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Lots Of Love To Give - National Foster Care Month

May 5, 2021

After many years and many cases, there was one story that for reasons Michelle Morgan can’t explain, connected with her. Four siblings. Brothers. The oldest had been in twelve placements by the time he was ten. Knowing their history, and seeing the kids move from place to place to place, Michelle could only imagine how helpless they must have felt, and decided to step in.

Supporting A Youth, Also Means Supporting The Family

February 16, 2021

Our Non Public School staff goes above and beyond to address the unique needs of a student and develop a plan for how he and his family could best be supported.

Mental Illness Among Teens May Be More Common Than You Think: Mark’s Story

January 27, 2021

January is Mental Wellness Month, an example of another opportunity to bring awareness, start conversations, reduce stigma and recognize how vital mental health and wellness is, especially to our youth.

Is your child being bullied?

October 13, 2020

The National Center for Education Statistics cites that at least 20 percent of students ages 12 to 18 report some sort of bullying at school. The effects of bullying can have long-term negative consequences and can color childhood with fear, isolation or social anxiety… and shutdowns due to COVID-19 aren’t helping.

Talking about teen suicide

September 8, 2020

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24. Talking about and dealing with suicide can often be difficult, but teen suicide is a topic too serious to be ignored.

Parenting an LGBTQ+ Youth

June 9, 2020

As a parent, talking about sexuality with your teen can be uncomfortable. And having your teen express to you that they are LGBTQ+ may be overwhelming. That’s why as parents it is so important we come together to talk about these issues and support the LGBTQ+ youth in our homes and community.

Teens and Mental Health

March 7, 2020

Nationally, one in six youth aged 6-17 will experience a mental health disorder each year. If you suspect your teen may be suffering from mental illness symptoms, it’s important to get help right away.

Human Trafficking can happen anywhere

January 23, 2020

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Here in the United States, a common myth is that human trafficking only takes place in other countries, when in fact, that’s not true.

Help your youth transition after a holiday break

January 3, 2019

Holiday breaks can mean fun, celebrations and a chance to rest and recharge. Parties, friends, food and staying up late can be great fun but can also feel disruptive to some. Taking small steps to ease back into day to day routines can make the transition easier for youth that may experience mental health symptoms.

Can feelings of gratitude be good for your teen? The answer is yes!

November, 8, 2019

Living a life full of gratitude can create an environment of positivity, happiness and health. Although teenagers often struggle with anxiety, depression and a sense of “it’s all about me,” practicing gratitude in the home can open the door to an uplifting attitude, kindness and selflessness.

What to expect as your child with ADHD becomes a teenager

October 23, 2019

In addition to hormone changes, higher educational expectations, and social pressures, ADHD symptoms may worsen as a child moves into adolescence.

Addiction: A Family Disease

September 25, 2019

Each September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors Recovery Month to celebrate those who beat addiction and to increase awareness of mental and substance use disorders. In recognition of Recovery Month, we have invited guest blogger Cassidy Webb to tell her story of recovery as a teen and the impact addiction can have on the family.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month

September 13, 2019

Although most youth experience a certain amount of ‘teen angst,’ it’s important to know the factors that can place some teens at a higher risk for suicidal thoughts.

Don’t let stress overshadow senior year

August 13, 2019

With planning and open communication, you can help your senior stay on track and still enjoy what their last year of high school has to offer.

Structure is key to beating summertime symptoms

July 12, 2019

While summer time can be a wonderful break filled with relaxation and down time, it’s important to help teens avoid becoming overwhelmed by boredom or isolation. Even a small amount of structure, communication and planning can help youth stay ahead of symptoms caused by depression and anxiety.

Adverse Childhood Experiences can lead to risk factors in adulthood

April 19, 2019

The ACE Quiz is a result of The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study done in the late 90s. The wide variety of health and social repercussions suggested by the study and the ACE Quiz highlight how important it is to prevent child abuse and ACEs from happening in the first place.

Adolescent moodiness, or Bipolar Disorder?

March 19, 2019

Frequent moodiness can often be attributed to normal adolescent development, but when “normal” behavior is accompanied by a list of other disruptive behavior changes, there may be something more going on.

Why does my teen self-harm?

March 5, 2019

Teens and young adults that lack the ability to handle stress or anxiety may turn to self-harm as a soothing mechanism. While some parents may feel uncomfortable discussing Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI), it shouldn’t be ignored. Self-harm is much more common than you might think.

Teens and Self-Esteem

February 19, 2019

Developing positive self-esteem in the teen years is critical even though it can be a difficult time. High self-esteem will help lay the foundation for a teens future including making healthier choices, accepting and dealing with frustrations, and building the confidence to deal with life’s everyday challenges.

