Local Agencies and Support Groups

While there is an abundance of agencies and support groups offering services for children in San Diego, California, deciding which is best for a specific child is a lot like putting together a puzzle or navigating through a maze.

To guide parents and professionals alike, we have listed names of agencies and groups by the services they offer, specifically: developmental and educational services, physical, mental and dental health care agencies, support and advocacy groups, and family support and child protection programs. Each of the below agencies has provided their history/mission statement, services offered, eligibility criteria, any specifics for children in foster care, and ways for families to find out more information.

How Kids Develop invites you to provide your feedback about our website and provide us with information about resources we may not know about by contacting us.

Developmental and Educational Services

Physical, Mental and Dental Health Care Agencies

Support and Advocacy Groups

Family Support and Child Protection Programs



California Early Start


California Early Start is a federally funded program through Part-C of the Education Code to insure infants and toddlers with, or at risk for, developmental delay and their families receive coordinated intervention services in a timely manner to improve a child's developmental outcomes. Its mission is to establish a statewide, coordinated, interagency system for infants and toddlers and their families, based on existing resources and innovative approaches to comprehensive, family-focused early intervention services.


In California, eligible infants and toddlers (birth to 36 months) include:

  • Infants and toddlers with delay in at least one area of development,
  • Infants and toddlers with established conditions known to cause disability or delay, and
  • Infants and toddlers who are at high risk of experiencing developmental disability.


There is a wide range of early intervention services available. These services may be provided by a number of agencies in the San Diego area. These services may include:

  • Assistive technology
  • Audiology and hearing services
  • Family training, counseling, home visits
  • Health services
  • Medical services for diagnostic/evaluation purposes only
  • Nursing services
  • Nutrition services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological services
  • Respite services
  • Service coordination (case management)
  • Social work services
  • Special instruction
  • Speech-language services
  • Transportation and related costs
  • Vision Services

Additional services that the California Early Start program may help a family access if needed include:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • In-home Support Services (IHSS)
  • Medical
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
  • California Children's Services (CCS)
  • Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP)
  • Healthy Families
  • Early Head Start/Head Start
  • Parenting classes




Seven agencies comprise the key partners for the California Early Start program in the San Diego area. These agencies include:

You may contact any of these agencies for more information or contact the Early Start Program at (800) 515-2229 or earlystart@dds.ca.gov.


Back to list



Developmental Services, Rady Children's Hospital San Diego


Rady Children's Hospital Developmental Services' mission is to restore, sustain, and enhance the health and developmental potential of children. Our vision is to create a community where children with delays, disabilities, and other special needs reach their full developmental potential and families feel supported and empowered to be teachers, therapists and advocates.

All children, birth to 18-years, are eligible for services. Some of these services are covered by insurance plans, including MediCal

Learn more about the services offered by clicking on the department links below.

Autism Discovery Institute (ADI)
Alexa's PLAYC (Child Care Center)
Children's Care Connection (C3)
Developmental Screening and Enhancement Project (DSEP)
Developmental Evaluation Clinic (DEC)
Feeding Team
High Risk Infant Program (HRI)
Occupational Therapy
Physical Therapy
Speech-Language Pathology

Other specific programs and services can be found at www.rchsd.org/ourcare/programsservices/

Autism Discovery Institute

Autism Discovery Institute
3685 Kearny Villa Rd.
San Diego, CA 92123

Developmental Evaluation Clinic

Rady Children's Main Campus
8010 Frost Street, Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 966-5817

Rady Children's Solana Beach Center
667 San Rodolfo Dr., Suite 126
Solana Beach, CA 92075
(858) 793-9591

Rady Children's North County Center
3605 Vista Way
Oceanside, CA 92056
(760) 758-1620

Audiology, Occupational Therapy,
Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology

Rady Children's Main Campus
8010 Frost Street, Suite 100 & 200
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 966-5817

Rady Children's Solana Beach Center
667 San Rodolfo Dr., Suite 126
Solana Beach, CA 92075
(858) 793-9591

Rady Children's North County Center
3605 Vista Way
Oceanside, CA 92056
(760) 758-1620

Children's Care Connection (C3)

C3 Oceanside Center
3605 Vista Way, Bldg B, Suite 201
Oceanside, CA 92056
(858) 966-8014

Rady Children's Main Center
3020 Children's Way, Bldg 23
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 966-8931

C3 South Bay Center
1261 3rd Ave, Suite D
Chula Vista, CA 91911
(858) 966-8008

Polinsky Children's Center Medical Clinic

9400 Ruffin Court, Building B
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 514-5644

Autism and Brain Development Research Laboratory
(research only)

8110 La Jolla Shores Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 551-7925

Website: www.rchsd.org/ourcare/programsservices/

Back to List


Infant Education Programs


The Infant Education Programs are public special education programs that offer services to infants and toddlers with special needs and their families as part of California Early Start. Services are offered at no cost to the families.

There are five Infant Educational Programs in the San Diego area. Each services different regions in the area. Each also offers different types of services, specifically school-based and/or home-based interventions.

If you are concerned about your infant or toddler's development, you can refer your child directly to an Early Start program or you can have your child's physician or another professional make the referral for you. Generally, children ages birth to three who are showing a significant delay in at least one area of development or have a condition with a known probability of causing a disability or delay may be eligible. An evaluation and assessment by an Early Start Program determines eligibility for services.

Once eligibility has been determined, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is developed by a team that includes the family and may include early intervention staff from San Diego Regional Center, and other California Early Start agencies. The plan defines outcomes and services that address the family's home, neighborhood and community in English or Spanish, with interpreters available to families who speak other languages.

Infants or toddlers may qualify for:

  • school-based services (24-36 months of age)
  • home-based services (birth to 3 years of age)
  • behavioral interventions
  • consultation services in speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and audiology.



There are five Infant Programs in San Diego County. Specifically, each program has one or more San Diego regions it serves. Please contact the Infant Program in your region.

Alcott Infant Program

4680 Hidalgo Avenue
San Diego, CA 92117
Region served: San Diego City Schools

HOPE Infant Program
Referral Desk Only
(760) 736-6344
Regions served: North Costal, North Inland, South Bay, and Poway

La Mesa/Spring Valley
Spring Valley Elementary
Early Start Program, Room 15
3845 Spring Drive
Spring Valley, CA 91977
Regions served: La Mesa and Spring Valley

Mailing Address Only
PO BOX 578
Lakeside, CA 92040
Regions served: Lakeside and Santee

Sevick Center
1609 E. Madison Avenue
El Cajon, CA 92019-1046
Regions served: Cajon Valley and Mnt Empire

Back to List


San Diego County Office of Special Education


In the United States, education is a right, an entitlement. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) was passed by large majorities in Congress in 1975. Under PL 94-142, individual evaluations are required for every child receiving special education. The basic evaluation team consists of the child's teacher, a representative of special education, one or both parents, and other individuals at the discretion of parents or agencies, as well as the child when appropriate.

The major service to be provided under PL 94-142 and state laws is special education. However, the law also calls for the provision of "related services" needed by the student to benefit from special education.

Passed in 1986, PL 99-457 extends the mandate for special education services down to age three, thus reinforcing the importance of preschool intervention programs for children identified has having developmental disabilities.
In 1997, the Individuals with Disabilities Act was passed. It was amended in 2004.

Children less than 3 years of age who are determined to demonstrate 33% developmental delay in one area or 25% delay in two or more areas are eligible for services. Evaluations are coordinated at the district level.

Children 3 years of age and older must be found to meet state guidelines for special education services.

Special day classes are available for children determined to be severely handicapped. For children with mild deficits or specific delays, itinerant services, (i.e. speech therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive PE, physical therapy, rehabilitation, resource specialist) or small group instruction is provided. Available services can vary by district; we recommend contacting the principal or special education coordinator where a child lives for more details.


