A Major Success: Champions for Children & Families, Tucson

Held on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at the DoubleTree at Reid Park, this year's Champions for Children & Families Tucson luncheon was the best, yet!

With over 400 guests and 10 sponsors preliminary count puts your support at $54,000! And we're still counting online and mailed guest donations. Thank you for all you do to support children and families in Arizona! Thank you for helping us building a community where all children can reach their full potential.

Our Honorees

We were so honored to recognize the work of so many people in the community. To read more about this year's winners, visit Champions / Tucson page.

The Giving Heart Award Winner 

  • SARSEF

Gabe Zimmerman Emerging Champion Award Nominees and Winners

  • Jenny Douglas and Crissi Blake
  • Joseph Luevano
  • Cassandra McCord
  • More Than a Bed, Kristy & Ron Deakin, and Grace Stocksdale (Winners)

Champion for Children & Families Award Nominees and Winners

  • Cyndi Dwyer
  • Larry Gonzalez
  • Susan Stansberry
  • Julie Seidl
  • Nandi Muhammad
  • Kelli Workman
  • Angelica Elias & Edward Casillas (Winners)

Martha K. Rothman Lifetime Achievement Award Nominees and Winner

  • John Hutter
  • Just Kids, Inc.
  • Craig LeCroy
  • Gina Murphy-Darling
  • The Honorable Karen Adam, ret. (Winner)

Special Thanks

Special thanks to our presenters and speakers, Barbara Atwood, Christina Cutshaw, Deja Foxx, Elliot Glicksman, Mary Swallow, and Ross Zimmerman. Thank you to Elena Thorton for donating her talents with photography. 

Thank You to our Sponsors

Tucson Electric Power as our Partner Sponsor!

Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment, Learning A to Z, Lovitt & Touche, R&A CPA’s and Technology Solutions as your Leader Sponsors!

Arizona Child Care Association, LeCroy & Milligan, The Peter DeLuca Real Estate Team at Long Realty, the Ohio Children’s Foundation, and Salon Nouveau as our Friend Sponsors!

Julie Rosen Joins Leadership at Child & Family Resources

IMG_5923.jpg

Julie P. Rosen, M.S., L.P.C. joins the leadership of Child & Family Resources as the Vice President for Family and Community Services.

Julie brings over 20 years of experience in non-profit management, program development, clinical management, and employee and leadership development. As Vice President and a Licensed Professional Counselor, Julie has lead programs to be thriving, multi-million dollar, statewide operations. Previously, Julie served as Vice President for Chicanos Por La Causa where she dramatically improved the outcomes of the program. Julie had sole responsibility for the day-to-day operations, selection and development of the team members, and both clinical and financial matters.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Child and Family Resources as their mission matches my life work. I’m excited to serve Arizona by providing families with the tools they need to thrive.” said Julie.

At Child & Family Resources, Julie will oversee the statewide work of five programs, including Healthy Families, Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Building Bright Futures, Community-Based Prevention, and the Arizona Early Intervention Program.

“Julie brings a passion for the children and families that will strengthen our team, and deepen the great work we do to build strong communities where children can reach their full potential,” said Eric Schindler, President and CEO of Child & Family Resources. 

Keep kids safe! Car Seat Installation Checks.

When installed and used correctly, child safety seats and safety belts can prevent injuries and save lives.

Child safety seats can reduce fatal injury by up to 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers. (Safe Kids Worldwide) Unfortunately, 73 percent of car seats across the country are used or installed incorrectly, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children. (Safe Kids Worldwide)

Healthy Families, a program of Child & Family Resources, has 4 technicians trained in proper car seat installation. We are able to install car seats for anyone in the community and we are able to do car seat checks to make sure the car seat presently being used isn’t expired, recalled, correct fit, or correctly installed. 

Friday, February 17th Car Seat Clinic

If you or anyone needs a car seat or check please fill out the form above and send it back to Serina Cota at scota@cfraz.org. She will then call you to set up an appointment for installation or check.  

With an appointment, installations/checks happen every 3rd Friday from 11:30-1:30,

Please note the car seats are for children newborns to 60 lbs. Please fill out the form completely so we can let you know if your child will be the right fit for the car seat.  

Over the next year, with funds and support from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety grant, Healthy Families’ 13 National Child Passenger Safety Program certified technicians will provide and properly install 200 free car seats to families in the Healthy Families program. Using the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines and "SafeKids" training program, Healthy Families will also educate 800 families in the community on the importance of child restraint systems (car or booster seat) for all children under eight years old and 4'9" tall.

The Car Seat Safety Program will serve Kingman, Bullhead City, Yuma, Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Tucson, Nogales, Sierra Vista, and Safford.