Valentine’s Day and Teens; A Love Hate Relationship?

February 11, 2019

With social pressure already high, mixed with a flurry of hormones and uncertainty, many teenagers find Valentine’s Day more stressful than ever.

Did you know Casa Pacifica is a foster agency?

January 17, 2019

The demand for foster parents, often called resource parents, is high. There are too many youth in need and not enough foster parents to match them with. Fortunately, Casa Pacifica is here to help.

The Positive Effects of Mentoring

January 3, 2019

Often, a remedy to help teens combat life’s uncertainty is a supportive relationship with an adult outside the family, a mentor. This is particularly true for at-risk teens or youth who don’t have a solid relationship with parents or family. January is National Mentoring Month - we will be posting and sharing about the benefits of mentoring and the ways you can impact a child’s life

Set Positive Intentions with Your Teen this New Year

December 27, 2018

New Year’s resolutions are often linked to a desire to somehow get better, look better or feel better. The intention may be positive, but often introducing a strict regimen around one’s body image can do more harm than good – especially for teens. What can teens do to set themselves up for mental wellness in 2019?

Recognizing Your Teen’s Holiday Triggers

December 20, 2018

The holidays introduce a whole series of new stimuli to kids – some of which are wonderful, and some which lead to anxiety and meltdowns. While there’s no sure way to avoid heightened sensitivity and emotion during the season of celebration, it can be very helpful to keep track of exactly what will set kids off. Comforting Anxious Children provides a list of common triggers for kids, as well as solutions parents and families can work with to mitigate stress and panic.

Depression & The Christmas Effect on Young People

December 20, 2018

The holidays come with high expectations for merriment and family fun – which can be torture for a young person dealing with depression. The Christmas effect on young, depressed clients can manifest as anger, withdrawal, aggression or more dangerous behaviors like substance abuse. Not only is the school routine broken for a few weeks – young people, especially teens, can feel forced in to activities and rituals that may seem unnatural to them.

Youth Depression: What’s School Got To Do With it?

December 13, 2018

The holidays are in full force, the school year is reaching its winter peak and the days are shorter – all factors that can have a heavy impact on young people who struggle with depression. This month we’ll be sharing some practical advice and insights to help you work with young clients who suffer from depression.

Reflect on Tech-Related Moodiness This Winter Break

December 4, 2018

These days, it’s difficult to escape from the pull of smartphones, tablets and other technology. Devices can be helpful and fun – but they’re always with us, and they’re always on. Kids and teens feel the constant lure to post personal updates, check their “likes,” respond to a constant influx of messages and scroll infinitely through social media apps. What effect can this endless stream of images and information have on young people?

Introducing Mindfulness to Teens

November 27, 2018

When we think about mindfulness, a lot of different things come to mind – yoga poses, sitting cross legged on a pillow or sipping a steamy, organic tea, for instance. What matters about mindfulness is not the format used to meditate – it’s about tapping into a calm, fluid mental state when things get overwhelming.

Support for Teens with Social Anxiety and Strained Relationships

November 14, 2018

This is an emotionally complex time of the year for children and teens – now that the holidays are approaching, stresses associated with social activities and education are at their peak. Social anxiety affects people of all ages and can be particularly detrimental to adolescents who are establishing early, meaningful relationships, social identity and a sense of belonging among friends and peers.

What Influences General Anxiety in Teens?

November 7, 2018

With seasons changing, school in full force and the blitz of the holidays on the horizon, November is a stimulating, often frenzied time for families – kids and teens are no exception. This month we’ll be sharing some practical advice and insights to help you work with your young clients suffering from anxiety.

Get Ready for #GivingTuesday

November 5, 2018

This year, on the 27th of November, participants worldwide will be set into action and give back to their communities. #GivingTuesday is more than just a date on the calendar. It’s a movement.

Practical Tips to Manage Hyperactivity in Children

October 23, 2018

ADHD in children can be frustrating for the entire family. According to Helpguide, children with ADHD are missing key areas of their executive function – the ability to think, make plans, stay organized and under control, and finish what they start. As a parent, it’s important to recognize that the outbursts of energy, yelling or talking a mile a minute are not voluntary actions. Kids with ADHD need support to help channel their boundless energy into something stable and productive.

Steps to Take When Your Child is a Bully

October 18, 2018

Inflicting harm on other people, repeatedly harassing students or teachers, causing fights and tears at school – none of this is something parents plan for. Yet, for every kid who comes home complaining about a mean, unfair or aggressive classmate, there’s a bully or cohort to blame.

