Foster Family Agency Stabilization and Treatment (FFAST) Program

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Funding for a portion of our programs provided by the County of San Diego.

As San Diego’s oldest children’s nonprofit, our legacy is built on expertise and the implementation of evidence-based practices to reach the best possible outcomes. We empower over 1,000 children and families every day who are struggling with mental, emotional and behavioral health challenges. Children and families come to us from all walks of life, circumstances and backgrounds. Not only are we a trusted resource for children, teens and families – we are also a trusted partner of the County of San Diego, nonprofit and service agencies, hospitals, health professionals and school districts.


Our continuum of therapeutic programs is nationally accredited by The Joint Commission for its excellence in safety and quality of care. We are leading experts in providing effective therapeutic, educational, foster care and transition age services. Our services are accessible to all families, strength-based, child and family focused, trauma-informed and culturally relevant. The Foster Family Agency Stabilization and Treatment (FFAST) Program is the sole provider contracted with the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services to provide therapy and other supportive services to youth, ages 0 to 21, who live in Foster Family Agency (FFA) homes in San Diego County.

COMMITMENT TO SERVING FOSTER YOUTH & FAMILIES We were founded in 1887 to provide shelter, care and hope for orphaned youth. Although times have changed since our founding, we have remained committed to serving children and teens in the foster care system. Over the years, our FFAST Program has helped many youth achieve safety, well-being and permanence, while also providing the individualized tools and support systems needed for their families to thrive. Through our quality services, foster youth improve their overall functioning within their home, community and school environment. We are proud of our continued impact in supporting the stabilization of foster placements and family reunification.

The most helpful thing is knowing that there is a trained professional who is helping my child through their trauma and looking out for any red flags relating to mental health. It brings a lot of comfort to me and it has been really good to have someone my child can talk to. – Parent

We have received the best help we could come across with. Anytime there is an issue, our child’s therapist quickly helps me combat the situation. We are having great progress at home thanks to FFAST.

– Parent

My therapist was consistent and helped me all along the way. – Foster Youth


• Short-term treatment provided in the home or community • Short wait times, urgent referrals accepted, and emergency response available • Family voice and choice driven, and collaborative with Child and Family Team members

Counseling Services & Therapeutic Activities

• Comprehensive trauma-informed behavioral health assessments • Family and individual therapy provided in the home or community • Monthly Caregiver Support Group with child care provided • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) PRIDE skills and Positive Discipline (PD) • Intensive Care Coordination (ICC), Intensive Home Based Services (IHBS) and discharge planning • Psychiatry and medication management • Crisis intervention available 24/7

Community Resources & Collaboration

• Connection to FFAST Family Therapists, Family/Youth Support Partners, and Skills Trainers • Close coordination with Foster Family Agencies and Child Welfare Services • Connection to community programs and resources

IMPORTANCE OF ACTIVE FAMILY PARTICIPATION We understand that when a child needs help, the entire family needs support. Active family participation is important in order to achieve effective change during and beyond a child’s treatment. With active family participation, our FFAST team can ensure that a family’s individualized needs are met with the utmost personalized attention.

Active Family Participation Supports:

• Increased placement stability and permanence • Quicker response to treatment interventions • Improved child and caregiver well-being and satisfaction • Bonding between children and their caregivers • Improved family communication and problem solving • Caregivers learning how to best support their youth • Safety in the home The participation of a child’s caregiver is vital during the entire treatment process. Caregivers are expected to work with their family’s therapist, attend regular family therapy sessions, provide space for home sessions, and reinforce skills learned in therapy. Transition age youth are provided the option to invite significant individuals in their lives to be involved in their own treatment if caregivers are not available.