Champions for Children & Families, Phoenix

Nearly 150 attendees gathered together for the 2016 Champions for Children & Families Dinner on December 8th at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel in Phoenix.

Guests mixed and mingled to the sounds of the jazz trio, Jazzola, and learned more about the mission and work of Child & Family Resources during an inspirational program, followed by our Champions for Children & Families Awards presentation.

Hosted by our emcee, Nicole Crites of AZFamly TV3, guests heard an emotional testimonial by Desiree Gutierrez, a recent graduate of our Maricopa Center for Adolescent Parents program, about how it had helped change her life. We then celebrated the winners of our 2016 Champions Awards who included Ava Castro with the Giving Heart Award, Valley Leadership Class 34 with the Gabe Zimmerman Emerging Champion Award, Carol Knight and Colleen Walski with the Champion for Children & Families Award, and finally, Nadine Mathis Basha with the Martha K. Rothman Lifetime Achievement Award.

Thank you to all of our winners, guests, and sponsors who made this year’s event so very special!

Great Things: Three Stories

Andrea Vasquez

Andrea joined Child & Family Resources' Youth Empowered for Success (YES) as a student in high school. She participated as an active member of the group, until she assumed a leadership role as a Youth Mentor, helping to lead her school and team members in community building projects. 

Now, she is actively pursuing a degree in social work at Arizona State University. Read ASU's article about her -- including the role YES played in her career decisions: Dreamer Proves Hard Work Pays Off. 

>> Learn more about YES


Kathy and Katia

Katia's birth took an unexpected turn -- already diagnosed with a heart murmur, Katia's heart beat slowed dangerously during delivery and doctors rushed Kathy into emergency C-section. Katia was born with facial palsy, a heart murmur, deafness, and  breathing challenges to due to issues with her trachea . It was nothing like what she and her husband had imagined, but Kathy says, "She was perfect for us." Katia was a feisty baby, showing a strong will to thrive, and she grew into a little girl who loved to dance, dress up, and put on makeup. 

Kathy and family joined Child & Family Resources' Healthy Families program, when Katia was a baby. Roxanne, their Family Support Specialist, was there to encourage them all to do well, and guide the family through normal stages of development. She even helped Kathy guide Katia through potty training. 

Kathy and Katia graduated from Healthy Families. Last year, Katia started school where she continues to shine. Healthy Families will always be a part of their experience. ""Roxanne is a friend," Kathy said, "I loved working with her."

>> Learn more about Healthy Families


Quality Early Care

We already know that one of the great barriers to employment is finding quality child care, but it's not as commonly acknowledged as a barrier to education, as well (although, there is some gaining acknowledgement of the issue). Yet, at Child & Family Resources, we know that one of the big reasons that young mothers fail to complete education is because of a lack of access to quality child care.

Child & Family Resources' Maricopa Center for Adolescent Parents (MCAP) has eliminated that barrier, providing a free, on-site, accredited, and four-star rated, on-site Early Learning Center. The Early Learning Center is directly across the hall from the classrooms, allowing mother the opportunity to check in on her child and participate in special projects or festivities, like Halloween! While mothers pursue their High School Equivalency, their children are getting a head start on their education, because highly skilled teachers are providing an environment that will lay a strong foundation for all of their future learning. 

>> Learn more about MCAP
>> Learn more about Quality Child Care

Diana Jimenez-Young Wins Heart of a Champion Award for her Life-long Work to Prevent Teen Suicide

On Tuesday, October 18, 2016, Diana Jimenez-Young was awarded “Heart of a Champion” by the Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition (AZSPC).  

Diana has dedicated over 10 years to suicide prevention. Since 1996, Diana has worked with Child & Family Resources as a leader in the field of prevention, working with teen parents, children, families and youth, as well as in community mobilization and development. She currently serves as the Program Director of Youth Empowered for Success (YES), a youth leadership development and universal prevention program that mobilizes the power of youth to create conditions for success in schools and communities.

A Tucson native, Diana graduated from Sunnyside High School before attending University of Arizona for a Bachelors degree in Family Studies. She received a Masters degree in Social Work from Arizona State University.

As a suicide credentialed preventionist in the state of Arizona, Diana is also a Master Trainer in the area of suicide intervention and prevention, using the curriculums of Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), SafeTALK and QPR since 2006. She is also currently in the process of becoming certified in Psychological Autopsies through the American Association of Suicidology.

“Suicide prevention is not just about saving lives, its’ about creating a community where open dialogue about suicide creates compassion, understanding and safety for those in need of the help.  I am proud to be part of the work!” says Diana.

