Seneca Family of Agencies (formerly Seneca Center) was founded in 1985 as a small Bay Area residential and day treatment program with a simple but powerful mission: to help children and families through the most difficult times of their lives. Since then, Seneca has expanded to provide a broad continuum of permanency, mental health, education, and juvenile justice services, which today reach over 18,000 youth and families throughout California and Washington State each year.
The agency’s growth has been guided by a commitment to our Unconditional Care® model – doing whatever it takes to help children and families thrive, even when faced with tremendous challenges.
Mission & Values
Seneca’s mission is to help children and families through the most difficult times of their lives. We are driven by the fundamental belief that children and families do not themselves fail, but rather are failed by systems unable to meet their complex needs. Guided by our core agency values of love and compassion, hope and courage, respect, curiosity, joy, equity and justice Seneca refuses to fail the young people and families we serve. We offer each child and family a profound promise: you will be supported every step of your journey, no matter what challenges you face along the way.
Across all our programs and services, Seneca is guided by our agency philosophy and clinical treatment model of Unconditional Care®. As a service philosophy, unconditional care is a commitment to do whatever it takes to support the young people and families we serve. As a clinical practice model, Unconditional Care integrates three streams of assessment and intervention: relational, behavioral, and ecological. This philosophy and approach has remained central to all programs and is best articulated in our book, Unconditional Care. As a leading innovator in family-focused treatment services for children and families across the fields of education, mental health, permanency and juvenile justice, Seneca is driven by our commitment to Unconditional Care, strengths-based service planning, individualized and trauma-informed care, cultural humility, and interagency collaboration.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Many of the children and families who access our services are disproportionately impacted by systemic and institutionalized oppression, racism, and discrimination. To best serve our clients and families and provide the most effective and supportive services possible, all aspects of every family’s cultural identity must be engaged and used to inform treatment, and must be a focus of Seneca’s overall agency values. This work begins with the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce that reflects the racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic traditions of the children and families supported within our programs. In addition, Seneca is committed to supporting historically underrepresented communities and informing agency policies and practices through its agency-wide DEI Initiative and DEI Advisory Board. Our agency’s values of love and compassion, hope and courage, respect, curiosity, joy, equity and justice anchor our work across all programs, ensuring our staff leverage the cultural strengths of the families and communities we serve. Seneca is committed to fostering an agency culture that is welcoming, cooperative, and inclusive of diverse peoples and worldviews.Learn More
Bay Area Leadership Board Rochelle "Shelley" Benning; Jamie Church; Jason Citron; Zach Cohen; Zach Hill; Venus Ke; Anders Mortensen; Dwayne Redmon; Hong Thatch; Stephanie Gaywood
Central Coast Leadership Board Nicki Pasculli, Jeff Davi, Joe Desmond, Susan Guidotti, Lisa McMahon, Kathy Tiffany, Hiram Yanez
Orange County Leadership Board Geoffrey LePlastrier; Chair: Roger Grad; Carl Neisser; William Pugh; Dean Riley; Dustin Steeve; Vanessa Vigoren; Harry Winters
Southern California Advisory Board Tom Rogers , Chair: John Evans; Erin Anderson; Jim Bieber; Mary Dirk; Patrick Dirk; Carole Geronsin; Hon. Evelyn Hart; Harald Herrmann; Ron Hodges; Sinan Kanatsiz; Pat Poss; Jim Riley; Hon. Tom Wilson; Sharyn Buffa
Leticia Galyean, Chief Executive Officer
Ken Berrick, Founder and CEO Emeritus
Janet Briggs, Chief Financial Officer
Robin Detterman, Chief Program Officer of Education Services
Greg Rideout, Chief Program Officer of Community Based Programs
Kimberly Wayne, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer
Amber Fretwell, Executive Director of School Partnerships
Amy Kirsztajn, Regional Executive Director, San Francisco County
Dawn Henson, Regional Executive Director, Central Coast
Jessica Donohue, Executive Director, Contra Costa & Solano County
Kate Walker, Regional Executive Director, Washington Programs
Lily Ciancutti, Executive Director, Crisis Services & Ventura County
Lauren Crutsinger, Regional Executive Director, North Bay Programs
Melissa Lawton, Regional Executive Director, Santa Clara County
Shelby Howard, Executive Director, Resource Family Programs
Sama Hromnik, Executive Director of Non-Public Schools
Toshia Cooper, Executive Director of School Partnerships
Seneca’s range of child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, and education services annually reach more than 18,000 youth and their families in over 150 distinct programs throughout California and Washington. The agency’s programs span four key geographic regions: Northern California, the Central Coast, Southern California, and Washington state, with local administrative office hubs within each region.
Seneca’s continuum of care includes mental health, education, permanency, and juvenile justice programs designed to meet the holistic needs of children and families. Over the years, Seneca has used the lessons we have learned supporting youth facing profound challenges to reshape systems and build programs that can both reach young people at the first sign of struggle and unconditionally serve youth with the most acute and extraordinary needs. Services are designed to be highly accessible and responsive to the needs and goals of each youth and family, reaching them in their homes, schools, and communities.