How to Spot the Effects of Bullying

October 11, 2018

The effects of bullying can have long-term negative consequences and can color childhood with fear, isolation or social anxiety. According to ChildMind Institute, bullied children who lack parental guidance or at-home support are more likely to suffer long-term effects. It’s important to develop a vocabulary to fully understand scenarios where children may or may not be the victims of bullying, and if they are, how can parents be most supportive?

When is Group Therapy Right for Your Child?

September 27, 2018

When it comes to mental health issues in children, there is no dispute that individual therapy is crucial. Whether for anxiety, ADHD, trauma, substance abuse or mood disorders like depression, the attention and guidance of an individual therapist is key for treatment and recovery. In some cases, group therapy can be a very beneficial addition to a child’s treatment plan.

Explore the Benefits of Creativity at START

September 18, 2018

Creativity can be a powerful exercise for children and teens dealing with a variety of mental health issues. Owning a creative project, whether it’s a painting, a poem, song or dramatic skit, gives young people a sense of pride and purpose. Not only do art projects allow kids to express skills, creative activities come with a sense of freedom that is difficult to impart in other types of learning. Everyone can be creative – performance and visual arts are not reserved for those who have received special training. In particular, activities like improvisational music, drama, and dance allow kids with mental health issues to safely enact everyday social situations that they might normally find challenging, such as conversation, sharing, focusing and solving problems.

Violent outbursts? Self-harm tendencies? Suicidal ideation? No call is too early.

The media and social landscape surrounding suicide and its stigma have drastically changed in the last decade. And although well-intentioned, the media has inadvertently glorified suicide while trying to inform the public. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for ages 10-34.

The Gift of Charity

September 5, 2018

In 2017, Americans gave more than $410 billion in charitable gifts. And with most nonprofits offering secure online donation options, giving has never been easier. There is no right or wrong when it comes to charity, give according to your heart.

Possible Causes for Aggression in Children

August 28, 2018

Aggression is a complex behavior, and there are a number of possible reasons that underpin aggression in children. Much like having a headache or feeling fatigued, the issue for one person might have a totally different root cause for someone else. In order to treat aggression, it’s important to determine what’s causing it. Child Mind provides a helpful series of possible causes for aggression in children.

Back to School: A Mental Health Trigger

August 23, 2018

While it may seem like a normal, inevitable part of kids’ lives, going to school is a complicated experience that can lead to extreme stress and anxiety. It is no surprise that teens are the most stressed age group in America – with constant supervision and mounting pressure to perform in the classroom, younger kids are also vulnerable to rising stress levels.

3 Ways to Emotionally Prepare Kids to go Back to School

August 14, 2018

The beginning of a new school year comes with a flurry of emotions for kids. Children may have anxiety about social encounters, excitement to set out on a fresh start, or perhaps an undefined sense of agitation and urgency that breaks from the slow summer days. Together, parents and children can take a variety of steps to prepare for the school year.

The Emotional Challenges of Going Off to College

August 7, 2018

Leaving home to go to college is one of the biggest transitions in a young person’s life – and comes with pressure, stress and risks. A recent survey by WebMD and The Jed Foundation shed light on some of the specific mental health challenges that affect teens who are starting college. Not only do today’s teens experience significantly higher stress levels around post-secondary education than their parents did - according to the study, teens’ mental health issues have escalated just in the past five years.

Protecting Teens When Temptation Calls

August 3, 2018

Last month’s arrest of a Thousand Oaks man on suspicion of sexually assaulting five teens, three from Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, came as a relief for administrators of the Camarillo-based foster care facility. Weeks before the June 6 arrest of Mario Gonzalez-Solano, staff members had heard talk about a mystery man who would offer runaway teens free drugs and alcohol, said Vicki Murphy, chief operating officer of Casa Pacifica. Beyond notifying police and warning teens about the danger, there wasn’t much they could do to stop it, Murphy said. “We did know that there was some man, but he had multiple aliases,” Murphy told the Camarillo Acorn last week. “These girls were telling us about it. And we kept asking, ‘Where is this apartment? What’s happening there?’”

It wasn’t the first time officials caught wind of Casa Pacifica teens running away to party, but the recent case raised questions on social media about what security measures are in place at the center and prompted changes at the 25-acre facility on an isolated stretch of Lewis Road. In the wake of the arrest “we strengthened our therapeutic activities and our recreational activities to try to keep (foster teens) here,” Murphy said. Officials also considered hiring security guards for the campus but decided against it. “We contacted a lot of folks (security companies), but we felt like they don’t quite fit with the way we want to manage kids,” Casa Pacifica CEO Steve Elson said.

