Bienvenidos was founded in 1986 by Lorraine Castro as an emergency residential facility for children removed from their homes. Since then, we have grown into a multi-faceted social service organization that offers a comprehensive continuum of culturally responsive supportive services for vulnerable children and families. These services are provided through our Family Resource Centers, a foster care and adoptions program and mental health services throughout Southern California.
In 1988, Bienvenidos opened its Family Services Division (now Family Resource Centers) to meet the needs of vulnerable families challenged by factors largely out of their control. To better serve the community, in 1994, Bienvenidos expanded its scope of services by providing a comprehensive family planning program, with a unique emphasis on men’s reproductive health needs. A grant from Title X opened the first Bienvenidos Health Clinic.
In 2000, the agency began providing mental health care for children from birth to 21 years of age who present with a variety of emotional and behavioral difficulties. In 2000, Bienvenidos also opened a primary health clinic in East Los Angeles, offering comprehensive primary health care services to primarily low-income, uninsured Latinos in the Greater Los Angeles area.
In 2009, the Bienvenidos Board of Directors voted to spin off the clinic as its own nonprofit organization. In July 2013, Bienvenidos Foster Family Agency became Bienvenidos Foster Care and Adoptions, having achieved licensure as a certified adoption agency. In November 2013, the Bienvenidos Community Health Center successfully submitted and was awarded a New Access Point grant that designated it as a federally qualified health center, and subsequently completed its separation from Bienvenidos in 2015.
Under former CEO Ritchie Geisel's leadership, Bienvenidos became nationally accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation, following a year of self-assessment and process improvement as of January 2015.
In April 2016, Bienvenidos and Hillsides, a premier provider of child welfare, announced their intent to merge with Bienvenidos becoming an affiliate of Hillsides. Hillsides provides high quality care, advocacy, and innovative services that promote safe, permanent environments where children and youth can thrive. Headquartered in Pasadena, the agency and its affiliation with Bienvenidos serves 13,000 children and families in Los Angeles County throughout more than 40 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Montebello, Baldwin Park, and Pomona. Licensed resource homes, formerly known as foster homes, serve families in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Together Hillsides and Bienvenidos envision a world in which children and young adults, families, and communities are able to heal, grow, and thrive.