San Diego County Office of Education
Director, Special Education
6401 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92111

East County SELPA
924 East Main Street
El Cajon, CA 92121
Ph: (619) 590-3920
Fx: (619) 588-2495

North Coastal SELPA
570 Rancheros Drive
San Marcos, CA 92069
Ph: (760) 471-8208
Fx: (760) 471-2008

North Inland SELPA
P.O. Box 2709
Ramona, CA 92065
Ph: (760) 788-4671
Fx: (760) 788-4681

Poway Unified School District SELPA
13626 Twin Peaks Road
Poway, CA 92064-3098
Ph: (858) 668-4135
Fx: (858) 748-1791

San Diego Unified School District SELPA
Ph: (619) 725-7650

South County SELPA
800 National City Blvd. #202
National City, CA 91950
Ph: (619) 470-5224
Fx: (619) 470-5266

Website: http://www.sdcoe.net/ssp/speced/?loc=selpas&m=1

Back to List



Head Start and Early Head Start


The Head Start-Early Head Start Program is the most successful federal program for children and their families ever created. It began in 1965 and was designed to provide children from low-income families with comprehensive services to meet their educational needs. The Head Start Program currently serves over 10,000,000 children nationwide and over 900,000 children in California. The local San Diego County Head Start Program serves over 12,000 children and is operated by two community based/ non-profit organizations, Neighborhood House Association and Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee (MAAC) Project.

Low-income children, foster care children and children with special needs who are six weeks to five years old and their families are eligible to receive services from the Head Start Program.

Head Start Program provides low-income, foster care and special-needs children a chance to grow up happy, healthy and confident by providing them with the educational, social, medical, psychological and nutritional services they need. In addition, the Early Head Start program provides the same services for children six weeks to three years old as well as providing additional services for their pregnant and post-partum mothers. Head Start also offers a variety of classes and workshops for parents, including parenting and nutrition, as well as teaching developmentally appropriate activities that parents can do with their children at home. Some parents may receive employment training or may be tutored in English; others may increase their reading skills. Assistance is also available for parents interested in obtaining additional educational opportunities including college attendance.

Head Start emphasizes the importance of early identification of health problems. Since many preschool children of low-income families have never seen a doctor or dentist, Head Start provides every child with a comprehensive health care program, including medical, dental, mental health, and nutritional services.

Medical and Dental

Head Start children receive a complete examination, including dental exam and vision screening and hearing tests, identification of handicapping conditions, immunizations, and a dental exam. Follow-up treatment is provided for identified health problems.

Head Start children are served a minimum of one hot meal and snack each day. A trained nutritionist supervises the nutritional activities of each Head Start Center and helps the staff identify the nutritional needs of the children. The nutritionist plans an educational program to teach parents how to select health foods and prepare well-balanced meals, and how to obtain food stamps and other community assistance when needed by the family.

Mental Health
Head Start recognizes the importance of providing mental health and psychological services to children of low-income families, to encourage their emotional and social development. A mental health professional must be available to every Head Start program to provide mental health training to staff and parents and to make them aware of the need for early attention to the special problems of children.

Parent Involvement

Head Start promotes, the parents’ first responsibility is to be the primary educators of their children. Parents are also encouraged to have an active voice in setting the goals and direction for the Program.

Family Partnerships
Some of the activities that the social services staff use to assist families to meet their needs are: community outreach, referrals, families needs assessments, providing information about available community resources and how to obtain and use them, recruitment and enrollment of children, and emergency assistance and/or crisis intervention.

All foster care children who are six weeks to five years old are automatically eligible for the Head Start Program, regardless of the foster family’s income.

Barbara Y. Fielding
Executive Vice President, Children, Youth & Family Services
Neighborhood House Association
5660 Copley Drive
San Diego, CA 92111
Ph: (858) 715-2642
Website: www.sandiegoheadstart.org

Rebecca Kirkpatrick
Social Services Manager Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee (MAAC)
800 Los Vallecitos, Suite J
San Marcos, CA 92069
Ph: (760) 471-4210
Area Served:

  • San Marcos
  • Oceanside
  • Vista
  • Rincon
  • Fallbrook
  • Valley Center
  • Camp Pendleton

Back to List



San Diego Regional Center


The San Diego Regional Center is one of 21 Regional Centers for persons with developmental disabilities in the State of California. In 1969, new legislation (The Lanterman Mental Retardation Act) became effective. This new act established the statewide Regional Center network.

Legislative changes from 1969 through the present expanded the population served by Regional Centers to include persons with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, or other handicapping conditions similar to mental retardation. It serves people living within the geographic boundaries of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

San Diego Regional Center also administers intervention programs for children with or at risk for developmental delay who are ages birth to 36 months (see California Early Start for more information).

Any resident of San Diego or Imperial Counties believed to have a development disability may receive intake services through the San Diego Regional Center. Formal application must be made by an applicant, parent, conservator, or guardian.

In order to be considered eligible, an applicant must meet the Regional Center's definition of developmental disability. The Regional Center defines a "development disability" as a disability that is attributable to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, or other conditions similar to mental retardation that require treatment similar to that required by mentally retarded individuals.

The disability must:

  • Originate before age 18;
  • Be likely to continue indefinitely;
  • Constitute a substantial handicap for the individual as defined below.


    • "Substantial Handicap" describes a condition, which results in a major impairment of cognitive and/or social functioning. Moreover, a substantial handicap represents a condition of sufficient impairment to require interdisciplinary planning and coordination of special or generic services to assist the individual in achieving maximum potential.


    • Since an individual's cognitive and/or social functioning are multifaceted, the existence of a major impairment is determined through an assessment which addresses aspects of functioning including, but not limited to:


      • Communication skills
      • Learning
      • Self-care
      • Mobility
      • Self-direction
      • Capacity for independent living
      • Economic self-sufficiency

The disability cannot include handicapping conditions that are:

  • Solely psychiatric disorders where there is impaired intellect or social functioning which originated as a result of the psychiatric disorder or treatment given for such a disorder.
  • Solely learning disabilities.
  • Solely physical in nature (such as hearing loss, mild cerebral palsy, vision impairment, etc.).


The San Diego Regional Center provides a variety of services to persons with development disabilities, their families, and the community.

Individual Program Plan (IPP) / Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)

After an individual is found to be eligible for Regional Center services and needs are identified, a written plan is formulated. This plan is called the Individual Program Plan (IPP). It includes goals and objectives designed to meet consumer needs.

An Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a family focused outcome oriented plan, which builds upon the family's natural supports and supplements with existing services as needed.

Case Management Services
The primary goal of the San Diego Regional Center is to provide support services that allow the consumer to live at home whenever possible. To achieve this goal, service coordinators assist the consumer in securing needed services through referral or purchase, by coordinating service programs, and by advocating for provision of services through other community agencies. Similar services are also provided in those instances in which the consumer resides in a residential facility or state hospital.


To apply, call San Diego Regional Center's Intake Unit at 858-576-2938.

Residents of Imperial County apply for services at the Regional Center office in Imperial at 760-355-8383.

Main Office
4355 Ruffin Road, Suite 204
San Diego, CA 92123-1648
Ph: (858) 576-2996

Website: www.sdrc.org

Back to List



San Diego State University Communications Clinic


The SDSU Communications Clinic is a full-range facility providing services to individuals of all age groups with speech-language and audiological concerns. The Clinic functions as a training program for graduate students who provide all services and are directly supervised by University faculty certified by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) and licensed by the state of California. Clinic sessions are held each semester: fall, spring, and summer. The fall and spring semesters are approximately 12-13 weeks, with summer sessions being six weeks.

All individuals with speech-language and audiological concerns.

Fees vary for services provided and a sliding scale fee program is available upon request and is determined by financial need. Speech-language assessments are required prior to receiving intervention services, if no other evaluation has been done. Speech-language intervention (therapy) services are scheduled weekly for the entire semester. Initial hearing testing is available.

Also offered is the Assistive Device Assessment Program, which provides a team assessment service for communicative needs of persons with severe communication problems.


SDSU Communications Clinic
Department of Communicative Disorders
San Diego State University
6330 Alvarado Court, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92120-4917
Ph: (619) 594-7747
Fx: (619) 594-7790

Back to List



Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders


The San Diego Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders is a unique program which provides speech and language evaluation, screening and therapy services to children 18 months to 21 years of age.

