mental Health

Promotores Collaborative helped organize the Oceano Support Group made up of Latino mothers to foster emotional and mental health support in their families. Mothers come together to discuss topics that meet their immediate needs. Mothers share their concerns regarding relationships, communications with their children, discipline, depression, anxiety, chronic diseases, and health concerns.

Attending moms may be referred to other agencies when there’s a need for special assistance. Maria suffered from an abusive husband. Through the help of the Oceano Support Group, Maria learned that she and her three children were victims of domestic abuse. Promotores referred Maria to the Women’s Shelter where she received the help she needed to live independently and to support and nurture her children. With the emotional support of the Promotores and her peers, Maria took action needed to end the domestic violence.

Through Promotores, sponsored groups like the Oceano Support Group Moms rediscover themselves, learn their value, improve their self-esteem and enhance their well-being all of which impact families in a positive way.

Mental Health Interpretation Services

Yolanda’s 15-year-old daughter seemed very depressed. Her grades in school were suffering, and she lost interest in her friends. One of the Promotores suggested Yolanda take her daughter to a counselor at a local mental health clinic. Yolanda felt extremely uncomfortable going to the clinic. She did not speak English well and felt the stigma attached to mental health problems. The Promotores Volunteer accompanied Yolanda and her daughter to the clinic. (Select Promotores volunteers have been specifically trained to translate and explain mental health conditions to the Spanish-speaking community.) The Promotores worked with Yolanda, calming her fears and giving her a better understanding of how to help her daughter through the guidance of the Counselor at the clinic.

One-on-One-Parenting Counseling

Promotores Volunteers work with mothers and fathers who are struggling with the challenges of parenthood. When appropriate they refer them to Center for Family Strengthening’s Parent Connection for a one-on-one Spanish-speaking parent coach.

The parent coach encourages assimilation and giving back to the community. The Parent Coach may emphasize the need to speak English as a way to understand and respect the culture of the United States. Speaking English is also a primary tool for effective parenting. Without English, many parents fail to understand the world their children inhabit. Ana, a client, sought out parent coaching at a time when she barely spoke English. With support and encouragement, she enrolled in an ESL class. Now, just a few years later, Ana can work, pay her taxes and has successfully enrolled in John Hancock College. Her ambition is to work as a paralegal. 

Promotores Collaborative Works

The Promotores Collaborative approach is effective and is helping the Latino Community assimilate into the Amercian culture. Promotores are sensitive to their neighbor’s’ struggles and challenges because they themselves have overcome similar experiences. Their neighbors trust them. The volunteers are well-trained in listening and empowering their neighbors with a path to access services and resources of SLO County. The volunteers immerse themselves in engaging the Latino community with a positive can-do spirit that is infectious and transforms people’s lives. Promotores bring a voice and the path to positive, healthy change and assimilation into the larger San Luis Obispo community.

Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia, Coordinator, Promotores Collaborative and Ximena Ames, Parent Coach, Parent Connection, contributed to this article.

Promotores-300x218

About Center for Family Strengthening (formerly SLO-CAP): In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call 805 543-6216. To become a Promotores Volunteer call Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia at 805 720-6091.

CFS receives $50,000 gift from Mindbody Inc. Employee

Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition benefits from this magnanimous gift.

Mom with babyThe Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition receives a $50,000 gift from an employee at Mindbody. The Employee (who wishes to remain anonymous) expresses a deep commitment to creating awareness of the long-term intrinsic benefits of breastfeeding for the infant. The purpose of the gift is to expand breastfeeding programs, education, and resources and to support and encourage families in their breastfeeding journey.

Importance of Breast Milk

Breast milk is not only nourishment but is also medicine for infants. It contains antibodies, disease-fighting stem cells, anti-virus, anti-allergy, anti-parasitic, and anti-cancer properties that provide both short and long-term protection. Breast milk contains growth factors, enzymes, hormones, probiotics and other nutrients that help infants to grow and to develop optimally. Breastfeeding provides benefits to the mother with increased bonding with baby, better healing post-delivery, less incidence of postpartum depression, and decreased the likelihood of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

Impact of Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition

Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition programs have already achieved high positive impact on our Community. Our County is now ranked fourth in California for exclusive breastfeeding at hospital discharge, up five ratings from ninth place last year. Eighty-eight percent of all babies born at a hospital in SLO County were exclusively breastfed.

This generous gift provides additional resources to the Coalition to expand its programs in several areas. One of these is educational outreach conferences such as “Breastfeeding the Premature Infant” featuring Dr. Paula Meier, which will take place on May 19, 2017. Educational conferences of this caliber are signature events for healthcare professionals in San Luis Obispo County and throughout California.

Up to 300 healthcare professional are expected to attend the May 19 conference, including physicians, advanced practice healthcare providers, community educators, advocates and supporters of breastfeeding.    

Center for Family Strengthening provides non-profit fiscal management services, disbursement of payments to the lactation consultants, and with the Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition, tracks breastfeeding rates, outcomes and completion of reports.  

______________________________________________________________________

About Center for Family Strengthening (formerly SLO-CAP): In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. Center for Family Strengthening partners with family support organizations in SLO County to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority. To donate or learn more about Center for Family Strengthening go to www.cfsslo.org or call 805 543-6216.

About the Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition: The Cental Coast Breastfeeding Coalition brings together a collaborative team of breastfeeding advocates to network, share resources, accomplish projects, and provide breastfeeding education based on current research and best practice. Our members include private, hospital-based and county lactation consultants, as well as lactation educators and experienced breastfeeding mothers with a passion for helping others with breastfeeding. www.centralcoastbreastfeeding.com

 

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