CFS Programs

Slide show all programs

Promotores

Promotores

Putting the need of child abuse victims first

In 2018 we began a process of developing an accredited Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in San Luis Obispo County.

Our Goals

Our goals are to elevate the needs of child abuse victims and create systemic changes to reduce trauma to children and their families.

Sustainability

Funding is provided from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).

Comprehensive Team

The Child Advocacy Center team includes forensic investigation, forensic medical examination, treatment, and healing services.

Trauma Reduction

We recognize the critical need to minimize trauma to the child victims of abuse through improving internal processes of investigation, treatment and healing.

Road to Success

No single agency or entity can protect children.

Leadership

The CAC Steering Team meets quarterly to advance the SLO Child Advocacy Center towards accreditation.

Get Involved - Join Us

The SLO Child Advocacy Center path to accreditation:
• Coordinate with committed partners
• Collaborate to streamline services for child victims and their families
• Cooperate to create a shared understanding of protocols, data collection, and continuum of family services

San Luis Obispo

Lisa Fraser
Center for Family Strengthening Executive Director
Child Advocacy Center of San Luis Obispo County
805.459-4534
Lfraser@cfsslo.org

Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia, Ed.D.
Center for Family Strengthening Director of Programs
Child Advocacy Center of San Luis Obispo County 
805.305-4575
Erica@cfsslo.org

INFO Graphic

Please fill out the form below so we can contact you to schedule your consultation. Call directly if you prefer to set up your consultation over the phone..

What best describes you?

What can we help with?

I want to refer a family for services

The family needs include (please check all that apply):

The family lives in:

I want to schedule a training or presentation at my site

What can we help with?

I’m looking for support in responding to some challenges with my child(ren)

What can we help with?

I want to refer a family for services

The family needs include (please check all that apply):

The family lives in:

I want to schedule a training or presentation at my site

Preferred contact method

Newsletter Sign Up

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the mission of Center for Family Strengthening?

Center for Family Strengthening (CFS) is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. CFS manages primary prevention programs for families that provide parent education, community outreach, and healing services for child abuse victims. In addition CFS partners closely 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.

 

Center for Family Strengthening (AKA San Luis Obispo County Child Abuse Prevention Council) was founded by a group of concerned citizens and professionals.  In 1988 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors designated Center for Family Strengthening as the self-governing entity responsible for local efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect. To learn more about the purpose of Child Abuse Prevention Councils, visit Best Practice Guidelines for California’s Child Abuse Prevention Councils. Link: https://strategiesca.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/CAPC_Best_Practices_ADA_7.10.20.pdf

 

Center for Family Strengthening, a private non-profit 501(c)(3), receives 70% of its annual budget from individual donors, private grants, private foundations, corporations, and other community organizations with the remaining 30% coming from government contracts to provide critical family services to thousands in our community each year.   

How do I report suspected child abuse?

As a mandated reporter in San Luis Obispo County, if you suspect child abuse or neglect, YOU MUST:

  1. Immediately call Child Welfare Services (CWS) 24-Hour Hotline
    • 805-781-KIDS (5437) or 1-800-834-KIDS
  2. Complete and file a Suspected Child Abuse Report (SCAR) form # SS8572, located at CA Suspected Child Abuse Report (SCAR) Form 8572. The Social Worker you speak with when calling the CWS hotline will inform you where to fax/email the SCAR form.
  3. Retain a legible copy of the SCAR Report
  4. YOU are responsible for making this report. DO NOT ALLOW your supervisor/principal to make the report for you or assume because another co-worker has some of the same information that they will make the report.
  5. Do not attempt to investigate, conduct interviews or interfere with the information you hold.
  6. Remember that you are to report SUSPECTED abuse – you are not required to have witnessed or have complete proof of the incident. You are obligated by law to report what you observe or what you are told that caused suspicion the child is being physically, sexually or emotionally abused or neglected. When in doubt, call CWS and get their input about the scope of your report.

    Learn more here, https://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Social-Services/Mandated-Reporter.aspx

Who is a mandated reporter?

Mandated reporters are persons who, as a result of their profession, are more likely to be aware of abuse or neglect of children, persons with disabilities, or elders. Being a mandated reporter means that by law you must report any suspected abuse of a child, dependent adult or elder immediately to the county Adult Protective Services (APS) or Child Welfare Services (CWS). Learn more here, https://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Social-Services/Mandated-Reporter.aspx

How do I become a Mandated Reporter?

A Mandated Reporter training will provide the following:

  • Learn how to report incidents of suspected child abuse
  • Understand what occurs after a report,
  • Gain knowledge about the Child Welfare Services system and resources for families in the community.
  • An increased understanding of trauma and resilience
  • Expanded awareness of SLO County community-based resources
  • Knowledge of family strengthening approaches and practices

For information about the next Mandated Reporter Training or to schedule a presentation or training for your site, please contact us at 805-543-6216 or support@cfsslo.org.