The purpose of the Scottish Rite Clinic is to serve as many children in the San Diego area whose primary presenting problem is a speech and language disorder. In keeping with the statewide Scottish Rite guidelines, we are unable to see children with a diagnosis of Mental Retardation, Deafness, Cerebral Palsy or Autism.

We do not reduplicate services. Therefore, if a child is being seen for therapy individually twice a week 40-60 minutes or in a group of three or fewer for at least 60 minutes they would not qualify for services.

All children with questionable cognitive skills, diagnosis of Developmental Delay and/or diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Delay (PDD) will be required to present evidence of at least low-average non-verbal intelligence. The evaluation must include at least one quantitative measure of nonverbal intelligence.

Whenever there is a question about the appropriateness of therapy here, the child's readiness for therapy, or prognosis for success, children will be enrolled in a three-month trial period. If significant progress is made during this period, therapy will be continued as deemed appropriate by the treating therapist.

The Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders provides complete speech and language evaluations, screenings and intensive one on one speech and language therapy. Services are typically rendered for a maximum of eighteen months.

The clinic is full-staffed with 3 speech-language therapists. The services provided are free of charge, while donations help to run the clinic. Due to this unique service provided there is a waiting list of several weeks.


San Diego Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders
1895 Camino Del Rio South
San Diego, CA 92108
Ph: (619) 291-2506

Back to List




Anderson Center for Dental Care, Rady Children's Hospital San Diego

To restore, sustain, and enhance the dental health of children, especially those with disabilities or extensive early childhood cavities, through education, increased access to care, treatment and advocacy. The Center is not a physical setting but rather consists of several specific programs, affiliated dental providers and services.

Treatment is based on the availability of funds. Criteria includes:

  • Early childhood cavities/baby bottle tooth decay, or has a severely disabling medical condition and requires dental care (will need a referral or parent's statement)
  • No dental coverage to pay for the cost of treatment (parent's statement regarding dental and medical coverage
  • Under 21 years of age
  • Legal resident of San Diego or Imperial Counties
  • Must have a family annual income of less than $40,000 state adjusted gross income
  • Special consideration may be granted to families whose expected cost of medical care for the year may exceed 20% of their state adjusted gross income (tax return and itemized medical bills).

Supporting documentation includes proof of residence (utility bill), child social security, and copy of last year income tax or 4-6 current consecutive pay stubs.


  • Oral health education for families and the community
  • Education on oral health for health professionals
  • Funding for dental treatment on a limited basis for children who meet the eligibility criteria
  • Advocacy to increase access to care



Anderson Center
Ph: (858) 576-1700 x 4806

For help in finding a dentist, a dentist who accepts Denti-Cal, or for information on the Anderson Center Dental Treatment Funding, contact Children's Healthcare Referral at (800) 788-9029

Back to List



California Children's Services

The California Children's Services (CCS) goal is to assure that children with physically handicapping conditions receive necessary and appropriate health care to treat their eligible conditions at the appropriate time and place by CCS-paneled health care practitioners. The program performs these assurance functions by defining those handicapping conditions requiring multi-specialty, multidisciplinary care, and by determining program eligibility. The program also performs other services, which usually include:

  • assessing the qualifications of and selecting the most appropriate providers and site for care,
  • managing cases,
  • determining the appropriateness of treatment plans, and
  • authorizing and funding the services.

Frequently, working with families and children with multiple problems may identify the needs for extended services in the home and coordination with other agencies.


  • Persons under the age of 21,
  • Residents of California,
  • Whose family meets certain income requirements, and
  • Who have CCS-eligible medical conditions, which may include:
    • congenital anomalies
    • neoplasms
    • circulatory conditions involving the heart, blood vessels and lymphatic system
    • certain diseases, such as infectious and parasitic diseases, endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases, diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs, nervous system and sense organs, respiratory, genitourinary and digestive systems, and disfiguring/disabling diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, or musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
    • serious accidents, poisoning, violence, and immunization reactions

CCS offers a full range of diagnostic and treatment services including:

  • Diagnostic evaluations for children with suspected eligible physically handicapping conditions
  • Treatment services for eligible conditions including medical and surgical care, hospital and pharmaceuticals, physical and occupational therapy, laboratory tests, X-rays, durable medical equipment and medical supplies, and other needed services
  • High-risk infant follow-up
  • Medical case management, including referral to specialists and treatment centers and follow-up
  • HIV Children Program for children/youth at risk for HIV infection
  • Medical therapy services for children with eligible conditions in medical therapy units (MTUs) at school sites



California Children's Services
6160 Mission Gorge Road
San Diego, CA 92120
Ph: (619) 528-4000
Fx: (619) 528-4087
Fx: (619) 528-4097

Website: http://dhs.ca.gov/pcfh/cms/ccs/

Back to List



Child Health and Disability Prevention Program

Child Health and Disability Prevention Program (CHDP) is a preventive health program serving California's children and youth. CHDP makes early preventive health care available to eligible children.

MediCal Eligible Children and Youth
All California MediCal recipients from birth to age 21 are eligible for health assessments based on the following schedule:

  • 2 years and under: under 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 2 years
  • Over 2 years: 3 years, 4-5 years, 6-8 years, 9-12 years, 13-16 years, 17-20 years

Non MediCal Eligible Children and Youth

CHDP provides periodic preventive health services to non-Medi-Cal eligible children and youth from birth to age 19 from low-income families. Eligible children and teens can receive health assessments based on the same schedule as MediCal eligible children and youth.

Services range from preventive health services to case management and include CHDP school-required health assessments for low-income children.

Health Assessments
CHDP offers a full range of health assessment services including:

  • Health and developmental history
  • Physical examination
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Immunizations
  • Dental assessment
  • Vision testing
  • Hearing testing
  • Lead testing
  • Some laboratory tests (e.g., tuberculin, sickle cell, urinalysis, hemoglobin/hematocrit, Pap smears)
  • Health education and anticipatory guidance

Case Management

In addition to health assessment services, the CHDP Program will assist families in obtaining diagnostic and treatment services.

CHDP School-Required Health Assessments
By law, all children entering the first grade are required to have either a certificate of a CHDP health examination or a waiver on file at the school in which they enroll. The CHDP Program works with city and county school districts to meet this requirement.

CHDP has a special unit focused on services to children in foster care. The nurses in the CHDP foster care provide the following:

  • Help foster care givers find doctors and dentists to see their children
  • Follow up on diagnosed health and developmental problems
  • Compile a health history for the children
  • Teach and advise social workers and foster caregivers about health issues

These nurses may be contacted at (619) 692-8489 or (619) 692-8488.

Child Health and Disability Prevention Program
County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency
Office of Public Health
3851 Rosecrans Street
PO Box 85222
San Diego, CA 92186-5222
Ph: (619) 692-8428; (800) 675-2229

Website: http://www2.sdcounty.ca.gov/hhsa/ServiceDetails.asp?ServiceID=364

Back to List



CHDP-Treatment Reimbursement Program

Child Health and Disability Prevention Program (CHDP) also offers a program called CHDP-Treatment Reimbursement Program (CHDP-TR). CHDP-TR provides reimbursement for diagnosis and treatment of certain new, undiagnosed or untreated conditions detected during CHDP screening exams. The program is not a source of comprehensive health care for children and is the provider of last resort.

Children from 0-18 years (under 19 years) who reside in San Diego County and who meet the income standard as self-reported on the CHDP Eligibility Information Form DHS 4073 [200% or less of the federal poverty (FPL) level] and who are:

  • Not eligible for MediCal without a share-of-cost and Healthy Families Program OR
  • Eligible for MediCal with a share-of-cost, but elect CHDP-TR coverage instead of MediCal, AND
  • Not eligible for treatment from another source such as California Children's Services, private insurance, Head Start, or another public program.


