El Centro de Amistad, Inc., is a multilingual, cross cultural organization providing a comprehensive range of mental health services, anticipating the ever-changing needs of families and individuals in the San Fernando Valley. El Centro de Amistad, Inc. is committed to assisting children, adults and families.
Why is El Centro de Amistad Needed?
Since its incorporation in 1977, El Centro de Amistad, Inc. (ECDA) has provided comprehensive and culturally competent services for “at risk” youth, adults and their families. ECDA has provided mental health services, case management, medication, recreational, and educational support to over 100,000 individuals.
ECDA is concerned about the lack of mental health and social services to the low-income residents of the San Fernando Valley. It administers a comprehensive range of services, including individual, family and group therapy, case management, medication support and employment placement.
The main goals of ECDA’s children’s programs are to reduce risk factors that lead to violence, school failure, gang affiliation, and child abuse. With regards to the adult programs, the main goals are to assist with avoiding further deterioration and enhancing self-sufficiency, and to resolve issues that interfere with employment. Services are provided for adults (ages 25-59) and for children (ages 0-17). All services are available in English and Spanish by culturally competent staff.
El Centro De Amistad History
In 1977, a group from the impoverished Canoga Park “Barrio” community, grew concerned about the needs of the predominantly Latino families that struggled with unemployment, crime, poverty and drug abuse. They were particularly concerned about the youth in the area. With the encouragement and financial support of San Fernando Mental Health Centers Inc. and their Board of Directors, this group of activists founded El Centro De Amistad.
El Centro De Amistad began as a storefront program with three staff, targeting the large community of at-risk, gang-involved youth by providing substance abuse treatment and related services. Tarzana Treatment Center staff provided supervision for El Centro’s substance abuse services, and a community advisory board provided direction to the program.
In 1984, El Centro De Amistad Inc. decided to become a self-governing entity with a functioning Board of Directors. With the assistance of then Supervisor Michael Antonovich, El Centro was able to secure a $68,000.00 contract from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Services to provide Community Mental Health Outreach Services to at risk, gang-involved youth by providing substance abuse treatment and related services, Tarzana Treatment Center staff provided supervision for El Centro’s substance abuse services, and a community advisory board provided direction to the program.