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Agency - Oakes Childrens Center, Inc

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Oakes Childrens Center, Inc
Last updated on January 25, 2016

Oakes Children's Center provides educational and therapeutic services to children with emotionally disturbance and/or developmentally delay. We provide highly enriched emotional, psychological and educational support to these children and their families. We help the children to develop the skills and self-awareness necessary to continue learning and to fully realize their potential within the community.

2014/2015 Program Descriptions
Oakes Children's Center (OCC) has been providing specialized services to children and families for over 50 years. During 2014 OCC continued to operate its 5 main programs from its new center and school site in the Bernal Heights district of San Francisco.
Counseling Enriched Education (CEE) Program/Non Public School
All of the children in this program have been diagnosed with some kind of emotional disturbance or mental illness. Our clients are school age children ranging from 1st grade to 8th grade. Our enrollment this year is up to 34 children in the CEE program. The children served here have typically been unable to receive treatment or an education in other, less restrictive, public or non-public school placements. The center operates a California Department of Education certified special education educational program with 4 classrooms in concert with an accomplished clinical program. We have developed a very positive and structured program for the children in our care. OCC provides on site psychiatric consultation to all the children in the CEE program and currently, about 40% are receiving medication support. OCC provides special transportation for all of its children to make sure they can arrive and depart safely while traveling to and from school. The goal of our CEE program is to serve the educational and mental health needs of this intensive population and hopefully return them to a less restrictive and more normalized environment. This year we are planning to re-integrate at least 4 students back into the public school system. Of the 28 students/young clients that transitioned from Oakes between 2010 and 2013, 60% moved to a less restrictive and less expensive program upon leaving our program.
Specialized After School
OCC operates a specialized After School program, at no cost to the families, to a third of the children in the CEE program. We attempt to provide these children with a safe and supportive place to get their homework completed. Our staff also focus on teaching the children socialization and recreational skills in this supervised structured environment. We strive to support the children and their families by offering a program that allows single and working parents to care for special needs children without the need for residential care.
Public School Mental Health Partnership
OCC provides qualified therapists to 12 different public elementary school special education classrooms at different schools in San Francisco. The staff provides one to one therapy to the identified students on a weekly basis; they also provide group therapy, family therapy and support the teaching staff in these schools. Last year we served 70 students in these classrooms while supporting their school, their teachers and teaching staff as well as their families. The goal of this program is to serve children with mental health issues where they are and hopefully help maintain these students in a mainstream school environment.

Outpatient Mental Health Clinic
One other major program is our Outpatient mental health program; this program was set up to help our students who transition out of our counseling enriched program and also to provide special socialization classes and therapy to young clients who come with a diagnosis of Autism or developmental delay. This program served 50 clients during the year. Clients are typically seen on site at OCC after they have finished their school day at another site. Our goal in this program is to assist our children by providing them with the necessary skills to be successful in their current placements and later in life. OCC utilizes an evidence based practice "Incredible Years" program to provide training and support to parents of our children with special needs. This workshop type evening class is offered along with meals and childcare at our site to all interested parents in our program.
Graduate Training
Oakes Children s Center is also "highly sought after" graduate internship and practicum site for masters level students in Counseling and Psychology. Each year we train 2 graduate interns and 8 practicum students. During their year long stay with us the students get comprehensive training and professional supervision as part of their preparation for their professional life.
Oakes Children's Center receives funds from the Children's Division, Community Behavioral Health Services, San Francisco Department of Public Health, from San Francisco Unified School District, from San Mateo County Mental Health and School districts, and from a range of committed charitable foundations and individual donors.

Oakes Children's Center History

Today Oakes Children's Center is located at 1550 Treat in the Mission District of San Francisco and serves as an educational and mental health out-patient for 150 children, ages seven into their early teens. These youngsters attend classes and receive treatment for a range of behavioral and neurological disorders on a five day a week, eleven months a year schedule. Their academic learning, social and behavioral difficulties are facilitated by a dedicated staff of teachers, psychologists and class room aides whose mission is to guide their young charges to their highest possible level of functioning. On staff is a child psychiatrist as well as a cadre of graduate psychology students . In addition to the Treat Street location, Oakes also oversees a range of satellite programs for youngsters with special needs within a number of San Francisco Unified School District schools.