How does child abuse impact children, families and communities?

Child maltreatment is a persistent problem within San Luis Obispo County. Although it is a hidden social ill, its impact is significant. Child maltreatment impacts not just the child, but the family, the community, and society at large. In California, as many as one out of every 19 children is suspected of being maltreated. The impact of maltreatment not only morally degrades our society, it significantly hurts our economy. In fact, the physical, mental, and emotional effects of maltreatment persist long after child maltreatment occurs, and result in ongoing costs to every sector of California.

The cumulative financial impact to San Luis Obispo County for the 528 verified survivors of maltreatment in 2019 is $195,000,000. Though these costs are accrued over the course of the victim’s life, the community will continue to occur the same cost each year until we are able to reduce and ultimately end child abuse.

CHILD WELFARE – $36,239,873
Victims may require intervention services, foster care, and counseling services.

EDUCATION – $8,473,715
Maltreated children are 77 percent more likely to require special education.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE – $4,325,605
Maltreated children are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as juveniles, and 28 percent more likely to have an adult criminal record.

HEALTHCARE – $49,776,931
Victims may require hospital care, mental health services, and other medical services during childhood, and have a higher incidence of physical and mental health issues throughout adulthood.

LIFETIME PRODUCTIVITY – $96,002,540
Victims are more likely to be unemployed and rely on public assistance that leads to diminished earning potential.

FATALITY – $0
Accounts for the victims’ lost wages and healthcare costs.

 

What is child maltreatment?

Why does child abuse occur? Although not all causes of child abuse and neglect are known, a significant body of research has identified several risk factors and protective factors associated with child abuse. Studies also have shown that when there are multiple risk factors present, the risk is greater. For example, lack of preparation or knowledge of child development.  Parents may lack an understanding of their children’s developmental stages and hold unreasonable expectations for their abilities. They also may be unaware of alternatives to corporal punishment or how to appropriately discipline their children at different ages. Parents also may lack knowledge of the health, hygiene, and nutritional needs of their children.

These circumstances, combined with the inherent challenges of raising children, can result in otherwise well-intentioned parents causing their children harm or neglecting their needs. Critical issues surrounding parenting, financial or other environmental stressors (substance abuse) difficulty in relationships, and depression or other mental health problems can all lead to abusive or neglectful behavior. 

Neglect occurs when parents are unable or unwilling to provide for basic needs, such as food, shelter, medical care, educational needs, and emotional needs, of a child. We all have a role to play in building strong communities in which families and children are valued and supported. It is in these kinds of communities that children are safest from abuse and neglect. 

The Center for the Study of Social Policy, https://cssp.org/our-work/project/strengthening-families/, has developed the “Five Protective Factors” which can help individuals better understands the role they can play in child abuse and neglect prevention.

1) Parental Resilience: The ability to cope and bounce back from challenges.
2) Social Connections: Friends, family, neighbors, and others who provide emotional support and assistance.
3) Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Accurate information about raising children and appropriate expectations for their behavior.
4) Concrete Support in Times of Need:  Being able to cover day-to-day expensed and unexpected costs that come from time to time, access to supports such as health services, counseling, and other services
5) Children’s Social and Emotional Development: A child’s ability to interact positively with others and communicate his or her emotions effectively. 

How do your programs prevent child abuse and neglect?

Isolation, intense stress, lack of basic needs and lack of healthy, supportive community are some of the primary risk factors that can lead to child maltreatment.

All CFS programs build the Five Protective Factors in families. Though parent education, increasing connection to community resources, providing support during and after times of crisis, and advocating for families with other service providers, we mitigate the risk factors the increase the chance for abuse and neglect.

The Center for the Study of Social Policy, https://cssp.org/our-work/project/strengthening-families/, has developed the “Five Protective Factors” which can help individuals better understands the role they can play in child abuse and neglect prevention.

1) Parental Resilience: The ability to cope and bounce back from challenges.
2) Social Connections: Friends, family, neighbors, and others who provide emotional support and assistance.
3) Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Accurate information about raising children and appropriate expectations for their behavior.
4) Concrete Support in Times of Need:  Being able to cover day-to-day expensed and unexpected costs that come from time to time, access to supports such as health services, counseling, and other services
5) Children’s Social and Emotional Development: A child’s ability to interact positively with others and communicate his or her emotions effectively. 

Research shows that when these Protective Factors are present families are better able to cope in tough times, demonstrate efficacy in accessing resources, recover from adversity with greater ease, and have an increased understanding of their children’s needs.

How do I donate to a program?

Your donations can be designated to a particular program or donated as an unrestricted gift. To learn more about how to contribute to a Center for Family Strengthening program visit [Click Here] or call 805 543-6216. 

How do I contact you for support services, or to refer a family?

Phone: (805) 543-6216
Email: support@cfsslo.org  [Contact form Link]
Address: 3480 South Higuera, Suite 100, San Luis Obispo 93401