Nonprofit Spotlight: Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic



Photo Courtesy of LA Child Guidance

Photo Courtesy of LA Child Guidance

Intersections’ Nonprofit Spotlight series profiles organizations that are propelling positive change in South L.A. _________________________________________________________________________ 

What is the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic’s purpose? To provide quality mental health services to a community in great need by ensuring easy access and promoting early intervention.

When was the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic founded? Since its inception in 1924 as the first child guidance clinic west of the Rockies, the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic has built a rich history of leadership and innovation in the field of pediatric mental health.

Photo Courtesy of LA Child Guidance

Photo Courtesy of LA Child Guidance

Which areas does the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic serve? Central and South Los Angeles.

What services does the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic provide? Comprehensive array of mental health programs include the following:

Early Intervention and Community Wellness Division – Since the 1980s has pioneered programs including home visitation by early childhood experts, clinic-based services for children whose explosive behavioral problems often result in expulsion from preschools, assessments of young children in foster care to assure safety and emotional well-being in future placement, and a family resource center meeting basic needs in economically stressful times.

Outpatient Services Division – Includes specialty services for children experiencing school failure and/or involvement in probation and child welfare systems, as well as a one-of-a-kind no-fee, no-appointment Access Center where annually an average of 1,700 highest-need children are immediately seen, enrolled into Clinic services, or referred to regional center, domestic violence and other appropriate placements.

City Hall declares Children Mental Health Awareness Day in Los Angeles | Photo Courtesy of LA Child Guidance

City Hall declares Children Mental Health Awareness Day in Los Angeles | Photo Courtesy of LA Child Guidance

Intensive Services Division – Employs a nationally recognized model designed to keep together families struggling to overcome mental illness, domestic violence, substance abuse and extreme poverty, while also providing comprehensive, coordinated services 24/7 for highest-needs children – especially those in foster care – who exhibit severe behavioral and emotional problems.

Life Learning Division – Serves youth ages 15 to 25 who are homeless, at risk for homelessness, aging out of foster care, or struggling with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, by blending job placement services, treatment, case management and medication services to support essential skills for independent living.

The Early Intervention Training Institute trains approximately 650 mental health and allied professionals annually in identifying, intervening and referring very young children at risk for emotional, behavioral or social delays. A unique Child Psychiatry Residents Training affiliation with USC Keck School of Medicine Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry trains all child psychiatry residents to diagnose and treat children ages 0 – 5.

What are the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic’s recent accomplishments?

  •  3,403 children and family members benefited from Clinic services.
  • 51,707 mental health outpatient visits were provided at three community-based Clinic offices, s well as on-site at 20 local schools, in clients’ homes, and at other community sites.
  • 1,174 children, family members, and caregivers received immediate assistance at the no-appointment, no-fee bilingual Access Center.
  • 5,085 days of service were provided through our intensive day treatment program.
  • 6 residents from the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine served rotations at the Clinic through the Child Psychiatry Residents Training Program, receiving specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of young children.
  • 4 doctoral students participated in our Psychology Internship Program, providing clinical treatment services and receiving specialized training.

Video Courtesy of LA Child Guidance Youtube Channel

What does the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic consider as…

…top safety issues in South L.A.? As resources become available through the Affordable Care Act and California’s Mental Health Services Act, it is imperative that silos be broken between our health, mental health and public education system to ensure children and youth of all ages benefit.

…top education issues in South L.A.?  School based health centers offer great promise, but easy referrals between service providers at the school site is a goal that must be realized – otherwise students don’t get access to the care they need to succeed in life.

…top housing issues in South L.A.? Supportive housing for individuals with mental health needs and disabilities continue to top the list.

…top recreational issues in South L.A.? The continued focus on access to healthy, affordable food is important, as is the completion of the Expo line and new enthusiasm around biking.

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter

Hours: Weekdays 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Contact info: Cesar Portillo, Vice President of Clinic Advancement,[email protected]

OPINION: Providing mental health services for South LA families



By Carolyn Wang, for Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic

imageImagine every child in South LA succeeds in school. Now, imagine every child also learns to how to build a lifetime of healthy relationships and emotional well-being.

Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic works daily to make that vision a reality as an essential component of a healthy South LA.

“We can’t build community health without incorporating easy access to mental health services for our children and families,” says the Clinic’s president and CEO Betsy Pfromm.

Since 1924, the Clinic has worked with community partners to create that access.

“We are grateful for our partners’ expertise, as well as for their willingness to embrace mental health as a priority,” said Pfromm. “Our solutions are that much stronger as a result.”

The Clinic relies on its team of compassionate professionals to offer behavioral counseling and support to individuals and families at homes, in schools or through our no appointment, walk-in access center. But Clinic leadership also coordinates daily with fellow mental health advocates in many venues.

One key partner is the Empowerment Congress, originated in 1992 by Mark Ridley-Thomas, now the Los Angeles County Supervisor for the 2nd District.

“The Empowerment Congress provides an invaluable forum for mental health providers and advocates to promote mental health in our community,” said Pfromm, who chairs the Congress’s mental health committee.

Vice President of Advancement César Portillo has worked over the last two years with health, environment, education and community advocates to help launch South LA Building Healthy Communities— a part of a 10-year strategic effort by The California Endowment. The goal: to support the development of communities where kids and youth can be healthy, safe and ready to learn.

Partnership with primary care is essential – and Vice President of Programs Elena Judd is developing capacity to provide mental health services directly onsite at the South Central Family Health Center (SCFHC), while Community Access Coordinator Eric Inouye coordinates co-located services at SCFHC’s campus-based clinic at The Accelerated School. In fact, the Clinic offers services directly at over 20 local Los Angeles Unified School District campuses.

Partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health extends beyond direct service provision. The Clinic supports community planning processes for Los Angeles’ Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) programs.

“In the spirit of collaboration, our partners are teachers, law enforcement, gang specialists, medical professionals, parents, and more,” says Paco Retana, the director of outpatient services. “Together, we will create an effective community treatment plan.”

This year, the Clinic seeks to include even more of the community in their outreach efforts. To commemorate Mental Health Awareness month in May, the Clinic is launching its “Praise A Child Today” campaign. Participating businesses in the Figueroa Corridor Business Improvement District will receive posters offering patrons a free magnet listing 100 Ways to Praise a Child. What better way to build health in South LA?

For more information on this campaign, contact Carolyn Wang at (323) 373-2400 x 3360.

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic

Honoring a champion’s fight against stigma



By Carolyn Wang, for Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic

Los Angeles Lakers star Ron Artest is speaking out for mental health, and the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic is lauding his efforts on behalf of children and youth.

Artest launched his public battle against stigma associated with mental illness during a television interview immediately following the Lakers’ Game 7 victory last year. In the thrilling moments just after the game, with perhaps the biggest audience of the basketball season watching, Artest consciously and emphatically thanked his psychologist for enabling him to succeed. Since then, he has launched a public service announcement for Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and raffled off his championship ring to benefit mental health services.

May is both Mental Health Awareness month and the start of the NBA playoff season – a great time to honor a champion both on and off the court! To recognize his “stigma-busting” efforts, the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic – together with Mental Health America of Los Angeles and Heritage Clinic – placed a full page ad in the Lakers Yearbook directly across from Ron’s tribute page. Check out our ad on page 5 of our newsletter.