Services include:

  • Primary care office visits
  • Dental services for children such as dental examinations, prophylaxis, amalgams, sealants, extractions, composites
  • Basic lab and x-rays
  • Pharmacy services
  • Ophthalmology or optometry evaluation for abnormal vision
  • Flouride varnishes

Prior authorization is necessary for the following services:

  • Specialty provider visits, i.e. cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, ophthalmology, etc.
  • All ancillary medical services including speech, audiology, nutrition, and podiatry
  • Contact lenses or replacement of eyeglasses
  • Outpatient surgery and other special procedures with or without general anesthesia


CHDP has a special unit focused on services to children in foster care. The nurses in the CHDP foster care provide the following:

  • Help foster care givers find doctors and dentists to see their children
  • Follow up on diagnosed health and developmental problems
  • Compile a health history for the children
  • Teach and advise social workers and foster caregivers about health issues

These nurses may be contacted at 619-694-5722, 619-694-5427, or 619-694-5728.

County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency
Public Health Services
3851 Rosecrans Street
PO Box 85222
San Diego, CA 92186-5222
Ph: (619) 692-8428; (800) 675-2229.

Back to List



Family Health Centers of San Diego

For over 30 years, Family Health enters of San Diego, a federally funded, non-profit community health center previously known as the Chicano Community Clinic has been providing comprehensive primary care services to its low-income, inner-city population.

Family Health Centers of San Diego provides comprehensive, accessible, quality health care services to residents and businesses of San Diego and the surrounding region. Services are affordable for all income levels, with a special commitment to low income/medically underserved individuals.

Any child with a suspected need of the following services may be referred to the Family Health Centers of San Diego. Once referred, the child will be evaluated and, if needed, services will be initiated.

Speech/Language Pathology

Various services are provided to children who exhibit possible speech and language/communication deficits. Bilingual speech/language pathologists offer services to patients presenting with a variety of conditions, including: articulation and phonology, language, voice, fluency (stuttering), hearing loss, learning disability, organic problems (e.g., cleft palate), autism, communication delay/disorders related to cerebral palsy, developmental delay, Down Syndrome, and other syndromes.

Services include:

  • Speech/language screenings
  • Speech/language evaluations
  • Speech/language therapy, individual or in a group

Early Intervention
Early intervention is a service designed to optimize early development in infants and toddlers. Trained specialists in early childhood development offer families information and support with: Infant development, global information about parenting issues, age appropriate toys, pre-language stimulation, basic infant nutrition, and in-home developmental activities.

Population served:

  • Infants and toddlers (0-3 years)
  • Premature infants
  • Children with an identified disability

Services include:

  • Developmental assessment
  • One-on-one developmental intervention
  • Case management

Toddler School Program

This center based program offers a variety of specialized services, including an early childhood developmental stimulation program for children ages 22 months to 36 months (children attend with their parents twice a week); consultation services by specialists, and other services for the family, as needed. The Toddler School Program also offers:

  • Consultation Services including: speech pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy consultation. Some children may receive additional one-on-one services from specific consultants, as authorized by the Regional Center.
  • Home Visitation Services: Early Intervention Specialists (Home Visitors) will assist the family in assessing the home environment and facilitate appropriate changes. They will also provide parents with developmental information that is appropriate to their child including techniques for stimulation of missing or emerging developmental skills, while facilitating carryover of skills practiced in the classroom.
  • Services for Families: Parents will have the opportunity to participate in various activities including: parenting for toddler classes and speech/language development classes. Parents will also be expected to observe and participate in classroom activities to be able to facilitate these activities at home.

Pediatric Physical Therapy

In addition to early intervention services, some children require physical therapy to foster and enhance their gross motor development. Pediatric physical therapy is available to children, ages 0-21, with an identified disability or delay in development.

The Pediatric Physical Therapist facilitates improved coordination of the large muscles of the body and provides families information and support with the following:

  • Age appropriate gross motor development
  • In home motor development activities
  • Parental education in diagnosed disability
  • Appropriate toys
  • Positioning

Services include:

  • Physical therapy evaluation and goal setting
  • One-on-one neurodevelopmental and sensory integration interventions
  • Case management and appropriate referrals
  • Obtaining appropriate mobility equipment (i.e., bracing, walkers, wheelchairs, standers, etc.)
  • Interdisciplinary team treatment with speech and language pathologist, early interventionists, audiologists,psychologists/counselors


If a child is suspected of a hearing loss, the child should be seen by an audiologist immediately. Immediate attention is critical to ensure both hearing health and proper speech and language development. Children can be evaluated at any age, including newborn infants.

Services include:

  • Audiological screenings
  • Audiological evaluations (6 months-old through adults)
  • Ear, nose, and throat services



Susan Nevitt, M.A., CCC-Sp.
Director of Ancillary Services
Family Health Centers of San Diego
Logan Heights Family Health Center
1809 National Avenue
San Diego, CA 92113
Ph: (619) 515-2511

Website: www.fhcsd.org

Back to List


Healthy Families (State Child Health Insurance Program)

Partially funded by a federal block grant, the Healthy Families Program provides health insurance coverage for California's estimated 580,000 children ages birth through 18-years who fall within 100-250 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). The type of coverage offered is similar to that currently offered through most employer-sponsored plans.

To qualify for participation, families are required to meet basic requirements, including:

  • Income must be between 100 and 250 percent of the FPL
  • Must not be eligible for no cost MediCal coverage; and
  • Must not have been covered by an employer-sponsored insurance policy for the previous 90 days.


The Healthy Families Program benefits package includes:

  • Coverage for medically necessary hospitalization
  • Physician, medical and surgical services
  • Inpatient and outpatient services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Well-baby and well-child care services
  • Mental health services
  • Occupational, physical and speech therapies
  • Laboratory and X-ray services
  • Dental benefits, including preventive and diagnostic services
  • Vision-related coverage including annual exams and eyeglasses
  • Healthy Families will coordinate mental health services among participating health plans and counties for enrolled children will special mental health needs

All families participating in the Healthy Families Program pay monthly premiums.


Healthy Families/Managed Risk MediCal Insurance Board (MRMIB)
Ph: (888) 747-1222

Website: www.healthyfamilies.ca.gov

The California Managed Risk MediCal Insurance Board (MRMIB)
1000 G Street, Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95814
Ph: (916) 324-4695
Fx: (916) 324-4878

Back to List




Healthy San Diego is the project name for the coordination of MediCal managed care in San Diego County.


  • Children up to age 21.
  • California residents.
  • Family income must be at or below certain income limits.
  • Children must be U.S. citizens or have satisfactory immigration status for full scope MediCal.


All basic MediCal benefits do NOT require copayments (no consumer cost).

24-hour access to medical care:

  • A primary care doctor for your basic health care needs;
  • Telephone Advice Nurses to help you when the doctor's office is closed;
  • Urgent Care Centers conveniently located to help you;
  • Emergency Rooms to help you when there's a life-threatening problem.

You'll receive medical services such as:

  • Primary care doctor visits
  • Hospital Services
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Optometry (eye care)
  • Podiatrist services (foot care)
  • Mental health services
  • Emergency transportation
  • Family planning services

Your primary care doctor can refer you to:

  • Specialists
  • Chiropractors
  • Home health care services

For those children covered by fee-for-service MediCal, services may be sought from any provider who accepts MediCal

For those children who elect to join a health plan, the State's contract with Healthy San Diego health plans requires an initial health assessment be completed within 120 days of enrollment with a health plan. This health assessment will not necessarily involve the administration of a specific test for developmental problems, but one may be provided on follow-up if the initial health assessment indicates the need for such an assessment.

Developmental services can be procured at Rady Children's Hospital San Diego, University of California San Diego (UCSD), San Diego State University (SDSU), or through a number of private providers in the community.

Several of the health plans also offer specific clinics that address the evaluation and treatment of developmental or behavioral problems. We would recommend contacting an individual plan where appropriate in order to determine what services they provide for children with, or at-risk for, developmental delay.

While in Polinsky Center, children are covered by MediCal and services provided while at Polinsky are billed to MediCal or the appropriate Healthy San Diego health plan. Healthy San Diego has facilitated a memorandum of agreement between the health plans and Polinsky Center to facilitate communication between health plans and the center.