The AZSPC acknowledges trainers who have demonstrated a personal passion and/or established an organizational commitment to build and/or sustain suicide-safer communities by raising awareness that suicides are preventable and that prevention is a shared responsibility where every person has the potential to make a difference and save a life. The Annual AZSPC Hope Conference was held in Phoenix at the Black Canyon Conference Center on October 18, 2016.  

To learn more about teen suicide prevention programming, visit our Teen page

Diana with Heather Brown, Prevention Administrator at Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care

Diana with Heather Brown, Prevention Administrator at Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care

Corner Office: Healthy Families Celebrates 25 Years

(L to R): Kate Whitaker, National Healthy Family America; Pauline Pauline Haas-Vaughn, Child & Family Resources Statewide Program Director for Healthy Families; and Esthela Navarro, Great Kids, Inc. 

(L to R): Kate Whitaker, National Healthy Family America; Pauline Pauline Haas-Vaughn, Child & Family Resources Statewide Program Director for Healthy Families; and Esthela Navarro, Great Kids, Inc. 

25 years ago, Arizona became a pioneer, and for once, led the nation in doing something innovative! We became one of the first states on the mainland to implement Healthy Families, a now proven, and then promising program that promotes healthy child development, and prevents child abuse and neglect.

Thanks to the leadership of advocates, including Child & Family Resources staff (then known as Tucson Association for Child Care), the first Healthy Families teams began in Tucson and Prescott. Recently, the several hundred Healthy Families coaches, supervisors, administrators along with state government officials, gathered in Phoenix to celebrate this silver anniversary.

The Healthy Families model is a type of home visitation service. In essence, trained coaches provide mentoring and support to interested young mothers and fathers, at no cost, and in the couple’s own home. These counselors visit periodically (more at first and then scale back as per need and parental request), and use an established research proven method to build trust and then help parents gain confidence and skills. For a fraction of the cost of foster care, or residential care – the frequent result of children being removed from their homes – we can prevent child maltreatment and promote children’s success.

Child & Family Resources is one of the two largest providers of Healthy Families in Arizona. Providing these kinds of cost effective interventions to parents of infants and young children is one of the smartest ways to ensure our mission of building strong communities where children can reach their full potential.

Employees from across the state gathered on Tuesday, September 27th to celebrate  of the work Arizona has done for children and families. Here's to many more years to come! 


Eric Schinder, Ph.D.
President and CEO

Since 2005, Dr. Eric Schindler has been the President and Chief Executive Officer  for Child & Family Resources, Inc.  Dr. Schindler received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona in 1982. After internship training in child and family psychology at U.C. Davis, and postdoctoral training in pediatric psychology in Chicago, he has spent over 30 years working in Tucson community settings as an administrator, director, teacher and practitioner.  A licensed psychologist since 1984, he also served as an adjunct instructor in Family Studies at the University of Arizona for many years. 

Previously, Dr. Schindler served for nine years as the Director of Clinical Services for La Frontera Center, Inc., a comprehensive community behavioral healthcare organization, where he was also the Director of Training for the APA approved Southern Arizona Psychology Internship Consortium. He maintained a  private practice in psychotherapy for 20 years prior to assuming the leadership of Child & Family Resources.

Cindy Quenneville Welcome Reception

Thank you to all of the great friends and supporters who joined us at the home of Carmella Dodge for a lovely evening of food and welcome for our new Vice President for Family and Community Services, Cindy Quenneville.

Guests enjoyed delicious light fare prepared by Carmella, along with a brief presentation about Child & Family Resources by President & CEO, Dr. Eric Schindler. Great conversation flowed and many new friends were made. Thank you to all who could join us!

Corner Office: We’ll Never Achieve our Missions by Running Great Programs

Let’s be honest. A traditional agency model, based on providing top-notch services to a limited number of eligible clients isn’t sufficient to make a meaningful impact for most social problems.

Consider for example the fact that less than one in six children in our communities attend quality early childhood education. If we know that the best way to promote children’s potential is ensure that they enter school ready, then we have to make sure more children under five have access to quality preschool and early childhood education.

None of our current programming is geared towards this specific goal. Our services educate parents on the importance of quality early childhood education; we work with childcare professionals to become quality early childhood education – all necessary and powerful programs—but none of them specifically ensure all Arizona children access to education at a critical time in their development.

Getting to scale that large requires a more seismic shift at the policy and community-values level, not finding a few more dollars to increase slots at a few programs (no matter how well run, effective and appreciated they are).

As leaders and advocates for children and families, we need to redefine our roles to include political advocacy. As leaders, we must commit our time to meetings with city council members, mayors, campaign funders, community collaborators, and pollsters in order to affect changes in legislation, because meaningful change and achieving our goals will only happen when our elected leaders have children and family-centric priorities. 

