Our Mental Health Services offer therapeutic services to children 0-21 years of age including specialized Birth to 5 services as well as trauma specific supports. Our program works collaboratively with our Early Education sites, Charter Schools and our other programs in Students and Community Services, supporting the child or youth along with their caregivers and teachers.
In 2021, through a Cedars-Sinai grant PLN’s Mental Health team spearheaded the Skid Row Collaborative for providers working with families experiencing the trauma of homelessness. Learn more on this initiative here.
Family services provides comprehensive support services to families with children from birth to 21 and are designed to prevent child abuse and strengthen families. Family Services provides in-home counseling, case management, individual therapy, couples therapy food and motel vouchers, clothing and utility assistance, parenting classes, parent advocacy classes, support groups and referrals for mental health services, medical care, job training and legal assistance. Family services also sponsors community-wide events that promote family socialization and connections.
Para Los Niños, mental health staff support our students, and students across Los Angeles. Three years ago, Daibelis “Dee” Yerena, LMFT, Intake Coordinator & Therapist at Para Los Niños, was referred a family from LAUSD whose daughter was seriously struggling in her kindergarten class. Every day the family would get a call that Lucia* had left her class, had cursed at a teacher or student, or had thrown things out of anger. This impacted the whole family, and was threatening even their employment, as mom had to keep leaving to pick Lucia up.
The family felt that the school had labeled Lucia as a “bad kid” and wasn’t supporting them. Lucia was falling behind at school due to all the time lost for discipline. Dee developed a plan, and started individual therapy sessions with Lucia, family sessions with Mom, Dad, Lucia and her little sister, and set meetings with the school to ensure Lucia was safe and on track.
Play and art based therapy sessions with Lucia allowed Dee to see the outbursts and connect with Lucia – building a safe and trusting relationship. Dee discovered that mom and dad often fought and Lucia was mirroring this behavior – just as her younger sister was starting to mirror her. Dee met with the parents for couple’s therapy to help them communicate, build conflict resolution skills, and strengthen their relationship. “Doing all the sessions – individual, couples, and family therapy really gives you the context to really support the family,” says Dee of the benefit of PLN’s integrated model.
Dee also met with teachers weekly, and supported the parents in formally requesting an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for Lucia to have the extra support she needed. With the IEP, Lucia was granted more time for subjects and placed in a smaller class setting. “From there we started to see more and more progress,” says Dee. “She started thriving academically, and in the classroom because of the relationship she was building with the teacher, and she was now seeing school as a support – not a threat.”
Lucia’s parents also now had the tools at home to connect with each other and with Lucia, to better support her. By June 2020, knowing the family was on the right track and trust was restored, Dee was able to close the case.
Recently, Dee received a call from Lucia’s mom, “Mom called to share how she and her husband were doing well in their relationship, and that Lucia was doing well academically, that she was thriving.”
Hours of mental health sessions for children, youth, and families
Children and families received education and support from our Student & Community Services teams
primary household language
families annual income is under $25,000
parents do not have a high school diploma