When a child leaves Polinsky for an out-of-home placement, s/he continues to be covered by MediCal. Currently, children in foster care are not required to join health plans, but may do so based upon a joint decision between the foster parent and the social worker. Non-foster care children receiving CalWORKS-related MediCal must join a health plan unless they qualify for a medical exemption.

Steve Hon
Senior Program Manager
County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency
8840 Complex Dr., Suite 255
San Diego, CA 92123
Ph: (858) 565-3368

Website: http://www.sdkhan.org

Back to List



Public Health Nursing

Public Health Nursing services are provided by public health nurses who are baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses with specialized training in community health, disease prevention and health promotion. The goal of public health nurses is to improve health by teaching sound health practices, and by addressing lifestyle induced problems that affect well-being.

Anyone may request Public Health Nursing Services. These services are given through assessment and teaching individually in the home, and/or in groups in community settings.

There are no fees for Public Health Nursing Services but various eligibility criteria may apply to some Public Health Nursing Programs.

Fees for clinic services can be partially or totally waived if a client so requests.

Public Health Nursing Services
A Public Health Nurse can help if you:

  • Have an infant or child and need information regarding:
    • growth and development
    • parenting
    • nutrition
    • child safety issues
    • discipline
    • signs and symptoms of illness


  • Are pregnant or preparing for pregnancy
  • Need immunizations
  • Are exposed to a communicable disease such as Tuberculosis, Hepatitis
  • Want information about family planning
  • Have questions about a health problem for yourself or any member of your family
  • Need to find medical care
  • Need a referral for help regarding drugs, alcohol or HIV/AIDS
  • Experienced a perinatal or infant loss
  • Need information regarding Domestic Violence
  • Need information about community resources

Clinic Services

  • Well Child Exams
  • Immunizations
  • TB Treatment, Prevention and Follow-up
  • HIV/AIDS Screening
  • Pregnancy Tests
  • STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) Testing at select locations - call for days/times

Instructions for Making a Public Health Nurse Referral

  • Contact the Public Health Center in your region (see below).
  • Referral information should include:
    • name, address and zip code of referred person or family
    • friend or family contact name and phone number (if available)
    • phone number (home/business), if available
    • source of referral, e.g., your name, agency, and address and phone number
    • reason for referral and pertinent health information
    • principal language spoken



Central Region Public Health Center
5202 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92105
Ph: (619) 229-5400
Fx: (619) 229-5489

East Region Public Health Center
855 East Madison Ave.
El Cajon, CA 92020
Ph: (619) 441-6532
Fx: (619) 441-6531

North Central Public Health Center
2440 Grand Ave.
San Diego, CA 92109
Ph: (858) 490-4400
Fx: (858) 490-4479

North Inland Public Health Center
606 East Valley Parkway
Escondido, CA 92025
Ph: (760) 740-400
Fx: (760) 740-4003

North Coastal Public Health Center
104 South Barnes St.
Oceanside, CA 92054
Ph: (760) 967-4401
Fx: (760) 967-4644

County Health Services Complex
3851 Rosecrans St.
San Diego, CA 92110
Ph: (619) 692-8550

South Region Public Health Center
690 Oxford St.
Chula Vista, CA 91911
Ph: (619) 409-3110
Fx: (619) 409-3113

Back to List



Outpatient Psychiatry, Rady Children's Hospital San Diego

Children's Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic provides outpatient mental health services with a primary focus on children and adolescents up to 18 years of age. The purpose is to assist children and their families with emotional, behavioral, and learning problems.

All children, ages 3-to 17-years, are eligible for services. These services are covered by many insurance plans including MediCal

The clinic treats a diverse population offering comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, followed by interdisciplinary team review to determine the disposition and the most appropriate treatment plan.

Services include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychological testing
  • Medication evaluation
  • Chemical dependency

The Clinic treats a wide variety of problems such as:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Attention deficit disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Chemical dependency
  • School phobias
  • and many other disorders


San Diego
3665 Kearny Villa Road, Suite 101
San Diego, CA 92123
Ph: (858) 966-5832
Fx: (858) 966-6733

Rancho Bernardo
11770 Bernardo Plaza Court, #260
San Diego, CA 92128
Ph: (858) 487-9050
Fx: (858) 451-8453

4120 Waring Road
Oceanside, CA 92056
Ph: (760) 758-1480
Fx: (760) 945-0758

Back to List



UCSD Infant Special Care Follow-Up Program (ISCFU)

The UCSD Infant Special Care Follow-up Program's (ISCFU) mission is to:

  • Provide neurodevelopmental screening for infants and children born at risk for neurodevelopmental problems. The program includes infants and children without identified risk factors who are exhibiting developmental delays.
  • Counsel parents about developmental expectations and community resources available.
  • Educate families and health professionals about neurodevelopmental issues.

The ISCFU does not provide primary care. If an acute medical problem presents at the time of the ISCFU visit, the primary care provider is contacted regarding treatment and ongoing follow-up. Subspecialty referrals are made through the primary care provider. Children are referred for primary care if no provider is identified by the family.

High-risk, premature, and/or drug-exposed infants and children up to three years adjusted age. Pediatricians, community service agencies, and parents can refer directly any child in their care for concerns regarding development and/or behavior.

The ISCFU accepts the following insurance: MediCal, MediCal managed care, Private Insurance, CHDP, CHAMPUS*, Contract-based* (*prior authorization needed).

UCSD Infant Special Care Follow-up Program provides the following services:

  • Pre-Discharge neurobehavioral evaluation
  • Periodic neurodevelopmental screening between birth and 36 months (adjusted age), as needed, including:
  • comprehensive chart review


    • interim medical history
    • psychosocial evaluation
    • standardized developmental screen (Gesell)
    • standardized neurologic screen (Amiel-Tison)
    • physical examination
    • anticipatory guidance and parent counseling
    • case conference review (ISCFU staff, OT, PT and audiologist)


  • A report of the neurodevelopmental assessment provided to the referring physician or agency
  • Referral to services as needed (i.e. occupational therapy, physical therapy,audiology, Regional Center, CCS, PHN and education)
  • Coordination of neurodevelopmental follow-up services

Services are provided at this clinic location:

  • UCSD Ambulatory Care Center - 2nd floor
    4168 Front Street
    San Diego, CA 92103



Foster parents should have authorization to obtain medical care forms.

Yvonne E. Vaucher, M.D., M.P.H.
Martha G. Fuller, R.N., M.S.N., P.N.P.
Infant Special Care Follow-up Program
UCSD Medical Center
200 West Arbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92103-8452
Ph: (619) 543-3771
Fx: (619) 543-7543

Back to List



Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CHADD) was founded in 1987 in response to the frustration and sense of isolation experienced by parents and their children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). At that time, there were very few places one could turn to for support or information and ADHD was seriously misunderstood by many people. Today, children and adults with ADHD have CHADD, a national organization with over 32,000 members and more than 500 chapters nationwide, to provide support and information. Thanks in part to the efforts of CHADD, ADHD is now recognized as a treatable, yet potentially serious disorder, that affects up to 2.6 million school-aged children between the ages of 5 and 18, and an estimated 2-5 million adults. Children with ADHD can receive special education services or accommodations within the regular classroom when needed, and adults with ADHD may be eligible for accommodations in the workplace under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 guidelines issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1997.

CHADD has four primary objectives:

  • Maintain a support network for parents who have children with ADHD and adults with ADHD
  • Provide a forum for continuing education of parents, professionals, and adults with ADHD about the disability
  • Be a community resource for information about ADHD
  • Make the best education experiences available to children with ADHD so their specific difficulties will be recognized and appropriately managed within education settings.

The National Resource Center on AD/HD: A Program of CHADD has been established with funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be the national clearinghouse of information and resources concerning this important public health concern. The NRC provides comprehensive information and support to individuals with AD/HD, their families and friends, and the professionals involved in their lives.

Highly trained Information Specialists are available, via telephone or the website, to respond to inquiries related to AD/HD. A bilingual information specialist is also available to respond to inquiries in Spanish. We dont provide counseling, medical or legal advice, or give referrals to professionals who specialize in the diagnosis or treatment of AD/HD (e.g. pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists).

