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Casa Corazón

Casa Corazón grew out of the family resource system movement to ensure that families received a continuum of support and services to enhance the family resilience. In response to the needs of Chicano/Latino families in San Francisco, Instituto Familiar de la Raza and three other organizations established the Chicano/Latino Family Resource System.

Casa Corazon child reading a book The Chicano/Latino Family Resource System collaborative, commonly known as FRS, is comprised of four agencies that provide linguistically and culturally appropriate services for Latino families. The collaborative includes Instituto Familiar de la Raza, La Raza Community Resource Center, Mission Neighborhood Center, and CARECEN. As part of the network of Family Resource Centers, the Chicano/Latino FRS combines the efforts of the collaborating agencies to develop a continuum of prevention, early intervention, and intensive case management services for families. As a coordinated programming network, the Chicano/Latino FRS reinforces family preservation among high-risk families residing in the Mission District and among Chicano/Latino families throughout San Francisco. IFR has served as the lead agency for the collaborative, with each organization providing family-centered programming. Casa Corazón provides family programs within IFR. Program services and activities include leadership, education, and support groups for parents, school readiness programs for toddlers, parent-child interaction activities for families, case management, and service linkages to address their needs. Utilizing a model that supports family resilience, cultural diversity, and community empowerment, Casa Corazón helps ensure that Chicano/Latino families receive the training, services, and support to remain safe and healthy.

Casa Corazón has grown from being a mental health provider to a leader in establishing best practices in case management, parent education, and early intervention. The following offers brief a brief description of the services available at Casa Corazón. 

Casa Corazón

Family programs and activities that are open to the public include the following:

Parenting Classes

  • Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors) Parenting Classes: This is a 10-week parenting class for parents with children ages 0-5. Abriendo Puertas is based on popular education, and draws on the cultural resilience and life experience of participants. Discussions on child development, physical and emotional health, and early literacy are held as strategies to promote well-being as well as school readiness and success.
  • Martes Familiares: This 12 session parenting class is for parents with children ages 6-12. Developed by our sister agency, La Raza Community Resource Center, to meet the cultural parenting needs of Latino immigrant parents, it has been certified by the San Francisco Human Services Agnecy for meeting parent education standards.
  • Cara y Corazón: This 10 session parenting class is for parents of adolescents. Cara y Corazón reintroduces lessons on social responsibility, building a healthier community for children, and healing among parents, youth, and community as a strategy for raising healthy teens.
  • The Path of Childhood: This is a parenting class for parents with children 6 to 12 years of age, in which we address topics such as communication, community violence, discipline, cultural values, and much more! Please call to register as space is limited. Child watch and snacks are provided.

Parent Leadership and Education

  • Parent Educational Workshops: Casa Corazón staff are available for parent presentations at schools or other community sites. Presentation topics include: Child Development, Adolescent Development, Anger Management, Positive Discipline, Helping Children Manage Stress, Early Literacy, Healthy Relationships, Health and Wellness, Human Sexuality, Domestic Violence Prevention, and other topics requested by parents.
  • Concilio de Padres/Parent Leadership Development: El Concilio de Padres (Parents Council) hosts a Leadership Development Training twice a year. Graduates from the program contribute throughout the year in the continuous evaluation of programs. El Concilio meets monthly to coordinate activities for parents and families. Child watch and snacks are provided.
  • ACT: Raising Our children in a Safe Environment: This is a Safe Start program consisting of 8 sessions on the importance of raising children in a safe environment. We will cover how the media, social and community environment exposes children to violence, and the impact that it may have on children's behaviors.

Parent Support Groups

  • Las Comadres: This group uses expressive arts therapy techniques for mothers in a safe, nonthreatening way to express feelings about immigration, trauma, parenting, relationship issues, building self-esteem, and developing their connections with other mothers in the community.
  • Hijas de la Luna: This group utilizes dance, movement, and music for relaxation, expression, and light physical activity. Based on the premise that mind, body, and spirit are interconnected, dance/movement therapy furthers emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration, and offers mothers new techniques for reducing stress.
  • Círculo de Padres: This support group for fathers encourages expression, bonding, and conversation on diverse family issues. Drumming and other arts techniques are utilized to create opportunities for self-reflection and exchange.