Human-serving organizations like Child & Family Resources and their supporters need to become increasingly more involved in cause-driven political campaigns.

Please stay tuned in the upcoming election cycle for opportunities when you can also join in the effort by voting on legislation that will truly change the state of Arizona. 


Eric Schinder, Ph.D.
President and CEO

Since 2005, Dr. Eric Schindler has been the President and Chief Executive Officer  for Child & Family Resources, Inc.  Dr. Schindler received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona in 1982. After internship training in child and family psychology at U.C. Davis, and postdoctoral training in pediatric psychology in Chicago, he has spent over 30 years working in Tucson community settings as an administrator, director, teacher and practitioner.  A licensed psychologist since 1984, he also served as an adjunct instructor in Family Studies at the University of Arizona for many years. 

Previously, Dr. Schindler served for nine years as the Director of Clinical Services for La Frontera Center, Inc., a comprehensive community behavioral healthcare organization, where he was also the Director of Training for the APA approved Southern Arizona Psychology Internship Consortium. He maintained a  private practice in psychotherapy for 20 years prior to assuming the leadership of Child & Family Resources.

Cindy Quenneville Joins Leadership at Child & Family Resources

Cindy Quenneville joins the leadership of Child & Family Resources as the new Vice President for Family and Community Services.

Cindy brings over twenty-five years of experience working in the non-profit and corporate sector in Phoenix, Arizona. Most recently she served as Chief Executive Officer for the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, where she significantly broadened the service capacity, by expanding the Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic in addition to the Center’s Wellness programs.

Cindy has a demonstrated track record of strong community involvement and service. During her tenure as Vice President at the Desert Mission John C. Lincoln, she oversaw community revitalization efforts of a 12-acre blighted area which lead to a 26% decline in crime in the targeted neighborhood. She also led efforts to implement new awareness events, build community ties, and unite programs for the benefit of the people served in the community.

“I am excited to return to the work that is my personal passion—working with families,” said Cindy. “It is an honor to be associated with such a wonderful organization whose mission continues to focus on providing children and their families the tools they need for success.”

At Child & Family Resources, Cindy will oversee the statewide work of five programs, including Healthy Families, Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Building Bright Futures, Community-Based Prevention, and the Arizona Early Intervention Program.

“We are excited to have such a strong community leader join our team. She will be a valuable asset in continuing the great work we do, furthering our mission to build strong communities where children can reach their full potential,” said Eric Schindler, President and CEO of Child & Family Resources. 

Congratulations, Graduates

Across the state, we're celebrating the hard work of families in our Healthy Families program. 

Healthy Families Arizona is an accredited, nationally recognized home visitation program. It is a free and voluntary program designed to provide child development information, parenting skills and family enhancement weekly in families in their homes during pregnancy and after the baby is born.

The home visitors, known as Family Support Specialists, are caring, skilled and knowledgeable. They are dedicated to serving families and are experts in creating relationships that promote confidence and personal growth. 

We focus on the power of parenting to enhance the lives of children and their families.

When our families graduate out of the program, somewhere around 3 years old, we celebrate the foundation work the family has done to prepare their child for life-long success. Please enjoy the great celebrations from across the state! 

Pinal County 

Pinal County celebrated 9 families this year! 

Pima County 

Pima County celebrated 28 families! They worked hard for many years; we're proud of the good work they've done. 

Families work very hard for years. Congrats to them, their hard work, and the staff who have made such a difference!

Don't just take our word for it -- enjoy this short video where families share their experiences with Healthy Families. 

Corner Office: Mission Update. What does Child & Family Resources do?

What does Child & Family Resources do? A fair question any client or donor might ask. Well, there are a few ways we could talk about our work....

We could easily talk about the programming we provide to families. About how we work in-homes with caregivers to become the best parents they can be—empowering and educating caregivers to nurture positive growth in their own children. We are part of the foundation families build to become healthy and thriving.

Or, we could talk about the 2,200 trainings we offer statewide each year to childcare professionals, the people who play an integral role in the intellectual, physical, and emotional development of our children, which doesn’t even touch on the countless hours of technical assistance we provide to in-home providers and centers. We are part of the toolkit early childhood educators use to make a lasting positive impression on all aspects of a child’s development.

We could wrap up talking about our community-based programming working with teenagers in schools to become healthy teens who make safe choices about risky options like sex, drugs, and alcohol.  We are part of the reason a teen will make a choice today that helps them prepare for tomorrow. 

We do all of those great things, every day. We also do so much more than that.