Oakes provides transportation in its own buses with trained staff on board to help its students get calmly and safely to school as well as enjoy a number of outings in the Bay area using these vans. Lunches are provided daily along with healthy snacks. There is an afterschool program on site for children whose parents cannot receive them at home when the school day concludes mid-afternoon and there is also a special socialization program at Oakes for children who are able to attend regular classes but who need help developing social skills.

All these services have evolved from a humble beginning in September, 1963. At that time the San Francisco Children's Center opened within the Playmates Nursery School in the Parnassus Heights neighborhood. It was a preschool for children with autism spectrum diagnosis, run adjacent to a preschool for normal kids, two and a half to five years of age. Five children, ages four through eight years were enrolled in the special therapeutic program. Writings of that time noted that children with special needs such as autism were generally not provided with services until age eight. There was a consensus amongst early childhood specialists of a need for early intervention, leading to the banding together of the parents of the five initial San Francisco preschoolers whose parents faced and rejected institutional settings for their diagnosed youngsters. The specialized program became known as The Community Effort for Disturbed Children with its first Annual Meeting held in October of 1963.

Strong public relations and the determination of five Bay Area women stimulated public interest and raised funds for the fledgling program. Those women became known as the Firehouse Five. They were Mrs. Joseph Costello, Jr. ; Mrs. Joseph Flahaven; Mrs. John Ward Maillard III; Mrs. Robert Gotcher; and Mrs. E.D. Puyat. Radio publicity used the voice of prominent actress Vanessa Redgrave, a friend of one of the staff physicians and early sponsors included playwrite, Edward Albee. Among the community supporters providing grants were Avery-Fuller Children's Center; Crown Zellerbach Foundation; Fleishacker Foundation; Marie Stauffer Sigall Foundation and Rosenberg Foundation.

The funds raised and the increasing awareness of the need for day treatment for children with mental health issues and support for their families led to increasing professionalization f the program. In 1970 the program relocated from community centers and church basements to a landmark firehouse on Tenth Avenue in the Sunset District of San Francisco. Initially nine children were served in the picturesque building with teaching staff from the San Francisco Unified School District and mental health services underwritten through a contract with the city's Department of Public Health.

In 1988, the program expanded its clinical staff by starting a training program for graduate students in psychology and social work. This training program currently is one of the few local sites where trainees can gain expertise in treating autistic and emotionally disturbed children and their families.

Three years ago, recognizing the limitations of the firehouse as home to a school for over twenty active youngsters and cognizant of the fact that most of the students come from the Bayview-Hunters Point area, a long and challenging ride for emotionally fragile kids to Tenth Avenue, the Board of Directors completed their search for an alternate more suitable location. The firehouse was sold and space leased from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese at 1550 Treat, near Precita Park. The new location is a former school with spacious bright classrooms, a garden and outdoor play areas and space for all school programs, lunches, family and after school groups, off-street parking for the vans and proximity to the population served. This makes transportation easier on the children and participation in school events and meetings significantly more convenient for the families.

The satellite programs and after-school programs as well as the more spacious school facility will allow Oakes Children's Center to grow in future years to meet the needs of the community it serves.
With an increasing appreciation of the need for early intervention and an increasing number of cases diagnosed annually, it is hoped that Oakes will be able to serve those children and their families coping with developmental disorders of both cognitive and emotional bases.

Lois Goodwill
Vice Chair, Board of Directors
Oakes Children's Center

November 2011

Contact people:
 Annie Crowder, Executive Director, (phone), (email)
Samuel Goldman, Principal, (phone), (email)

Main office number: (415) 641-8000
TDD number: (415) 641-8000

 1550 Treat Ave
(See a map)

Web Site: http://www.oakeschildrenscenter.org

Miscellaneous Information
Besides English, which languages are spoken at your agency?
German, Japanese, Spanish, Tagalog
What is the minimum age for volunteers at your agency?
Is your agency wheelchair accessible?
Does your agency have the capacity to host groups of more than 10?
Does your agency have the capacity to host groups of more than 20?
Last updated on January 25, 2016

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