There are no bars on the windows of Casa Pacifica’s three main residential cottages for foster children or the dorm for foster adults up to age 21, and none of the doors are locked from the outside, he said. Foster teens intent on leaving the facility cannot be physically restrained from doing so unless Casa Pacifica officials determine the child has behavioral problems that could place them in danger. “If clinically it’s determined that their going out into the community is detrimental to them, and if they are under some sort of safety alert . . . then we can put hands on,” Murphy said. “But it doesn’t happen very often.”

As in all schools and institutions that care for children with special needs, like foster kids, Casa Pacific staffers must follow strict protocols and strategies for constraining a teen while reducing physical harm to the youth and to staff personnel, Elson said. “We have developed our own protocols as a result of a lot of years of experience in that area,” he said. Casa Pacifica’s restraining procedures are certified by the Community Care Licensing Division of the state Department of Social Services, which regulates child care facilities. “We actually train most of the group homes in Ventura County with that same approach that CCL has authorized and approved,” Elson said. But Community Care Licensing’s rules require that at least one access gate be kept unlocked. Casa Pacifica has two gates, one in front and one in back. “They can actually turn the lock and leave,” Elson said.

When a teen is determined to leave, talking and trying to reason with them is often the only recourse available to Casa Pacifica staff. “We’re very relational,” Murphy said. “Staff makes relationships with students—that’s what we rely on. You can physically restrain children, but that’s not going to change the behavior. It’s really about talking and saying, ‘Hey, I know you want to leave but let’s talk about it.’” In the recent case, a 17-yearold runaway from Casa Pacifica provided the initial lead that led investigators to the suspect, said Sgt. Ryan Clark, supervisor of the sheriff’s sexual assault crimes unit.

Gonzalez-Solano faces numerous sex-crime charges, including seven counts of committing a lewd act upon a child, four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and one count each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation. He also is charged with one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The suspect pleaded not guilty to all counts at his June 12 appearance in Ventura County Superior Court. Gonzalez-Solano is next scheduled to appear in court Aug. 14 for a pretrial hearing. As of press time he was in custody at the Todd Road Jail in Santa Paula in lieu of $500,000 bail. He had managed to commit his crimes, investigators said, by becoming known among some runaway teens as someone who was willing to provide them with free booze and drugs and a place to stay. Foster teens living in homes and facilities like Casa Pacifica and other group shelters can tap into a network of friends who will help them escape and evade law enforcement, Clark said. In most instances, foster teens run away simply to drink alcohol or do drugs—temptations that also lure non-foster teens— without thinking through the consequences, Murphy said in an interview at Casa Pacifica. “We periodically find out about places where kids are leaving to at night,” she said. “You’ve got to remember, kids aren’t running from us. They’re running to something. So what is that? We try to find out and alert neighbors or people in the community. “But some kids, you can’t just hold them back. You can’t physically keep them from going. But when they come back, we talk about what happened. ‘What other choices could you make,’ and how dangerous it is.” After sheriff’s investigators talked with the 17-year-old runway from Casa Pacifica, they learned Gonzalez-Solano regularly used alcohol and drugs to entice runaway girls in the Camarillo area and take them to hotel rooms in T.O. and Camarillo and to a beach in an unincorporated portion of the county, where he would sexually assault them, according to a news release.

At Casa Pacifica, officials had repeatedly warned foster teens about the dangers of sexual abuse and human trafficking, part of a weekly program about sexual exploitation, Murphy said. “We’ve had some trainers come out, experts in commercially sexually exploited children, and we’ve gone through some training with them, and we’ve adopted their program,” she said. “It’s about working with the adolescents every week . . . giving them a place to talk about it.” Even so, getting any teen to listen for their own good is always a daunting proposition, Murphy said. “We tell them, ‘If you know something, let us know, because someone could get hurt badly,” Murphy said. “And as you know, they did.”

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Does my Kid Have Seasonal Affective Disorder?

July 26, 2018

“Often times, children and adolescents experience an increase in depression and anxiety in the summer months. Increased freedom and lack of structure can lead to an increase in mental health symptoms. A lot of youth experience less social connection in summer leading to increased feelings of loneliness, isolation, and withdrawal which can thus lead to deeper depression and anxiety.” says Lauren Lawson, Psy.D., LMFT, Clinical Program Manager, START Program at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families.

Sad During Summer? Yes.

July 19, 2018

Some Insights on Why Kids Get Summer Depression.