Looking at the cumulative power of all of our programs, unifying each is a very fundamental mission:

At Child & Family Resources we build strong communities where children can reach their full potential

At Child & Family Resources we build strong communities where children can reach their full potential

We do this by using effective prevention and education strategies with families, teens, and early educators

We are so proud to announce this as our new mission statement. Over the past several months, our Board of Directors, with input from many staff, took time to reflect on the true impact of our work. 

There are so many great programs at Child & Family Resources, we're very happy to have a short and wonderful answer. What does Child & Family Resources do? We build strong communities where children can reach their full potential. 


Eric Schinder, Ph.D.
President and CEO

Since 2005, Dr. Eric Schindler has been the President and Chief Executive Officer  for Child & Family Resources, Inc.  Dr. Schindler received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona in 1982. After internship training in child and family psychology at U.C. Davis, and postdoctoral training in pediatric psychology in Chicago, he has spent over 30 years working in Tucson community settings as an administrator, director, teacher and practitioner.  A licensed psychologist since 1984, he also served as an adjunct instructor in Family Studies at the University of Arizona for many years. 

Previously, Dr. Schindler served for nine years as the Director of Clinical Services for La Frontera Center, Inc., a comprehensive community behavioral healthcare organization, where he was also the Director of Training for the APA approved Southern Arizona Psychology Internship Consortium. He maintained a  private practice in psychotherapy for 20 years prior to assuming the leadership of Child & Family Resources.

Congrats MCAP Grads!

More than 100 friends, family, and supporters all came together on the evening of Thursday, June 23rd to celebrate the 2016 graduating class of the Maricopa Center for Adolescent Parents (MCAP), a program of Child & Family Resources. Held at Bethany Bible Church in Phoenix, the event celebrated the achievements of 15 young moms who showed courage and determination in completing their high-school education, learning life skills and healthy parenting skills, and preparing for college and career.

Interim Program Director Wendy Puga welcomed guests to the special occasion and introduced former MCAP Program Director Joy Leveen to take the stage. In candid and sometimes humorous fashion, Joy confessed that she had no grand words of wisdom to impart on the graduates – rather that they were already an inspiration to so many, and for them to never give up on their goals. 

One by one, a handful of students took to the stage to share how much the MCAP program had meant to them, but each choked back tears, barely getting a few words out. Their deep gratitude and sincerity could be felt throughout the room. With more heartfelt remarks by Jocelyn Dustan, MCAP’s Instructor, and Tabitha Fisher, Director of MCAP’s Early Learning Center, the ceremony finished strong with the moving of the tassels and roaring applause.

Congrats to this year's graduates

Denisse Acosta
Emeli Bautista
Destiny Branch
Kristal Casas
Jessica Castillo

Jocelyn Castillo
Kaylanna Etsitty
Keniarely Gamez
Marisol Garcia
Erica Higgins

Arlin Lepe
Cristina Lopez
Breanna Skenandore
Esperanza Traslavina
Marisol Valencia

Thank you

The special evening wouldn’t have been possible without the generous sponsorship of Fry’s Food Stores and the donation of photography by Jim and Elena Thornton.

We’d also like to recognize the valuable support of the many corporations and individuals who have helped the MCAP Program change young lives for over 22 years. They include APS, the Helena Harvey Endowment via Arizona Community Foundation, Maine Community Foundation, TJX Foundation, Walmart, IntelDiamondbacks Charities, Valley Anesthesiology Foundation, Phoenix Rotary 100, National Association of Women Business Owners Phoenix Chapter, Women’s Enterprise FoundationFirst Things First, Thunderbirds Charities, City of Phoenix Community Development Block Grant, and the Arizona Child Abuse Prevention License Plate Fund.

Honoring LGBTQ People as Equal: A Statement of Inclusion

At Child & Family Resources, we are proud to join Healthy Teen Network in their Statement of Inclusion for the teens and adults in the LGBTQ community. To Choose love-based responses—not fear—to honor our common humanity. Honor #LGBTQ youth as equals. #PrideMonth #Youth360. 

The most recent senseless act of terror based in fear and hate affirms this call to action to let love reign over fear. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, the people of Orlando, and the LGBTQ community around the world.

“There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt... If we're in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we're in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.” 

- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Healthy Teen Network declares it way past time to let go of fear of LGBTQ people once and for all and let love reign in its stead. Fear leads people to be intolerant of those different from us, including differences in our sexual orientations and gender identities. Fear leads people to say hateful things about others so as to safeguard our beliefs, and thus ourselves. Fear leads to judgment. And fear leads to violence.