The NRC aims to improve the health and quality of life of individuals with AD/HD and their families by:

  • expanding their knowledge and understanding of issues related to AD/HD, such as access to and quality of health care, treatment and interventions, education, parenting, life management skills, relationships, workplace challenges, co-occurring conditions, gender issues, and the legal system; and
  • raising public awareness about AD/HD through outreach and the dissemination of information.

Children and adults with ADHD, parents, professionals, and anyone who needs information about ADHD.

CHADD is at the forefront of publishing and disseminating the current information about ADHD to members and a wide range of professionals in medicine, psychology, education, law ,and other professions. Through a Professional Advisory Board of experts in these fields, the organization is kept abreast of the latest developments regarding all aspects of ADHD, including research into cause and treatment, behavior management, employment, insurance, comorbidity factors, and other issues surrounding ADHD. This group of experts regularly contributes articles to CHADD's quarterly magazine about ADHD.

CHADD also publishes a quarterly newsletter, with information about the people, programs and services that make CHADD work person-to-person and chapter-to-chapter. Other publications include the CHADD Educators Manual, a book written for teachers that includes an in-depth examination of ADHD in the classroom and concrete suggestions for effectively teaching a child with ADHD. It is one of the most widely read publications about ADHD and education.

Each year, CHADD sponsors a conference on ADD, bringing together thousands of parents, scientists, health care professionals and other experts whose work involves people with ADHD.


San Diego CHADD
Ph: (619) 276-6912

Inland North County CHADD
Ph: (760) 736-1111

CHADD (National Headquarters)
8181 Professional PL, Suite 201
Landover, MD 20785
Ph: (301) 306-7070 Fx: (301) 306-7090

Website: www.chadd.org

Back to List



Exceptional Family Resource Center

The mission of the Exceptional Family Resource Center (EFRC) is to provide support, resources, referral information and education for families of children with disabilities and the professionals who assist these families. By offering emotional support and factual information, EFRC enables families to help their children reach their fullest potential.

Families of individuals with disabilities, ages birth through life, in San Diego and Imperial Counties.

EFRC offers families emotional support, factual information, and encouragement from the unique perspective of being a parent because all services are provided by parents of individuals with disabilities. These services are based on a strong belief in the value of parent, professional, and community partnerships. The services of the EFRC are provided with respect to a family's goals, strengths, priorities, privacy and diversity. Services include:

Family Support

  • One-on-one or small group support
  • Disability specific support groups
  • Technical assistance to support groups

Information & Referral

  • Resource and lending library
  • Current, unbiased, accurate information
  • Local, regional and national resources
  • Referral to community based resources and programs

Family/Professional Partnerships

  • Model parent-professional partnerships training opportunities, resource sharing, and networking among families/agencies
  • Resource pool of parent/professional co-trainers

Continuing Educational Opportunities

  • Skill building for families
  • Speakers Bureau
  • Training on effective practices in family support



Administrative/Central Office
9245 Sky Park Court, Suite 130
San Diego, CA 92123
Ph: (800) 281-8252; (619) 594-7416
Fx: (858) 268-4275

East County Office
San Diego Regional Center
8760 Cuyamaca Street
Santee, CA 92076
Ph: (619) 596-1050

South County Office
Public Health Center
690 Oxford Street
Chula Vista, CA 91911
Ph: (619) 409-3127

North County Hub
380 Mulberry Drive, Suite A
San Marcos, CA 92029
Ph: (760) 510-3994
Fx: (760) 510-3994

Imperial County Hub
Imperial County Regional Center
512 West Aten Rd.
Imperial, CA 92251
Ph: (760) 355-0147

Back to List



Learning Disabilities Association of California

The Learning Disabilities Association of California (LDA-CA) is affiliated with the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA), a national, nonprofit, volunteer organization of parents, adults with learning disabilities, and professionals. LDA is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all individuals with learning disabilities and their families, alleviating the restricting effects of learning disabilities, and supporting endeavors to determine the cause of learning disabilities. LDA seeks to accomplish this through advocacy, education, research, and service through collaborative efforts.

Memberships and services available to individuals, families, and professionals concerned about enhancing the quality of life for all individuals with learning disabilities.

Resource and Information Service
The San Diego County LDA Resource Center, staffed by volunteers, provides resources and information regarding learning disabilities, ADHD, services available in the community, laws pertaining to individuals with LD and ADHD, advocacy information, and public school policies and procedures.

Support Groups
San Diego County LDA provides information about support groups in various parts of San Diego County for:

  • Adults with learning disabilities and/or ADHD
  • Young adults (social group)
  • Parents of children with learning disabilities
  • Parents of children with attention deficit disorder
  • Social skills development

Quarterly Newsletter and Regular Informational Mailings

The newsletters and mailings include information regarding community resources and events, meetings and conferences, advocacy concerns, legislation and public policy updates, and educational articles. A sample of the newsletter may be requested by calling the Resource Center.

The San Diego County LDA provides meetings with guest speakers and co-sponsorship of local conferences, meetings, and events relating to learning disabilities and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

School Problems Workshops

The San Diego County LDA Resource Center has developed a two-part workshop to assist the parents of public or private school students in getting help for their children who are experiencing difficulties in school.

  • Part 1 - "School Problems: How to Get Help for Your Child" Part 1 explains school procedures used in determining services for students with learning and/or attention problems, including pertinent information about special education laws and Section 504. Due process procedures and parent participation are also covered.
  • Part 2 - "The IEP Process" Part 2 outlines assessment procedures, eligibility requirements, and the Individualized Education Programs (IEP) document. Updates on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) '97 amendments and regulations are also covered.

The two-part workshop registration has a small fee for an individual or couple. Some scholarships are available. The workshops are offered monthly. For further information, call the Resource Center.

Community Networking

San Diego County LDA participates in a variety of community committees to share resource information, legislative and judicial updates, and parent and professional concerns regarding the needs of children and adults with learning disabilities and ADD in San Diego County.


San Diego County LDA Resource Center
PO Box 421111
San Diego, CA 92142-1111
Ph: (858) 467-9158
Fx: (858) 467-1333

Back to List



San Diego County Foster Parent Association

San Diego County Foster Parent Association (SDCFPA) is a nonprofit organization serving foster families and foster children. It recognizes that families need resources designed to assist them in becoming successful and knowledgeable in the field of foster parenting. SDCFPA is committed to sharing its expertise and resources to enlighten foster parents of their rights and the rights of their foster children.

Services are offered to foster parents and anyone interested in becoming a foster parent.


  • Information and referral
  • Liaison services to agencies
  • Foster parent training
  • Support groups
  • Newsletter
  • Assistance in problem solving
  • Social activities
  • Monthly meetings (1st Thursday of each month except holidays and summer-July/August)
  • Scholarship fund for foster parents and children
  • Foster children and foster families advocacy in legislative/governmental relations

SDCFPA also represents foster children and families at the following advisory boards:

  • Foster Parent Recognition Coalition
  • Quality Placement Review Board
  • National Foster Parent Association
  • Foster Care Service Committee


San Diego County Foster Parent Association
1089 El Cajon Blvd. Suite D
El Cajon, CA 92020
Business Phone: (619) 579-4900

Back to List


Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK)

Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK) is a nonprofit corporation to which parents of children with disabilities can turn for assistance and support in seeking and obtaining needed early intervention, educational, medical, or therapeutic support services for their children. TASK was founded by a group of parents to give families of children with disabilities the knowledge to make positive decisions concerning their child's development and education. TASK encourages parental participation in partnership with education and other systems affecting their child, believes that parents are entitled to be equal partners in the education process, and promotes the idea that a well informed parent is the best advocate for his/her child.
TASK's mission is to enable children with disabilities to reach their maximum potential by providing them, their families and the professionals who serve them, with training, support, information, resources and referrals, and by providing community awareness programs.

TASK serves parents, guardians, professionals, and anyone else desiring information on both federal and state laws affecting children with special needs.

