“We work to advance fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for all Southern Californians, especially those communities hit hardest by persistent poverty.” – Weingart Foundation

At The Guidance Center, our mission since 1946 has been to provide comprehensive mental health treatment to disadvantaged children and families who are struggling with mental illness and abuse. We’ve had the honor of supporting countless children and members of their families through their mental health journeys over the years. However, we recognize that there are still many barriers to mental health treatment – like access due to finances or transportation and stigma – that disproportionately impact marginalized and impoverished communities who are in need of support.

We also recognize our role in helping to eliminate these barriers. That’s why we’re building upon our existing core services to develop initiatives that seek to impact these communities at a macro level, with the goal of changing the conditions that lead to poverty and mental health struggles in the first place.

To help us continue to grow and strengthen our prevention programs and pursue new partnerships to create innovative initiatives, The Weingart Foundation has awarded our organization with a $150,000 unrestricted operating support grant.


We’re honored to have been selected and look forward to partnering with the Foundation to focus on the advancement of social and economic equity in marginalized and under-resourced communities through these programs and increase our organization’s participation in advocacy, policy and systems change at the local and state level.

“At The Guidance Center, we see a great number of families empowered through mental health treatment, but so many in our communities are still unable to access the support they need to thrive,” said Patricia Costales, LCSW, CEO of The Guidance Center. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the Weingart Foundation. Together, we will work to eliminate barriers, create lasting system change, and provide more children and families with the opportunity to positively change the trajectory of their lives.”

Our recently established prevention programs include:

  • It’s About T.I.M.E., Trauma-Informed Movement in Education partnership with Long Beach Unified School District to support educators in better addressing the emotional and psychological needs of their students;
  • Whole Child, a collaborative care initiative with Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital and The Children’s Clinic to integrate physical and mental health into their respective treatment plans; and
  • Roll Call Mental Health Training Videos, a collaboration with Los Angeles and Long Beach Police Departments and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to make training accessible for law enforcement across the country on how to interactive more effectively with disenfranchised individuals on the street, particularly those with a mental health issue.

As a part of our new initiatives, The Guidance Center is also pursuing sustainable and scalable solutions that will bridge the mental health gap for young people who need help and aren’t able to access it. One such new initiative includes exploring the viability of hosting an online, youth peer-based mental health support platform that is accessible and generationally appropriate to a population that would otherwise not access treatment due to a variety of barriers, or would only access it once they have experienced a mental health crisis and are in need of intensive services.  Stay tuned for more details on this exciting initiative!

Thank you, Weingart Foundation, for your support and partnership in creating communities where all children have the help they need to be happy and healthy!

To learn more about the Weingart Foundation, visit: https://www.weingartfnd.org/