Usually associated with winter, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) also happens in summer. Like winter SAD, summer SAD is also related to light exposure and the body’s circadian rhythms. Psychology Today has an interesting article that explains the “mechanics” behind SAD. If your child or teen seems depressed during summer, it could be SAD. But if you think it may be more than SAD, the START program at Casa Pacifica can help.

Summertime isn’t Happy for Everyone.

July 12, 2018

5 Signs to Know if Your Child has the Summertime Blues

Seasonal Depression in the summer isn’t as common as it is in the winter. Yet, if you think your child may be exhibiting signs and symptoms of summer depression, have a look at this infographic created by the University of Michigan.

My Child Has the Summertime Blues

July 5, 2018

If your child seems depressed now that school is out, you’re not alone. Without the schedule and structure of daily school, many kids and teens might find summertime an emotionally challenging time. has an insightful article with 10 tips for parents to help their children who may be exhibiting signs of summertime depression, or summer seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If your child’s symptoms are more severe, then the START program at Casa Pacifica is a great place to begin to learn how we can help. 

Inpatient Treatment for Severe Seasonal Affective Disorder

July 5, 2018

Without the schedule and structure of daily school, many kids and teens might find summertime an emotionally challenging time. As a healthcare professional, you may be experiencing this as an increase in clients and/or an elevation in your young clients’ symptoms. Usually associated with winter, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) also happens in summer and some of your young clients may be exhibiting signs of summertime depression, or summer seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

DBT: What Is Dialectical Behavior Therapy?

June 26, 2018

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a highly structured program used to provide teens with tools to regulate emotions. This approach has been proven to work for many adolescents suffering from extreme emotional stability, including suicidal ideation and self-harm. The word “dialectical” in DBT refers to the program’s combination of the tenets and methods of mindfulness and of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Warning signs your child needs mental help

June 21, 2018

According to the National Alliance On Mental Illness, 1 in 5 children in the U.S will experience some sort of mental health disorders. Mental health experts have identified some of the warning signs that every parent should not overlook. If your child is showing any of these signs, it may be time to seek professional help.

Suicide and Your Child: What You Need To Know

June 15, 2018

With recent high-profile suicides in the news, don’t be afraid to talk to your teen about this difficult issue. It’s important to keep an open line of communication and create a safe space for your teen to share their fears and feelings.

Mental Health: Depression in Children

June 12, 2018

Adults aren’t the only ones affected by depression. Many people know what depression looks like in adults, but may not be familiar with the warning signs of childhood depression. Know what depression looks like in children.

Five major signs your teen needs residential treatment

June 5, 2018

Will your teenager benefit from residential treatment? When drug abuse and behavioral problems exacerbate the general problems associated with raising a teenager, residential treatment could be a parent’s strongest recourse.

Strategies for a Successful Summer Break

May 31, 2018

Most kids look forward to summer break from school. After the demands of homework, lessons, and tests, it is perfectly fine to unwind and have some fun. However, sometimes kids have been known to turn summer on its head at the expense of their parents. It is no wonder some parents develop anxiety just when summer is drawing near. It is even more daunting for parents who have children who suffer with mental health issues. Kids with anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, and ADHD thrive in a structured routine that is often provided in school. On school break, however, keeping these children on the right path can be a Herculean task. Indeed, all parents want to know how to help their kids to have the most restful and fun summer possible. Below are great tips that will hopefully make the summer break a resounding success for everyone.

Separation Anxiety and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

May 22, 2018

If you are a parent or have witnessed children being raised, you know very well that young children can suffer separation anxiety. An attached figure such as a parent leaving the room is enough for many kids to start screaming. Generally, this is considered a phase that children outgrow. However, when your child does not outgrow the signs of separation anxiety by the time they reach pre-teen or teenage years, they may be showing signs of a mood disorder like disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), characterized by outbursts when the child is disrupted from an activity.

Resources for Child Traumatic Stress

May 15, 2018

Make sure you have the resources you need to overcome traumatic stress in children. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s objective is to improve the standard and accessibility of care and services across the country for traumatized children, as well as their families and communities.

Battles Elementary Connects Parents with Mental Health Resources

May 1, 2018

Resources for mental health awareness made available by Battles Elementary. The administration at Battles Elementary made the effort to provide resources to families for approaching mental health issues following a suicide attempt at the school. Our own Christina Lombard was interviewed in this article by Mathew Burciaga

Coping Skills for Dysregulated Children

April 24, 2018

Caring for children who struggle with emotional dysregulation can be a difficult thing, as small incidents can often elicit prolonged tantrums. This doesn’t mean that a parent has “failed” any more than it means that an emotionally dysregulated child is “bad.” Emotional dysregulation is common in children, particularly those with ADHD or who are on the spectrum, and is often treated most effectively with therapy designed to give children concrete coping skills.