Parent to Parent Support
Parenting a child with a disability is an overwhelming first-time experience for most parents. Parent to Parent offers empathy, support, peer counseling, and techniques for coping and referrals.

Let's Be Friends
This is an awareness program for elementary school children K-3. Presented by volunteers and welcomed by school districts, it prepares children for the addition of a child with a disability into their school.

The TASK Parent Training Project (TPTP)
TPTP provides education and training on the education rights of parents and their children with disabilities so they can access, in a positive manner, the education, health and social service systems.

Project HELP (Help from Educational Lay Persons)
A fee for service program that provides advocates to attend IEP meetings and mediations, and an educational psychologist who will review school district assessment for eligibility criteria and recommendations.

The TASK Experience Center for Hi-TECH (TECH)
Enables persons with a disability to assess their computer technology needs for adaptive hardware and/or software, enabling them to be more competitive.

Toddler TECH
This program provides classes for parents and children ages 18-36 months in the use of switches and adapted toys. Parents are shown how to adapt ordinary toys and are encouraged to look at future technology goals for their children.

This program provides support, referrals and workshops to parents of infants.

½ Day Workshops (call for fee information) include:

Transition to Public School

Geared to parents of 2-4 year olds transitioning into the public school system. Will include information on assessment process, placement visits, Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and communications skills to meet the challenges of the many choices available to our children.

Basic Rights

Covers an overview of the four basic rights under IDEA, a brief overview of section 504 of the rehabilitation act, and an explanation of record keeping and the assessment process. Communication techniques are interspersed throughout the workshop.

Parents Perspective and Parent Professional Collaboration

Encouraging parents to support each other and to collaborate with professionals. This will enhance positive advocacy, staff development, and encourage student success. Collaboration increases a positive attitude for respect, trust, communication, and celebrating differences.

1 Day Workshops
(call for fee information) include:

IEP Workshop

Covers an overview of the rights and protection mandated for special needs children by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) of record keeping, the requirements of the assessment process, timelines, the legal components on and IEP and how to write goals and objectives. Communication techniques are interspersed throughout the workshop.

Transition from school to Adult Services

ITP (Individual Transition Plan) with the IEP. "Future" Planning, how to coordinate services from the school to adult services, supported employment, independent living, recreation, and post-secondary education.

Section 504 Accommodations

Covers section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. Overview of law and how the system can be effective for students who may not qualify under IDEA, but may need accommodation in the least restrictive environment.

Assistive Technology Workshop (call for fee information)

Information on various hardware adaptions and specialized programs for persons with disabilities. Demonstration of programs and hardware as appropriate. Demonstration of switch adapted battery operated toys to develop cause and effect for toddlers.

2 Day Workshops
(call for fee information)

Legal Rights for Education-Introduction to Laws

Overview of IDEA and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, understanding other systems assessment, timelines, record keeping, IEP, goals and objectives in the IEP, suspension and expulsion, behavior intervention, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) compliance complaints, educational compliance complaints and the due process. Communication techniques are interspersed throughout the workshop.

2½ hr. Multicultural Training
(call for fee information):

Multicultural Training

A practical approach to outreach to different cultures and communities with positive results. Similarities among different cultures will be emphasized.



TASK San Diego
3180 University Avenue Suite 430
San Diego, CA 92104
Ph: (619) 794-2947
Toll Free in CA: 866-609-3218

Back to List



Chadwick Center, Rady Children's Hospital San Diego

In 1979, the Chadwick Center was officially opened as one of the first multidisciplinary teams in the state for the investigation and assessment of child maltreatment allegations, with working agreements with law enforcement, the judiciary, medical staff, and Child Protective Services. Over the last 20 years, its services have expanded and the Center currently provides a broad range of services to children and families.

All services listed below are available for children, ages birth to 18-years, except for the Failure to Thrive Clinic (birth to 6-years), the Family Violence Program (children and women), and the Trauma Treatment Program (2-1/2 years to adult). These services are covered by funding from public-sector agencies as well as many insurance plans including MediCal


The Center for Child Protection offers a number of services designed to evaluate children for potential abuse and/or neglect. These are described briefly below:

Forensic Interview and Assessment
Children and developmentally delayed adults who have been reported to the police or CPS as having been victims of abuse or who may have been witnesses to violent acts are evaluated at the Center. A videotaped forensic interview is available and is conducted by a trained interviewer in a developmentally sensitive and legally defensible manner. This videotaped interview is available to representatives from different agencies evaluating the reported abuse and reduces the number of times the child is interviewed.
Sexual Abuse Screening
Children who have made vague statements about being abused, who present with behavior changes suggestive of abuse, or who have a generalized or nonspecific condition may be seen. In addition, children who have made clear disclosures of sexual abuse where law enforcement has not authorized a forensic evaluation may be evaluated. A full evaluation including a gynecological examination by trained pediatricians is available. In addition, the center offers immediate evaluations following suspected sexual assault for those children and/or adolescents who have been referred by Law Enforcement when it is believed that fewer than 72 hours have passed since the alleged abuse incident occurred. An on-call team available 24 hours a day to respond to these cases. A sexual assault exam is conducted including collection of evidence. Crisis services are then provided which link the victim and family to support services.

Physical Abuse Screening

A physical abuse screening exam offered for children provides medical consultation as to whether an injury is abuse related or consistent with the explanation given by the caregiver. When a child is referred by law enforcement officials or county agencies, the goal of this service is to assist in determining how to proceed with the case. When parents have concerns that their child has been abused, this service enables parents to receive a medical exam and discuss their concerns with physicians and social workers.

Psychosocial Assessment

These services are available for children for whom there may be a suspicion of abuse, but no disclosure from the suspected victim or a reporting party. The assessment involves intake with both parents and 4-6 sessions with the child for whom the possibility of abuse exists.


Failure to Thrive Clinic
This clinic is available for children who are not growing at the anticipated rate. The child and family are provided with medical, nutritional, social work and developmental assessments. Families are linked with in home support services when appropriate.

Trauma Treatment Program

The Trauma Treatment Program services are predominantly fee-for-service. Treatment services for children and adults include:

  • Assessment of trauma, abuse, neglect, family and community violence
  • Abuse specific therapy - Individual, family and group modalities
  • Psychological testing
  • Medication evaluation and management
  • Brief Therapy at Polinsky Children's Center
  • School-based counseling services for victims of abuse and neglect

Pediatric Gynecological Services

Children may be referred by physicians outside for evaluation of non-abuse related medical concerns.

Family Violence Program, Advocacy, and Counseling

The Family Violence Program advocates with women experiencing both domestic violence and the abuse of their children. It provides support to women needing to find safe housing, financial aid, employment, vocational training, childcare, legal consultation, and mental health services for themselves and their children. Individual and group therapy is provided for women and their children.

Family Support Program

The Center for Child Protection also coordinates the Family Support Program.

Other Specific Services for Abused Children include:

  • Victim advocacy
  • Court education through the Kids in Court Program
  • Assistance in Filing Victims of Crime Claim Applications
  • Child Advocacy Services
  • Crisis intervention related to child abuse issues
  • Outcome studies



Children's Main Campus
3020 Children's Way
San Diego, CA 92123
Ph: (858) 966-8572 or (858) 576-1700 x 4972

E-mail: chadwickcenter@chsd.org
Website: www.chadwickcenter.org/

Back to List



Family Support Program, Rady Children's Hospital San Diego

The California Safe and Healthy Families Program/Family Support Home Visiting Model is intended to reduce multiple adverse health, social, and economic outcomes affecting families in California. Without support and skill building, many of these families are at risk of child maltreatment and may find it difficult to find their way off public welfare.

Any family experiencing stress, problems with parenting, etc. may utilize Family Support Program.

With Family Support Home Visiting families receive individualized help in their own homes and are provided with a safe environment to practice new skills and learn to utilize resources available to them in the community.

Systematic Assessment and Family Centered Service Plan

Once families enter the program an assessment of functioning must take place. On the basis of the assessment, a plan which addresses the unique needs of the family is developed. The plan addresses the personal, development, interpersonal, and environmental needs of the family and takes into account important contextual factors such as the family's culture, language, social, and economic supports.

