History of Sierra Child & Family Services Print E-mail

Sierra Child and Family Services was founded in 1988 to provide residential and educational services for emotionally disturbed children in Northern California. The program began on a five acre ranch in Placerville, originally serving six boys in residential care and in the on-site nonpublic school.


In 1989 a second residential facility was added, and in 1990 a third. This brought the total number of residential students to 18, and opened the door to more classrooms and more students served during the day. By 1992, the nonpublic school was educating nearly 30 students. Also in the late 1980's, the agency founded a foster family agency known as Sierra Homefinding, which at its peak provided foster homes for nearly 20 children in El Dorado and Sacramento counties.


The 1990's were a difficult time for Sierra and many similar programs in California. Decreased government funding and a dramatic spike in the California insurance market slowed the agency's growth and lead to the closure of the foster family program. However, despite these challenges, the quality of care remained, and this paved the way to exciting new ventures to start the new millennia.


The first of the new additions was an outpatient clinic with wraparound services, opened in the summer of 2001. Through this clinic, children from El Dorado county receive community-based mental health services aimed at helping them avoid more institutional placements, like group homes or incarceration. These programs have been proven nationwide to be very effective in producing long-term success with troubled youth and their families.


In 2005, the nonpublic school campus in Placerville could no longer meet the educational demands of the many districts served, and a satellite campus was opened. The focus of the new campus was to continue to provide highly structured educational services in a somewhat less restrictive setting, better meeting the needs of children as they approach a return to public schools. The program has been very successful in its goal of reintegrating children with their home schools.


As we look into the future, there are many challenges ahead, and we look forward to continued innovation and growth to meet those challenges. Sierra Child and Family Services is honored to have worked with over 2000 families over the past 20 years, and we are excited to see what the next 20 years may bring!