How ADHD Amplifies Emotions

April 10, 2018

Emotional Dysregulation in ADHD

When we think of ADHD, we often think of difficulty sitting still or processing instruction. However, emotional dysregulation, which is often overlooked, is a significant part of living with ADHD as well, and some find it the most difficult part of the condition.

Borderline Personality Disorder: Not Just an Adult Condition

April 5, 2018

BPD beginning in Youth

Borderline Personality Disorder, a condition which impairs a person’s ability to maintain healthy relationships, can start in adolescence, according to a wide body of research. Read more about what BPD looks like in adolescents and how it can be treated.

Casa Pacifica Cottages Provide a Place for Recovery

April 3, 2018

Construction for Camarillo Cottages nearing completion!

At Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, we are getting ready to celebrate the grand opening of two new cottages on our Camarillo campus! These new cottages are part of an effort to expand residential options for adolescents aged 11-17.

Signs of mental illness in your teen

March 15, 2018

Dealing with short-tempered teens can be devastating. Your teen may feel like you do not understand them. As a parent, you should watch out for various symptoms so that you can take appropriate action.

Scout gives peace a chance

March 8, 2018

A peaceful route to the Gold Award!

Casa Pacifica was proud to partner with Ambassador Girl Scout Kristen Johnson on her route to a peaceful demonstration, earning her the coveted Gold Award.

Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow

March 6, 2018

Know what signs to look for.

Sometimes, simply reaching out to a child thinking about suicide can be the difference between a thought and an attempt.

Teen Depression

January 25, 2018

It’s not uncommon to find teenagers feeling down or experiencing the blues at this stage of their life. Adolescence comes with emotional, psychological, physical and social changes, which makes them feel unsettled. There is a difference between typically adolescent blues and clinical depression, however. Teen depression is a very serious mental condition that should be treated as soon possible. This condition affects the way a teenager feels, thinks and behaves, and can lead to physical, emotional and functional problems. Depression can affects teens in a slightly different way than it affects adults, so the symptoms may not be immediately obvious, but being informed on teen depression can make it much easier to spot.

Emotional Dysregulation in Children: The Problem and How to Intervene

January 18, 2018

The Glovinsky Center for the Child and Family has shared a helpful video which focuses on various aspects that contribute to emotional dysregulation in children. Effective emotional regulation in children is one of our top focuses at Casa Pacifica.

Sharing the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. With our Kids

January 15, 2018

On this day in 1929, one of the country’s most renowned heroes was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Born to an unfair world of harsh Jim Crow segregation, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would come to be known the world over for his unrelenting commitment to the American Civil Rights movement and the practice of nonviolent protest.

Why New Year’s Increases Child Anxiety in Anxious Kids

December 28, 2017

Adults aren’t the only ones worried about what 2018 will bring; for many children, the uncertainty that comes along with the New Year along with the abundance of unfamiliar social and sensory stimulation can elevate preexisting anxiety disorders. Read more on why children experience heightened anxiety around New Year’s and how best to help your child work through anxiety.

Holiday Blues and Youth: Teen Depression and Suicide Prevention Awareness

December 19, 2017

As we celebrate the holidays, it’s important to be mindful that for many, especially after a traumatic event such as the death of a loved one, the season brings more pain than joy. This is true of children and teens as well as adults; if your child or teen has recently gone through a difficult period of their life, be sure to keep a close eye on them and pay attention to signs of depression and anxiety in the midst of celebrations.

The Most Effective Interventions to Prevent Adolescent Drug Abuse

December 14, 2017

A new study has revealed some of the most effective methods that can help prevent drug abuse in adolescence. This is a study that was undertaken by researchers from Canada and Pakistan. After reviewing 46 methods, their report was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. To determine which interventions topped the list, they considered individual methods and outcomes, actual effects of the methods, the risk of bias, and methodology, among other vital parameters. This study considered adolescent interventions for the prevention of smoking or use of tobacco, drug abuse, and alcohol use.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Shows Light to Teens Suffering from BPD

December 12, 2017

The teenage years are never easy; in fact, this can be the hardest stage in life for many. As children mature, it is not uncommon for them to harbor a mixture of emotions. Teens struggle with self-image among other issues. With hormones playing an ever-increasing role at this stage, teens may display erratic behavior or react to emotional extremes when dealing with daily issues. These confused feelings may lead to depression and even anxiety. In extreme cases, teens begin harming themselves and may become more at risk for suicide. All the above are symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which is very common among teens.

