Kinship Center Winter Newsletter 2021

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Winter Newsletter


Happy new year to our Kinship Center family of supporters! Thanks to the commitment and generosity of our community, we continue to provide vital supports to the children and families we serve. Although our ability to connect directly with the community has been affected by COVID-19, our staff have not stopped providing services to the community—those services just look a bit different, and are delivered a bit differently.

  • There are currently 36 children in our foster care program being cared for in the loving homes of our amazing foster families.
  • Last year, Kinship Center finalized 42 adoptions.
  • The Family Ties program is currently serving 198 families and 344 children.
  • Our Wraparound program is currently serving 22 children.

Our Wraparound and Mobile Crisis Response Team programs enable our staff to immediately respond to the community, providing direct support to children and families who need it most. As one of our Bilingual Child and Family Clinicians puts it, “I have the ability to connect very personally with these families, giving me the ability to fulfill my personal and professional goals of giving back to the community that I call home.”

We have launched a support group for Family Ties families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. This group provides emotional support and empathy to our families who have gone through such a tragedy. By sharing their stories with each other, families know they are not alone and they always have someone to reach out to.

We continue to be amazed by the resilience of the children and families we serve and the dedication of our supporters who help us ensure that every child has the opportunity to grow up in a safe, stable and loving family. Thank you again to all of our amazing supporters for your generosity and advocacy. We wouldn’t be able to do the important work that we do without you.

Supporting Kin Caregivers

Miranda, a member of Kinship Center’s Family Ties program, is a grandmother who, with the help of our Family Ties staff, has taken legal guardianship of her five grandchildren. Like many relatives, Miranda did not anticipate becoming a full-time parent to her five grandchildren. With the support of the Family Ties team, she has been able to face many unexpected challenges and overcome adversity, all the while providing unconditional love and care to her grandchildren.

“I love my grandchildren with all my heart. They are not just my grandchildren, but I see them as my own children. Although this journey has been extremely difficult, it has been incredibly rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I am so grateful that I have Kinship Center to help me through this difficult time.”

If you or somebody you know are raising kin children and need support, we can always be reached at (831) 455-9965.

Welcoming Our New Leadership Board Chair, Nicki Pasculli, and Vice Chair, Hiram Yanez!

Nicki has served on the Leadership Board since 2017. During this time she has been instrumental in the success of our fundraising campaigns. Her experience and dedication will continue to guide our efforts in supporting and promoting Kinship Center’s mission. Nicki is also a Kinship Center adoptive mother with three amazing children!

Hiram has always strived to engrain himself in his community, with the goal of bettering the place that he calls home. He’s volunteered for First Night Monterey, the Santa Cruz County Food Bank, the United Way Stuff the Bus campaign, as well as serving on the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association’s Marketing and Events Committees.

Thank you, Nicki and Hiram, for dedicating so much time and energy in helping Kinship Center better the lives of children and families on the Central Coast!

A Testament to Kinship Center’s Lasting Impact on Children

“About a month ago, I bought new plants and shrubs for the yard. I started gardening and about halfway through, I had to stop to run an errand. When I got back home, my son was in the yard, the planting was done and things looked better than I could have done them myself. I told him how beautiful it was and said that I knew cooking was his passion but did not know that gardening was too. I asked him where he learned how to do all of it. He said, “At Kinship Camp, they taught us how to garden and said that whenever we were feeling stressed or anxious it would help.” After all of these years (he’s 22 now), he still remembers the love and lessons of Kinship Center—this is why I am forever grateful to them”
-Nicki Pasculli, Kinship Center adoptive mother and New Leadership Board Chair.

Kinship Center’s Child and Family Clinic uses sensory therapy, such as gardening, cooking, and art projects, because they are so effective and have such a lasting impact. Although we’ve had to change our sensory therapy methods due to COVID-19, our creative therapists have continued to engage the children they work with through methods including virtual dancing, cooking, and storytelling. Although this approach has its limitations, the impact of our therapeutic efforts have proven to prevail.

Kinship Center is honored to be a selected charity of the Coastal Roots Hospitality—an organization comprised of well-know local restaurants Montrio, Rio Grill, and Tarpy’s—Pick it Up, Pay it Forward campaign! During the months of March and April, 10% of all proceeds from take-out orders from any of these restaurants will go directly to Kinship Center! This is an excellent way to support our local restaurants while simultaneously supporting Kinship Center’s critical community services. Note, this only applies to orders that are picked up, so skip the delivery and make the trip to pick up some of the best food you can find on the Central Coast.


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Robin Detterman serves as Seneca’s Chief Program Officer of Educational Services where she provides leadership for the agency’s continuum of district and charter partnerships and five non-public schools, serving over 100 districts and schools in California and Washington State each year. Ms. Detterman started working at Seneca in 2005, and her experience asa special education teacher and administrator informs her current role. In this role, she supports Seneca’s education teams in the development and implementation of high quality, individualized services for students who need additional support at school while working to transform whole schools and school systems into places where all students are welcomed and can thrive. Ms. Detterman holds a MA degree in Special Education and is a graduate of Stanford University, where she earned a Masters degree in Education Policy and Organizational Leadership. She is the co-author of Unconditional Education: Supporting Schools to Serve All Students (Oxford University Press, 2019).