Fear manifests itself in name-calling, bullying, and physical harm directed toward people who identify as a member of an other than heterosexual sexuality- or gender identity-based culture group (including, lesbian, gay, bisexual, two-spirit, trans, intersex and queer cultures). Fear manifests itself in health and socioeconomic disparities among the LGBTQ population compared to their heterosexual peers, including in substance use, HIV disease, suicide, and homelessness. And fear manifests itself in public policies (approved by fear-motivated policymakers) that discriminate against people who identify as a member of an other-than-heterosexual sexuality- or gender identity-based culture group. This includes laws passed recently in several states in obvious reaction to the ever-broadening acceptance of and civil rights protections for LGBTQ people.

Healthy Teen Network envisions a world where all adolescents and young adults lead healthy and fulfilling lives. To reach this vision, all of us must repudiate fear-based responses to human differences. Instead all of us must choose love-based responses that honor our common humanity. For people who are LGBTQ, such loving action includes insisting on their rights to raise children without judgment, to sexuality education without shame or stigma, to health and social services without bias, to employment without harassment, and to public accommodations (including restrooms of one’s choosing) without interference.     

Healthy Teen Network declares it way past time to let go of fear of LGBTQ people once and for all and let love reign in its stead. Do you share our belief that a world with adolescents and young adults leading healthy and fulfilling lives includes young people who identify as LGBTQ? What are you doing already, and what more will you do, to honor their equal worth?

Visit Healthy Teen Network


Please consider adding your organization’s name as a supporter of this statement of inclusion. To do so, please complete this short sign-up form.

Water Safety + Fun Day

Our Phoenix families had a blast at this year's Water Safety + Fun Day! May is National Water Safety Month, so we had water-safe sports, as well as food, prizes, and vendors.

It was a hot 90-some degrees and the water was a great way to beat the heat. The event was open to our families in Maricopa County, which includes ourArizona Early Intervention and Prevention (AzEIP), Maricopa Center for Adolescent Parent (MCAP), and Building Bright Futures programs.

 

 

Redefining Safe for Youth in Foster Care

Child & Family Resources' The Grrrls Project recently hosted the first-ever, and one-of-a-kind conference focused on the sexual health education needs of youth in foster care.

March 17-18, 2016, 110 attendees came together, as sexual health professionals and/or professionals working with systems-involved youth, to increase the number of "askable" adults in our community. Askable adults are approachable and informed adults trained in trauma informed care, inclusivity, safe environments, and sexual and reproductive health.

Sexuality is a key part of normal youth development. "Sexuality is an integral part of each person’s identity. Learning about our sexuality and achieving sexual health and well-being are lifelong processes that begin at birth and continue throughout our lives." (Planned Parenthood.)  However, system-involved youth are at higher risk for gaps in education and access to accurate information, as well as victimization. They have specific and important needs that aren't always addressed in standard sexual-health curricula. 

The two-day conference provided an opportunity for attendees chose from one of two tracks:

1. Providing Medically Accurate Sexuality

Increase knowledge of sexual health and how to provide medically accurate information in a way that is safe and inclusive

2. Specific Needs of System-involved Youth

Increase knowledge of the specific needs of systems-involved youth and how to adapt common sexual health lessons to better meet the needs of traumatized and exploited youth

Tracks included 

  • Addressing the Sexual Health Needs of System-Involved Youth through Collaboration 
  • Firing on All Cylinders: Adolescent Brain Development and Talking about Making Choices
  • Being an “Askable Adult”
  • Meeting the Sexual Health Needs of Youth in Foster Care
  • The State of Foster Care in Arizona
  • Sex Ed 101: What You Thought You Already Knew About Birth Control and STDs
  • Youth Friendly Referral System
  • Arts Infusion Strategies
  • Trauma Informed Self Care

Experts in their field joined as presenters and facilitators: Itege Bailey, Cynnamon Woodberry, Sarah McNamara, Piper Weinberg, Janene Fluhr, Barbara Guillen, LaJuana Johnson, Vicki Hadd-Wissler, Maria Rodriguez, Arcelia Cornidez, Bryanda Acuña, Virginia Miller, MiaMichelle Henry, Teresa Simone, and Dr. Jeff Dozoretz, 

Feedback on the conference was impressive. 

- Connecting with others. Good tools to take back with me
- Trauma informed care/ understanding that I can not do all or everything that is needed but I am just a piece of that change
- Meeting all of the wonderful people that work with families and gaining new perspective on how to engage families

Please stay-tuned for the dates of the March 2017 Redefining Safe conferenc, and learn how to become an askable adult! 


The Grrrls Project is a program of Child & Family Resources, Inc., funded by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Family & Youth Services Bureau.

