Since 1948, Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley (FCS), a division of Caminar, has been improving the lives of children, teens, and adults in our community through emotional and mental health services. Family & Children Services counsels teens at risk of suicide, prepares foster youth for success, assists veterans and their families, and helps families heal from violence, abuse, and addiction.
About Family & Children Services
Family & Children Services focuses on promoting healthy development of children and their families. Services are offered in eight languages, including American Sign Language for the hearing impaired --- the only service for the deaf in the greater South Bay. The center is open to everyone. More than 60% of all cases deal with child abuse. The Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Program provides crisis intervention. Each year, 12,000 people are served.
Valle Monte League has supported Family & Children Services since 1954. Valle Monte currently donates funds to the following programs:
- Positive Solutions Program
- A program that provides counseling services for families including children, teens, and adults dealing with domestic violence, child abuse, and other critical issues.
- Clinical Counseling Program
- This program provides counseling services to individuals and families
- On Campus Counseling Services in the School-Based Services Program
- Support Groups for children through Deaf/Hard of Hearing Service
Read Their Stories
Meet Anna, a teen who healed from depression and self-harm
When Anna, then 16, first came to our counseling program, she was newly released from the hospital. Her arms were marked with small, self-inflicted scars, carefully hidden beneath long sleeves.
In therapy at FCS, Anna spoke about the strain of her parents’ prolonged, hostile divorce and the stresses of being a teen in Silicon Valley. She had turned to cutting as a means to cope. In the hospital, she learned she was living with severe depression.
After Anna revealed that she used to find joy in drawing and painting, her therapist made sure paints, pencils, and paper were available at every session. They made art as they talked through painful topics and began to create a path forward toward wellness.
Her therapist invited Anna to pick up a paintbrush the next time she felt the impulse to harm herself with a blade. Pulling the brush over her scars, Anna’s eyes welled. She saw how hard she had been working, for too long, to hide her anger and grief from her parents, friends, even herself.
Session by session, thanks to long-term care our donors’ generosity made possible, the fog of depression lifted. Anna gained confidence. She learned healthier ways to manage stress—and never again required hospitalization. With the support of her therapist, she shared with her parents how their actions were affecting her.
Last June, she graduated from high school with her class, excited about plans for college and her growing collection of artwork.
Resilience is possible with compassion and quality care.
Twenty percent of 13- to 18-year-olds in the US have or will have a serious mental illness. With the help of our compassionate and generous donors, we reach teens with the professional care and support they need to heal and to learn to manage their conditions, before their dreams are derailed and they lose hope for their futures.
Expert care is possible thanks to the compassionate investment of our community.
Meet the Alvarez Family, a family reunited and even stronger after trauma
“Being connected to FCS gave us the support needed to keep our faith as we endured the hardest period of our lives.”- Luisa, a San Jose mom
When winter floods ravaged some residential areas of San Jose, families were affected in all kinds of ways. As the Alvarez family dealt with the confusion of displacement, they faced an even more devastating challenge: Separation.
Just prior to the floods, mom Luisa began to experience mood and behavioral instability. The family had not yet had a chance to seek help. Concerned by Luisa’s behavior, social workers assisting families affected by the floods placed Edgar, 15 years old, in a group home.
Struggling to cope with the mother’s sudden onset of mental illness and the son’s placement in the system, the Alvarez family embraced the support of FCS’s counseling and family support services at their son’s school.
The team worked tirelessly on the family’s behalf. The mother was quickly connected with health professionals and learned that her destabilized behavior was the result of a severe eye infection requiring surgery.
With mom on the road to recovery, the parents moved in with extended family. The team helped Edgar and his father to navigate the process and advocate for reunification. At last the day came when they could welcome their son home with hugs and tears of relief and joy.
Your donation strengthens families and ensures a family in crisis is not left to struggle alone.
Meet Martha, a survivor of domestic violence
Martha initially came to FCS through our substance use treatment program. Martha shared with her counselor that her children had been taken from her as a result of her and her partner’s drug use. She also revealed that her partner was abusing her.
Martha showed signs of significant depression. She didn’t see how her life could change.
Recognizing the effects that the loss of her children and the abuse were having on Martha’s overall mental health, her counselor linked Martha with our Domestic Violence Survivor Services program. Martha began to receive individual counseling and safety planning assistance, all at no cost to her, in addition to continuing in treatment for her substance use.
“Now I can see the hell I was living,” Martha says. “Today I'm living a free life: No more abuse, no more damage on my body using drugs, no more separation from my lovely children. I'm dedicating my life to be the best human being that I can be. I’m so thankful to the staff at FCS for believing in me, for being my support when I was weak, for teaching me to live a real life.”
Free services for survivors of domestic violence, made possible by donations from caring members of the community, break cycles of violence and abuse and connect adults and children with circles of support.
Meet Eva, thriving in school after connecting with needed help
In our school services, we have seen an increase in the number of children from extremely low income households. Not just low income, but barely making it from month to month. These families are precarious and under extreme stress trying to stay housed, often on the brink of crisis. Most of the youth our therapist sees are coping with the effects of trauma.
Schools are often where student mental health needs are identified and support is provided. If you have interactions with schools, you’ve probably noticed that over the last 20 years or so schools have increasingly become hubs for all kinds of services, especially mental health.
School-based services are emerging as one of the most important prevention and early intervention strategies for students’ health and well-being. Half of lifetime diagnosable mental health disorders start by age 14. Reaching people early increases the likelihood of a better quality of life in adulthood.
Eva, for example, is a local middle school student one of our school-based therapists has been serving this year. She has been struggling with severe depression and anxiety. Just getting through the day can be a challenge sometimes, leading her to miss school often. Seeking to cope with her severe distress and escape from her reality, she turned to self-harm and considered suicide.
Alarmed, the school activated a support team to provide consistent counseling and case management support for Eva. The team of teachers, school psychologist, Columbia Neighborhood Center service coordinator, and Family & Children Services’ therapist worked together to address Eva’s needs and keep her safe.
Eva continues to experience a great deal of stress at home, yet having access to regular counseling services, where she feels safe expressing herself, having a safety plan for times when life seems too hard, and knowing people are there to help have moved Eva away from the brink. Our therapist works with her to learn to manage her depression and anxiety and to build positive coping skills.
Eva recently shared with our therapist that she would like to become a social worker herself one day. She would like to be there for people dealing with pain, as her support team has been there for her.
Early intervention is key to stemming the onset of more serious mental health conditions. Donations provide expert mental health care for youth in need.
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Did You Know?
- Connects survivors of domestic violence with emotional support, so they know they are not
- Funds a support group session for survivors of domestic violence
- Lets us offer expert counseling and support to an adult in crisis
- Funds individual counseling and parent coaching services, so a youth struggling with anxiety
can recover and grow
- Funds an educational workshop for teachers by FCS’s experts on the effects of emotional
trauma and proven ways to create a supportive, trauma-informed classroom environment
- Funds assessment and initial treatment for a child who is healing from the effects of neglect.
- Helps to provide comprehensive mental health support, including psychiatric care, for a parent
recovering from a mental health crisis
- Funds two months of therapy for a teen coping with anxiety
- Funds support groups for children who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing, providing opportunities to build resilience, interpersonal skills, and confidence
- Empowers a teen to navigate change and build essential emotional and mental health skills for