June 25, 2021 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation today awarded $252,000 in grants to 11 nonprofit programs in San Diego County that will prevent abuse, provide mental and behavioral health services, support early interventions, address trauma and increase health equity for young children, ages 0 – 5, and their families.

“Supporting children and families who experience abuse or trauma and strengthening services that prevent trauma are important components of a healthy, thriving, resilient region,” said Katie Rast, Director of Community Impact at The San Diego Foundation. ”This care is critical for children in the earliest stages of life. We’re thankful to these regional partners who will equitably serve San Diego families with sensitivity and care.”

According to the December 2020 report Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma represent an urgent public health crisis with wide-reaching health and societal impacts.

Informed by this report, as well as by regional data and local stakeholders, ACEs are recognized as a challenge impacting many children, families and service providers that deliver care in San Diego County. Ensuring young children have opportunities to thrive and families have access to supportive services is crucial to nurturing early childhood development and care.

The Early Childhood Initiative at The San Diego Foundation builds upon a regional vision that supports both immediate impact initiatives and systems-level change in early education and care. The grants further The Foundation’s collaborative work with regional partners to strengthen families, increase health equity, bolster the regional workforce and support economic growth.

The grants include:

Diamond Educational Excellence Partnership (DEEP) – $17,000 grant to help strengthen the capacity of family childcare providers in Southeast San Diego and address the mental health needs of young children and their families through specialized trainings in trauma, and the role of protective factors in minimizing or preventing abuse, neglect and mental health issues

Family Health Centers of San Diego – $25,000 grant for healthy development of young children with multiple adverse childhood experiences, by supporting their parents in individual and group support sessions, to strengthen family bonds and resilience

Father Joe’s Villages – $25,000 grant to support the Therapeutic Childcare program that provides childcare, therapeutic interventions and developmental support for hundreds of children and parents experiencing homelessness and poverty

Hannah’s Family Center – $25,000 grant to provide structured education and skills to low-income parents and caregivers of young children, from prenatal development through age 3. The primary goal is to intervene early and treat the impacts of adverse childhood experiences to ensure children have a better path to physical, emotional and mental well-being and health

Home Start, Inc. – $25,000 grant to provide behavioral health services for young children who have been a victim of a crime or have experienced early childhood trauma

International Rescue Committee – $25,000 grant to provide intervention for refugee and immigrant families with young children who have experienced forced displacement, mitigating the effects of trauma, strengthening the child-caregiver relationship and increasing resilience

Miracle Babies – $15,000 grant to hire a licensed clinical social worker to support the mental health of low-income mothers with a child hospitalized in a San Diego County Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). This program will help address feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression to improve the mother’s mental health and ultimately their relationship and bonding with their developing child

Promises2Kids – $25,000 grant to hire a care coordinator and expedite developmental and mental health services for young children ages 0 – 5 in foster care who have complex needs and may be at-risk for losing their current placement if their needs go unaddressed

San Diego State University Research Foundation – $25,000 grant for the SDSU Healthy Early Years (HEY) Clinic early childhood mental health (ECMH) internship program to immediately expand services to Spanish-speaking, low-to-moderate income families in need of early childhood support and trauma treatment, while also allowing the clinic to provide high quality and in-depth training to enhance the bilingual ECMH workforce in San Diego

Voices for Children – $20,000 grant to help Voices for Children match more abused and neglected young children in the foster care system with court-appointed special advocates (CASAs) volunteers and staff advocates who address children’s past trauma by ensuring their access to educational, health and other supportive services

YMCA of San Diego County – $25,000 grant to provide early childhood mental health consultation and build the capacity of families to prevent, identify, treat and reduce the impact of mental health challenges among young children