Holiday Stress

November 30, 2017

With December about to begin, the Holiday Season is upon us, and for many this season of celebration is a tragic and painful reminder of loss. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has resources and guides on how to support children and teens recovering from traumatic grief during the Holiday Season.

Emotional Dysregulation in Children: The Problem and How To Intervene

November 28, 2017

For many parents raising children with emotional dysregulation, knowing when and how to supportively intervene can be difficult to learn. Ira Glovinsky of The Mehrit Centre discusses tactics to provide healthy intervention for children with emotional dysregulation.

Suicide is the 3rd Leading Cause of Death in Youth Ages 10-14

November 16, 2017

If Your Young Clients Need More Care, Casa Pacifica Provides a Full Continuum of Services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published data in 2015, which revealed suicide to be the third most prevalent cause of death for youths between the ages of 10 and 14. Youth suicide is 100% preventable; we MUST do everything possible to reach every child in crisis!

How to Help Teens Manage Their Emotions and Accept Their Feelings

November 16, 2017

We all know that the teenage years come with many challenges. During this phase in life, the brain begins to develop very quickly. This puts the limbic system, a collection of structures in the brain that impacts emotional responses among other things, into either fight, flight, or freeze modes. In such circumstances, the minds of teens can difficulty processing various functions including reason, logic or good judgment. At the same time, there are many things teenagers have to deal with, which can lead to trauma, anxiety or depression. So, it is very important for them to be equipped with the means of coping with these issues.

Women’s Fund Grantees Share How Grants have Changed their Lives

November 14, 2017

This past September 26, members and invited guests of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara gathered at the Fess-Parker Doubletree Hotel to listen to presentations from several recipients of grants totaling over $485,000. This organization is an all-volunteer collective donor group, which currently maintains around 750 members. These members accumulate their collective donations into substantial grants that are then bestowed to nonprofit groups, which address the needs of women, children and families in southern Santa Barbara County and throughout the region.

As a Partner in The Treatment of Your Clients, We Can Do More To Help Traumatized Youth.

November 2, 2017

According to a collection of statistics published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 90% of all children who took their own life had an underlying mental health condition at the time of their suicide. As a Partner in The Treatment of Your Clients, We Can Do More To Help Traumatized Youth.

Halloween Safety Tips

October 31, 2017

Halloween is an exciting time for both kids and grownups, but is also a time for families to be extra careful when it comes to safety. Trick-or-treating is a pleasant time that children look forward to each year, but can suddenly turn into a negative experience if someone is injured. To ensure your child will have a fun and safe trick-or-treating experience, here are some Halloween safety tips you can use to help keep your family safe.

Helping Your Child or Teen Cope with Trauma

October 26, 2017

Trauma can come in many forms and can be extremely difficult for young people to deal with. Fortunately, Dr. John A Daller has put together some helpful points for how you can help as a parent.

Adam Levine Talks About ADHD

October 19, 2017

Adam Levine is the lead singer for the critically acclaimed band Maroon 5. He has helped to make a lasting mark on the contemporary music scene. Levine doubles up as the principal songwriter and also plays guitar for the group. It has been said that Levine lends Maroon 5 its distinctive sound. However, Adam Levine is also an adult struggling with the symptoms of ADHD.

Everything You Should Know About Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

October 12, 2017

Temper tantrums are inevitably a part of childhood and parenting. But how do you know if your child’s tantrum is just a regular part of growing up, or if a more serious condition may be the root cause of the issue?

Teen Suicide: “The Time for Secrecy is Over”

September 28, 2017

With the rate of major depression in teens on the rise, the number of suicide attempts among teens and adolescents is on the rise. Teen suicide is an uncomfortable topic for many parents, but we can’t afford to keep the subject under taboo any longer. Though some worry that talking about suicide can serve as a catalyst for at-risk youth, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Often, life-saving help starts with a conversation.

Foster Parents Information and Services

September 14, 2017

The importance of stable foster homes in the lives of children and teens. At Casa Pacifica, we understand that families are the foundation of communities, and children need stable and nurturing environments to mature into healthy adults. Because of this, connecting children in need with healthy and loving foster parents is a crucial goal of ours.

Casa Pacifica Agency Kicks Off Foster Care Reforms

September 7, 2017

This past August, Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families received a license from the State of California to begin two new short term residential treatment programs for foster youth. These programs, meant to provide children and teens with the help that they need while facilitating a quick transition into finding a permanent family home, is one part of a statewide Foster Care reform effort.