Congrats to our 2016 Project BEST Grads

We are so proud to celebrate Project BEST graduates! On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, the Brictha and Child & Family Resources cohorts gathered for a small ceremony to showcase their student projects and honor a year of hard work.

At Project BEST, students who are already working in the child care profession spend a year doing college-level coursework, and individualized coaching. They are going above and beyond to learn more about how to meet the fundamental needs of infants and toddlers in group care settings through six essential program policies: primary care; small groups; continuity of care; individualized schedules and routines; inclusion; and cultural sensitivity and responsiveness. 

The ceremony included Speakers Naomi Karp, Great Expectations for Teachers, Children, Families and Communities as well as Keynote speaker, Judy Jablon, Author & National Speaker.

Here are our 2016 Graduates:

Brictha Cohort

  • Bina Alam
  • Rita Alegria
  • Jamie Caruth
  • Lucy Mendez
  • Mireya Santibanez

Child & Family Resources Cohort

  • Ana Luisa Arvizu
  • Kimberly Carlson
  • Francisca “Liz” Casanova
  • Gloria de los Rios
  • Cassandra Fernandez
  • Patricia Grogan
  • Cindy Miller
  • Paula Lopez
  • Margot Sandoval
  • Maria Valenzuela

We would like to thank Naomi Karp and Heidi Elizondo from United Way for continuing to believe in the changes that Project BEST is creating in the early childhood community; Judy Jablon for take time to speak to our graduates; Amber Jones, Early Education Consultant, for her work on the grant this year; Tiffany Simon for being overall amazing, and particularly helpful on graduation day; and Diane Fellows and Connie Espinoza for their continued support of Project BEST.

Corner Office: Imagine a Future

We just wrapped up our 7th annual Champions for Children & Families fundraising luncheon. Many of you joined us to celebrate to support families and honor the champions in our community.

The theme of our event was Imagine a Future. We want to extend that some vision with you, right now. Let’s do that …

Imagine a future where all children enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed. At Child & Family Resources we use proven, cost effective strategies to increase the numbers of young children who have the skills to thrive. Professionals talk about the importance of Kindergarten readiness and the ability to read by third grade. If a child can’t read by third grade he or she is statistically far more likely to be a high school dropout, be on welfare as an adult, get arrested, get divorced, and develop problems with drugs or alcohol. Apparently some private prison companies use regional third grade reading scores to help determine where to build more prisons for future customers!

Imagine a future where all young children, especially those living in poverty, have a chance to attend a quality preschool. Today just one in six Pima County toddlers does so. At Child and Family Resources we partner with early childhood educators and preschools/child care centers to increase quality, provide needed support and incentives, and build a stronger early childhood education system. The sooner our society can learn that public investment in education and school needs to begin long before Kindergarten, the sooner we will catch up with the many countries of the world with education outcomes and success vastly better than ours. American society continues to promote this antiquated notion that school is meant to begin at age five. Compare us to the many European and Asian countries whose average high school test scores are significantly better than ours. They invest in the first five years of life, and support early childhood education!

Imagine a future where all families are provided the tools, encouragement, and techniques to promote their children’s positive development and well being. At Child and Family Resources, we invite parents of newborn infants and toddlers, particularly those who come from backgrounds of poverty, violence, or substance abuse, to work with our trained counselors. These home visitors partner with parents, providing services in family’s homes, to promote healthy child development, effective nurturing, and rewarding parenting. Investing in home visitation programs is a far more cost effective way to promote literacy and school success than remediation programs that public schools offer.

Imagine a future where children with disabilities or developmental delays have every chance to reach their potential. At Child and Family Resources, our staff- physical therapists, speech pathologists, and counselors partner with parents of young children with special needs to teach them strategies to promote optimal development.

Imagine that future … and now let’s make it so. Join us in efforts to make these things possible! Sign up for our quarterly newsletter, support our efforts, and vote for changes that support families.

Together, we can make this future a reality. 

Corner Office: Collective Effort to Support Children from Cradle to Career

The Sorry State of Children in Pima County

In previous blogs, we’ve highlighted some of the challenges facing our county. One of the issues we’ve discussed is the idea about when children should start school. In Pima County, only 16.5% of 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in a quality early education program. That’s approximately 20,400 preschoolers who are at risk for not being ready for kindergarten. And, as is so painfully well known, the chances of graduating high school and succeeding in life decline dramatically for children who enter kindergarten unprepared.

Another larger issue at play is poverty. Poverty is one of the biggest obstacles to academic success children in Pima County are facing: 28.7% of children, youth and young adults (0-24 years old) are living in poverty. Health problems, poor nutrition, residential instability, stress, and lack of access to educational activities and materials all contribute to difficulties in school. Children and youth from low-income families have lower test scores in core subjects and are likely to complete fewer years of schooling. If these students are not effectively supported, they risk experiencing life-long poor outcomes.