Parent - Child Activities

      • Parent-Child Interactive Activities: These weekly activities allow parents and children to spend quality time together. They promote healthy attachment and relationship-building within the family unit by offering a fun setting for parents to create positive interactions with their children.
      • Children's Group: Children's Group is an educational setting designed for children while their parents participate in Casa Corazón workshops. Children participate in activities that promote early literacy and motor skills development such as singing, arts and crafts, dancing, and free play.
      • Family Night: Once a month, families gather to watch a movie or engage in other fun family activities. It offers families an opportunity to watch a movie together, meet other families, and spend time together.
      • Kiddie Play Group Hour (at Precita Center, 534 Precita Avenue, SF): An English language group for individuals with children 1-4 years of age, where circle time, art, and movement help children's development with social, visual, linguistic, and independence skills. Orientation and registration are required. Snacks provided.
      • Famiily Outing: Orientation and previous registration required.
      • Famiily Activity: Activities for the entire family.

Additional Family Support Services

    • Individual consultations: We offer one-on-one consultations to help identify engagement strategies with your child. Please call to make an appointment.
    • Information & Referral: I&R services are provided to families to connect them with community resources. This service can be accessed via drop-in, by appointment or phone, or while families participate in other agency activities.
    • Case Management and Family Advocacy: This is a formal intervention and coordination of services to address problems affecting the health, safety, or well-being of a family or individual family member. Casa Corazón staff maintain regular and consistent contact over a period of time, and tracks the progress toward meeting family needs. This may require a referral or formal linkage to other services not provided by Casa Corazón.
    • SafeStart Case Management and Family Advocacy: These services are provided to families with children under 6 years of age who have been exposed to violence.
    • Differential and Community Response Case Management and Family Advocacy: These services are provided to families who have been reported to Child Protective Services (CPS), but do not meet the requirements for a full investigation. Recognizing that these at-risk families are in need of early intervention to avoid reports to CPS, Casa Corazón works directly with child welfare workers to coordinate services. Access to these services is limited to those families referred by San Francisco Human Services Agency.
    • Mental Health Services: Families may receive individual, child, family, and couples counseling as appropriate. Mental health services through Casa Corazón are intended for those who do not have coverage by either private or public insurance.

Building Trust and Community

Several of the families that Casa Corazón works with aren’t facing crisis. Oftentimes, they simply want to improve their parenting skills to better support their families. This was the case with Rosa and her family. With her husband and two children, Rosa had been in the United States for about two years. She was extremely shy, kept to herself, and had low self-esteem. Her husband didn’t want her to work, so she had little motivation or self-confidence. Even when she began attending Casa Corazón workshops and groups, she didn’t seem to readily grasp the topics or how to use the resources provided to her. But Rosa established a close bond with Vanessa, Casa Corazón’s Family Resource Specialist.

Vanessa understood that group strategies, even with other families, didn’t meet Rosa’s immediate needs. She’d lived a fairly sheltered life, and wasn’t used to socializing with others. What she needed was the interpersonal support that Vanessa provided. She developed an immediate connection with Vanessa. Rosa began sharing her story with Vanessa, building trust while also building a relationship. Vanessa listened, providing gentle, nonjudgmental support and guidance. Over the next several months, Rosa’s confidence slowly began to grow. She began attending Casa Corazón’s workshops and even began passing on resources to other parents. When Rosa’s husband was deported, Vanessa worried that she might withdraw into herself again. Instead, Rosa continued to seek support from the program, developing leadership skills/motivation to keep moving forward. This led to her finding work cleaning houses to meet her family's needs.

When asked how she assisted Rosa, Vanessa explains, “Casa Corazón is making families feel welcome. The time all of the families spend together allows them to feel like they have become a part of an extended family. Some might start coming just to get information, but end up returning over and over for the conviviencia. That’s what happened with Rosa. We help families build trust and community."

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