How to Help a 6-Year-Old with Anger Management

August 24, 2017

Oftentimes, teaching a child who is too young to fully understand or communicate their emotions to control their anger is a difficult process. This is especially true when dealing with children who are struggling with emotional dysregulation. In addition to therapy, there are steps you can take in the home to help a child learn to regulate his or her anger in a healthy manner.

Five Benefits of Dogs in Children’s Mental Health Services

August 22, 2017

There’s a reason that dogs are known as “Man’s Best Friend.” Centuries of companionship have proven the fidelity, love, and intelligence that dogs are capable of, and any dog owner will tell you how comforting dogs can be in the midst of trying circumstances. Studies have shown that dogs have a positive impact in therapeutic settings for people of all ages, and particularly in children’s mental health services.

Treating your Teen with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

August 17, 2017

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, originally developed to treat Borderline Personality Disorder, has a wide range of applications and can help a teen or child learn to cope with stressful situations as well as learn to properly regulate emotions. Read more about the benefits of DBT.

Causes of Teenage Suicide

August 15, 2017

What drives teens to take their life? Stress, depression, and substance abuse are all common factors in teenage suicide. If you are concerned that your child may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, now is the time to act. Contact Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families today for a free and confidential screening to see how we can help.

More than Mood Swings: Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

July 27, 2017

All too often, Borderline Personality Disorder is misunderstood as common, manageable mood swings, leading sufferers to be treated as if they are weak or not trying hard enough when emotional regulation becomes difficult. In reality, however, BPD is a serious condition that makes everyday obstacles seem insurmountable.

We Know How to Prevent Youth Suicide. And We Must.

July 20, 2017

It is possible to prevent youth suicide consistently

Food, Wine, and Beer For a Cause

July 11, 2017

The 2017 Casa Pacifica Angels Food, Wine, and Brew Festival was a smashing success! This June, thousands of people filed into this sold-out event not only to participate in Casa Pacifica’s largest annual fundraiser, but also to explore the best in local food, wine, and beer.

For the more difficult kids that you treat in your practice, the START program is a great resource

July 6, 2017

Every mental health professional needs an inpatient resource for one or more of their clients. It happens at some point during their practice. What facility do you work with, or recommend for your young patients and families?

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Trafficking

June 26, 2017

Today is the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Trafficking. Casa Pacifica aids youth and families battling substance abuse.

Deconstructing Oppositional Defiant Disorder

June 22, 2017

The many sides of ODD. Not all children experience Oppositional Defiant Disorder in the same way. Behaviors can vary greatly, as can treatments.

Music Therapy – Giving Every Child a Chance to be Heard

June 21, 2017

Around the world, music is celebrated for its beauty and power of expression. It is the universal language, understood and loved by all, regardless of their differences. At Casa Pacifica, we tap into the power of music to bring a sense of empowerment and hope to the lives of struggling children.

Teen Leads Suicide Prevention Effort

June 15, 2017

18-year old Encinitas High School student Kassidey Kanner recently started a campaign seeking the installation of suicide-prevention signs along the Leucadia rail line after a man stepped in front of a moving train in March of this year.  Thousands of people have signed her online petition urging Mayor Catherine Blakespear to invest in signs displaying a hotline number and a message offering help to anyone contemplating suicide.

Childhood PTSD - Calming the Storm within a Child’s Heart

June 13, 2017

For too many children, trauma is an invisible reality of daily life. It exists in quiet neighborhoods, behind closed doors and sealed lips. Neglect. Domestic violence. Sexual abuse. The loss of a loved one. As a result of this victimization, 5% of adolescents experience the symptoms of PTSD at some point in their pre-adult lives.

Disordered Eating and Emotion Dysregulation Among Adolescents and Their Parents

June 13, 2017

What are the risk factors for Disordered Eating and Emotion Dysregulation among adolescents, and how do they relate to family history and habits? These questions and more are explored in a recent study from BioMed Central Psychology.

Join Us for the 4th Annual Yummie Top Chef Award Dinner!

May 23, 2017

Are you ready for the 2017 Yummie Top Chef Award Dinner? That’s right, it’s time to gear up for the Yummie Top Chef Award Dinner! Hosted at California State University Channel Islands by the Cassar family, this annual dinner is an exposure to the best that California has to offer in food and wine, as well as a fun way to support for Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families.


May 18, 2017

Casa Pacifica began as a center built to offer residential treatment to children and teens in need of intensive therapeutic care. Though residential treatment is still a cornerstone of our mission, and though it has proven effective for many of our patients, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For many young people, staying with family is the best path to recovery. Because of this, we have expanded our reach over the past 23 years to include programs tailored to youth for whom residential treatment is not a viable option.