It took the stigma of therapy away for our whole family. Instead of last resort and shameful to go, it’s about something to help you

overcome challenges. – Parent

We’ve learned more from therapy than our kids. How to parent positively and how to respond to our kids. – Parent


They tell me why the kids are doing what they are doing. It’s like a life support. They have the calmest voices when I call. – Parent

Our years of experience as the exclusive provider of mental health services to youth in San Diego County FFA homes has shown us that the best outcomes happen when youth and their families are supported, informed, empowered, and connected. Families are encouraged to take advantage of the expertise of our Family Support Partners and Skills Trainers who have experience and training in navigating the foster care, juvenile justice, and special education systems. Our expert team members partner with caregivers and youth to help them understand these systems, advocate for themselves, strengthen their skills, and access needed community resources.

Benefits to Caregivers

• A trusted person to talk to about struggles and stress • Guidance in navigating and understanding systems (Child Welfare Services, Probation, Education, Behavioral Health Services) • Assistance with advocacy for self and child • Help in understanding the processes of reunification or adoption • Support with parenting skills (i.e. communication, discipline, understanding development, etc.) • Facilitate access to community resources (i.e. tutoring, after-school programs, housing, food, employment, parenting classes, support groups, etc.)

Benefits to Foster Youth

• One-on-one mentorship • Guidance through stressful life transitions • Support in meetings with social workers, therapists, and lawyers • Assistance with Independent Living Skills • Connection to community resources (i.e. camps, sports, support groups, etc.) • Opportunities to learn and practice coping skills in their home, school, and community

Just them being there to talk things out and listen to me helps me solve my issues. – Foster Youth

OUR TREATMENT APPROACH & PROCESS We understand that each child and family has their own needs and must be provided with personalized services for their identified strengths and goals. FFAST works with each family to develop individualized goals that will help support success during and after treatment. Depending on a family’s needs, services typically last 6 to 12 months. The length of treatment depends on progress made, active family participation, youth and family preferences, and recommendations by FFAST.

The staff at FFAST are very personable. It presents a fun place for my foster child and a quiet place. – Parent

Regular communication between the FFAST treatment team and a family allows for proper monitoring of progress and evaluation for continued services as needed.

Professional and caring staff

Initial Assessment & Treatment Planning (3-4 meetings total)

• FFAST Family Therapist meets with the family and child to assess their needs and set goals together • Recommendations are provided for the most appropriate type of therapy, frequency, and the family members who should be involved

Individual & Family Therapy (2-4 meetings per month)

• Active participation in therapy from youth and caregivers promotes significant growth and healing • Transition age youth who live independently are encouraged to invite their supports into therapy when appropriate (i.e. significant other, family member, their own child, etc.)

Child & Family Team (CFT) Meetings (quarterly or more often as needed)

• Meetings include youth, their family, formal supports (i.e. therapist, teachers, social workers, etc.) and informal supports chosen by the youth and family (i.e. extended family, clergy, coaches, etc.) • Discussions consist of significant supports coming together to share what is going well, voice concerns, plan for permanency, review services currently in place, and identify additional supports as needed A variety of therapeutic approaches are used based on the needs of each family and may include traditional talk therapy, play therapy, art, hands-on coaching in the community, and other non-traditional approaches that are effective and evidence-informed. We are dedicated to having youth and families feel comfortable, and actively engaged throughout their treatment process.

My child has made some great improvement in self-regulating and self-esteem, and her overall happiness. I’m very thankful for the support my whole family has received through FFAST. – Parent

INFORMATION: San Diego Center for Children Foster Family Agency Stabilization and Treatment (FFAST) Program 8825 Aero Drive, Suite 110 San Diego, CA 92123 Main Line: (858) 633-4115 After-Hours Crisis Line: (858) 569-2190

MISSION Protect the joy of childhood. Prevent emotional suffering. Incite change.

VISION Inspire a world where all children and families live joyful and healthy lives.

The San Diego Center for Children provides a range of services across 8 program sites and in hundreds of homes, schools and communities throughout the region.

San Diego Center for Children Main Campus 3002 Armstrong Street San Diego, CA 92111

For a phone directory of all programs or general assistance:

(858) 277-9550