Our story began in the alleyways of San Francisco where young Chinese girls were forced into slavery or prostitution, in San Jose in the early days of statehood when children were often left alone, and on the streets of Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles where orphaned children were rescued by two women in a buckboard carriage. It is a story of California’s lost, abandoned, abused and hurting children….children in crisis.
The needs of hurting children haven’t changed, but how we solve the problem continues to evolve. In the 1950’s, practices around crisis care for children moved away from orphanages to work in tandem with an emerging state child welfare system. Our private agencies developed residential cottages with treatment programs designed to keep kids safe while addressing the real causes of their emotional trauma.
Many children today still find themselves alone and abandoned. Some of the reasons are as old as time, some seem new – like parents addicted to drugs, or a well intended foster care system that further traumatizes children by moving them from place to place. While the solutions become more sophisticated, the basic need is the same…helping a child in crisis.