Turning the Tide in Pima County

In 2015, a broad coalition of Pima County organizations came together to form the Cradle to Career (C2C) partnership, a project aimed at creating better outcomes for children. Child & Family Resources is proud member of C2C, and there is shared vision that meaningful change will require collective action, and shared responsibility; no one agency or entity is capable of achieving real change alone.

The goals of C2C are as follows:

  • Every child is prepared for school.
  • Every child succeeds in school.
  • Every youth graduates from high school ready for college and career.
  • Every youth who is not in school or work reconnects to education and career pathways.
  • Every youth can attain a post-secondary credential leading to a career that can sustain a family.
  • Every youth is prepared for a career

The biggest return on investment comes from strategies targeting the first 2,000 days of life, so while the goals above span all of childhood and adolescence, the primary focus should be on the early years. As C2C matures, and strategic decisions are made as to where to put finite resources, we will have to figure out a way to ensure that more young children, particularly those from low income families, are able to attend high quality preschool.

Learn more at Cradle to Career.


Eric Schinder, Ph.D.
President and CEO

Since 2005, Dr. Eric Schindler has been the President and Chief Executive Officer  for Child & Family Resources, Inc.  Dr. Schindler received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona in 1982. After internship training in child and family psychology at U.C. Davis, and postdoctoral training in pediatric psychology in Chicago, he has spent over 30 years working in Tucson community settings as an administrator, director, teacher and practitioner.  A licensed psychologist since 1984, he also served as an adjunct instructor in Family Studies at the University of Arizona for many years. 

Previously, Dr. Schindler served for nine years as the Director of Clinical Services for La Frontera Center, Inc., a comprehensive community behavioral healthcare organization, where he was also the Director of Training for the APA approved Southern Arizona Psychology Internship Consortium. He maintained a  private practice in psychotherapy for 20 years prior to assuming the leadership of Child & Family Resources.

Guest Blog: Advice to Parents from a Teen

Our guest blogger today is Kelsey Bender, a Cienga student and Youth Mentor with her school's YES Team. January 25-29th is National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Drug Fact Week. Our YES teams around Tucson worked to increase awareness with their peers, families and community members about underage drinking and drug use. We invited Kelsey to give us a teen's perspective on the issue of drugs and parents. 

I have met a lot of parents, on both a casual and a professional level, but, no matter the circumstance, the concerns hardly vary. “How do I know if my child is using/abusing drugs? What do I do?” And honestly, it is hard to say, even as a double agent. 

Children of all ages begin for a plethora of reasons, many I could not name, and it all depends on them. With who? With what? Where? How? While all are undeniably valuable questions, not one is more vital than “Why?” In order to understand such a question, a good place to start is becoming aware of the general signs of use, these could include anything from increase/decrease of social activity to mood swings or withdrawal. Also: sudden carelessness about personal hygiene, disinterest in hobbies, change in sleeping patterns, red/glassy eyes, and a sniffly nose. Then, by reaching the root of the issue, we can better nurture health and recovery. 

Some adolescents who suffer from mental illnesses (such as anxiety or depression) turn to drugs as a coping method, while others do it as a result of peer pressure - primarily from close friends.

In this case, the solution isn’t always forcing them to be under your constant supervision, or smothering them in general. 

In lieu of that, it is important to remember that bad choices do not make anyone a bad person; in fact, it is best to treat this situation with the utmost care, and approach your child in a manner than makes them feel safe and comfortable. 

It is impossible to force someone to share (especially the truth), there has to be legitimate willingness to do so, and making your child feel like they’re on trial usually will not elicit those kinds of feelings! And be open with your child about the dangers of drug use, simultaneously while being honest yet not over-exaggerating; there are a variety of ways you can go about this, starting with a simple family meeting to attending awareness seminars!

All of these are viable options, and will hopefully educate your child on the dangers of these activities, while also encouraging your child to view you as someone they can rely on in times of need.

If you are a teenager seeking support for your drug or alcohol problems, please visit the National Helpline. If you are a parent seeking support for your child, please visit Talk. They Hear You.

More about your Guest Blogger!

Kelsey Bender.JPG

Kelsey Bender has been a member of the Cienega YES Club for three years, and a Youth Mentor for one! She graduates in 2017. She takes her coffee half and half, her favorite animal is a deer, she speaks fluent gibberish, and she can list 26 countries in alphabetical order. After graduation, she plans to study art education on the elementary level.