Nathaniel Foster is the Chief Advancement Officer of Seneca Family of Agencies. His focus is on development, fundraising, venture philanthropy, marketing and branding for the whole organization. Nathaniel came to Seneca with a clarity and depth of fundraising knowledge that has accelerated our overall efforts. Nathaniel graduated from the University of Denver with a BS in business and also has his Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University. He has over a decade of experience in the non-profit development & management world, working with local, national, and international organizations. Previously Nathaniel was the Executive Director of Playworks, anonprofit that serves over 700,000 children every school day, concentrating on conflict resolution, leadership skills, emotional intelligence and increased physical activity for elementary schools throughout the country. Before that, he was the Chief Development & Marketing Officer at Lincoln, formerly Lincoln Child Center. He has spent his entire nonprofit career in development, fundraising, board development, venture philanthropy, and communications and is very excited to be working with an organization as wonderful as Seneca Family of Agencies. In addition, he was co-chair for the Oakland Quality Community Schools Committee, currently sits on two for-profit boards, and is a member of the San Francisco Chapter of the Private Asset Liaison Group


Michael Alonso is the Chief Information Officer for Seneca Family of Agencies. Since joining Seneca in 2003, he has provided leadership for all technology related operations throughout the organization. He is responsible for IT strategy and vision as well as oversight for the teams that create and maintain a robust information technology environment in addition to the teams that develop, deliver and support innovative applications specifically created for Seneca’s unique blend of services.Michael is passionate about designing and producing creatively unique solutions to increase efficiency and improve service delivery and is personally involved to a significant degree in Seneca’s application development process. In addition to internally-focused activities, Michael engages with organizations at the county, state and federal levels to represent the technology-related interests and perspective of both Seneca and the broader community of behavioral health providers. These organizations includecounties, other behavioral health providers, state advocacy groups and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONCHIT). Before coming to Seneca, Michael worked in the custom software industry, developing applications tailored for a wide variety of companies representing numerous industries such as healthcare, retail, technology, non-profit and more. During this time, he took an interest not just in the software development process, but also in the broader perspective of organization-wide information technology environments. Michael holds a B.S. in Computer Science from CSU Hayward (now CSU East Bay)


Janet Briggs, Chief Financial Officer of Seneca Family of Agencies, began her endeavor in finance by achieving her bachelors’ degree in Business Economics with an Accounting Emphasis from the University of California Santa Barbara. Janet began her career in Public Accounting working in various industries gaining extensive experience in accounting and business management and then specializing in providing audit and accounting services for various not for profit social service agencies as a CPA. Her in-depth understanding of accounting issues and regulations unique to not for profit agencies has distinguished Janet as a knowledgeable source and leader for this company. Since coming to Seneca in 2002, Janet has supervised and trained an ever-growing accounting staff on various accounting policies and procedures pertaining to Seneca programs. Not only does she review and monitor numerous county and state contracts, Janet also oversees all fiscal activity for over 150 programs in 20 different counties. Attending monthly fiscal program meetings, Janet is dedicated to effectively communicating with directors and managing the financial integrity of Seneca. In an effort to constantly improve practice and management skills, Janet regularly attends conferences and trainings specific to her role at Seneca. In addition to her successes here at Seneca Family of Agencies, Janet also is a mother to two wonderful boys.


Ken Berrick is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Emeritus of Seneca Family of Agencies, a nonprofit agency dedicated to providing Unconditional Care to children and families through comprehensive mental health, education, juvenile justice, placement and permanency services. Since its founding in 1985, Seneca has developed innovative programs ranging from Wraparound and Intensive Treatment Foster Care, to integrated mental health services in schools, and a crisis continuum of care for youth and their families. Mr. Berrick is Governor-appointed Commissioner on the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. He is also a Governor’s Appointee on the California Child Welfare Council, where he co-chairs the Behavioral Health Committee, tasked with developing best practice recommendations to guide policy and inform statewide efforts to effectively address the behavioral health needs of children involved in or at risk of involvement in the child welfare system. Mr. Berrick is a two-time former President of the California Alliance of Child and Family Services and serves on numerous policy planning groups in California at both the county and state-level. He is an elected member and Past-President of the Alameda County Board of Education, and Past-President of the California County Boards of Education. In 2014, he was recognized by California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth as Advocate of the Year. In 2017, he was a recipient of the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, and in 2021, a recipient of the Jefferson Bronze Award. He is co-author of the books, Unconditional Care: Relationship-Based, Behavioral Intervention with Vulnerable Children and Families (Oxford University Press, 2010), and Unconditional Education (Oxford University Press, 2019).

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Leticia Galyean is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Seneca Family of Agencies, a nonprofit agency dedicated to providing Unconditional Care to youth and their families throughout California and Washington State. She received both her Bachelor’s degree and Masters of Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley.

Leticia began her career with Seneca in 2001 as a Wraparound counselor inspired by the passionate belief that the effects of childhood trauma should be patiently and persistently supported in the context of family and community. Throughout her tenure at Seneca, Leticia has served as Program Director; Regional Executive Director; Executive Director of Data, Evaluation, and Strategic Initiatives; and Chief Operating Officer.

She has developed, led, and evaluated numerous programs across the Bay Area and Central Coast, assisting youth and their families to meet their behavioral health, academic, and permanency goals. Leticia is a frequent presenter at national conferences on Seneca’s Unconditional Care treatment model and behavioral health interventions. As CEO, Leticia oversees all aspects of Seneca including 150+ programs, with 1,400+ employees, serving 18,000+ youth and their families, annually.

She has served as a member of several policy development groups in California at both the county and state-level. Leticia also serves as an active member of the California Alliance for Child & Family Services, California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and is a Board member of SOAR for Youth. From the time she was a counselor through her entire tenure at Seneca, Leticia has led with the vision to strengthen the larger systems of care for our most vulnerable youth and their families.