Intensive Home Visiting

The home visitor provides support, modeling, information and education, and assists the family in learning how to identify and utilize resources in the community. The home visitor has available the resources of specialists in parent education and development, child development, and health. These internal "consultants" help with assessing barriers, identifying resources, and offering techniques and suggestions to help families learn new skills.

Child Health and Development Monitoring/Intervention

Child development specialists evaluate the parent/child relationship and observe the child functioning. When problems are identified, the child development specialist works with the home visitor and the parent to develop a plan of intervention, which may involve developmental testing and other special services.

Structured Parenting Classes and Parent Support Groups

The Family Support Program has developed a series of highly structured parent groups which focus very heavily on helping parents to integrate the material they are learning. Every aspect of the group process, including the transportation and signing in, and the details of group operation are carefully geared towards teaching and providing parents with a structured environment to practice what they are learning in the class and from the home visitor.

Children's Groups

Children are provided with opportunities to challenge themselves and to sharpen their social, emotional, motor, communication, and thinking skills. Facilitators of the groups work to create a nurturing space, acknowledging the individual talents of the children, and providing classroom management styles that are based on mutual respect.

Child Enrichment Group
The Child Enrichment Group provides infants and toddlers with opportunities to use their senses and their movement skills to learn about the world.

Preschool Group
The Preschool Group for children ages 3-5 provides a structured environment in which children learn to follow a group routine by participating in circle time, large group activity, snack, supervised play, and story time.

A benefit of providing child groups is that parents who cannot afford childcare are assured that their children are safe while they are attending parent education/support groups.

Because many families have significant transportation barriers, transportation to groups and other center-based activities is an important component of providing Family Support Home Visiting.

Linkage to Primary Health Care
Frequently families do not have a "medical home", a primary care doctor or clinic providing well-child care and who is familiar with the health and development of family members. An important part of the family support program is teaching the family self-care skills, including good health and hygiene practices, and assisting them with identifying and accessing a primary care health provider.

Not at this time. Approval for future foster care specific services is expected.

Metro San Diego
3020 Children's Way
San Diego, CA 92123-4282
Ph: (858) 495-8584

South Bay
1261 Third Ave., Suite D
Chula Vista, CA 91911
Ph: (619) 420-5611

East County
2295 Fletcher Parkway
El Cajon, CA 92020
Ph: (619) 461-2112

North County
3142 Vista Way, Suite 207
Oceanside, CA 92056
Ph: (760) 967-7082

Myrtha De Leon
Family Support Program Manager
3020 Children's Way
San Diego, CA 92123-4282
Ph: (858) 576-1700 x 3292

Back to List



Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) Child Welfare Services

The Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) Child Welfare Services (CWS) is responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect. When an allegation is substantiated, HHSA develops an appropriate plan to provide services to the family that will protect children and strengthen families. HHSA provides services to children in two settings: 1) those children provided services in their own home to preserve or maintain family functioning, and 2) children provided services in out-of-home care necessary to meet the children's needs and reunite the family.

All children referred to HHSA Child Welfare Services (CWS) are eligible for services based on their individual circumstances and needs.

There are several programs in place serving children and families through HHSA Child Welfare Services.

The 24-hour Hotline is staffed by trained social workers who receive calls about child abuse, molestation, and neglect. Hotline workers evaluate each referral to determine if further investigation is necessary. When the Hotline worker determines that a child is in need of protection, an emergency response social worker is dispatched to the field within hours or days to evaluate the circumstances which generated the referral. The response time depends upon the immediacy of the situation.

Emergency Shelter Care The Polinsky Children's Center is a 24-hour facility for the temporary emergency shelter of children who must be separated from their families for their own safety, or whose parents cannot provide appropriate care.

Voluntary Services
In many cases, parents work voluntarily with Childrens Services to remedy a situation identified as detrimental to their children without the intervention of the Juvenile Court. Services are provided while the children remain safely in the home, monitored by the social worker, as improvements are made. In some cases, children may be placed voluntarily out of the home until certain conditions are met.

Court Intervention
Court Intervention social workers investigate serious allegations of abuse and neglect. Court Intervention workers may petition the Juvenile Court to take jurisdiction over a child when a child has been or is at risk of future harm and there are no alternatives for alleviating that risk.

Continuing Services
Continuing Service social workers monitor the children and families in situations where children are legally under the protection of the Juvenile Court. Many of these children are living in out-of-home care with relatives or foster parents. Social workers secure services that are necessary to alleviate the problems that brought the family to the Court's attention, and assure that the orders of the Juvenile Court are followed.

Residential Services
Children who cannot safely reside in County foster homes because they are in need of a more intensive level of care are placed in specialized Foster Family Agency homes, or licensed group homes. The Residential Services program places and monitors these children with special needs. The children often are diagnosed with emotional disorders or demonstrate severe behavioral problems.

Foster Home Licensing
Foster Home Licensing staff recruit individuals and families who are interested in becoming foster family homes, and provide support and recognition services to licensed foster parents. Foster Home Licensing social workers process applications for foster homes, provide training, and help facilitate support groups for foster parents, complete annual on-site visits, and investigate licensing complaints.

Long Term Foster Care

Long term foster care is designed to provide an alternative permanent family structure for children who, because of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, cannot safely remain at home and are unlikely to return to their parents, be adopted, or have an adult assume legal guardianship.

Guardianship is designed to provide an alternate permanent family structure for children who, because of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, cannot safely remain at home and are unlikely to return to their parents or be placed in an adoptive home.

The Adoptions program provides services to children, birth parents, and applicant families. Social workers counsel birth parents who are voluntarily considering adoption for their born or unborn child, make referrals to assist them in their decision, and provide relinquishment services. Two special programs include:

Nuestros Niños
Nuestros Niños is a program staffed with bilingual and bicultural social workers sensitive to Hispanic values regarding adoption.
Please call (619) 336-5740 for more information

Tayari is a community-based unit of San Diego County Adoptions created to facilitate the adoption of African American children. Please call (619) 266-6060 for more information.

Critical Assessment for Release Early (CARE)

"Critical Assessment for Release Early" (CARE) is a multidisciplinary, multicultural team established to evaluate for early release of children in protective custody. The CARE unit provides short-term immediate services for children placed in protective custody who are assessed as being at low to moderate risk.

Family Violence Unit
The Family Violence Unit is a unique program, which involves collaboration between Childrens Services and the Adult Probation Department. Social workers and Probation Officers work together to develop service plans and monitor families who are known to both agencies.

Indian Specialty Unit

The Indian Specialty Unit provides culturally responsive social services to Native American families who come to the attention of Childrens Services due to allegations of child abuse and/or neglect.

Intensive Family Preservation
The Intensive Family Preservation program assists families in which additional services could avoid out-of-home placements and/or facilitate a quicker return of the children to their home. Families receive intensive services designed to modify certain behaviors and reduce the risk of maltreatment of children.

Medically Fragile

Infants and children with serious medical conditions who are placed in protective custody are served by a specialty unit of Childrens Services social workers.

New Beginnings
New Beginnings is a collaborative effort by the County Health and Human Services Agency, Probation, City of San Diego, San Diego Unified Schools, Community Colleges, Housing Commission, Rady Children's Hospital, and the University of California, San Diego, to provide integrated school-linked direct services to children and families with focus on prevention.

Office of the Ombudsman
The Office of the Ombudsman of Childrens Services is an internal unit conducting independent reviews of complaints concerning Childrens Services policies or practices. Complaints can be lodged by members of the public, community organizations, or agencies.

Teen Pregnancy Disincentive Program (AB908)
This program is designed to discourage teen pregnancy and encourage appropriate parenting of minor parents and their children.

See above

Child Abuse Hotline
(858) 560-2191
(800) 344-6000

Foster Care Licensing
(877) 792-KIDS [5437]

(877) I ADOPT U [423-6788]

Website: http://www.co.san-diego.ca.us/cnty/cntydepts/health/


Back to List



Copyright © 2008, CASRC, all rights reserved.