Imperial County 1st to launch local United Advocates for Children and Families Chapter


CMHACY EMM CarouselEl Centro, CA – Oscar Wright, PhD., Chief Executive Officer of United Advocates for Children and Families (UACF) announced this week that an Imperial County Chapter has been approved by the UACF headquarters in Sacramento.

The application was submitted in June of this year by a group of parents from Imperial County. United Advocates for Children and Families is a major, statewide umbrella agency that has numerous chapters throughout the State. UACF’s mission is to: “Promote the emotional, behavioral and social well-being of children, youth and families through transformational leadership.”

United Advocates for Children and FamiliesThe organization’s Vision Statement is simply to “Inspire Hope and Courage.” UACF was conceived over twenty years ago by three mothers who were not being consulted, heard or respected by the medical and governmental forces that were so involved in their children’s lives.

After joining together, these women found strength in numbers and today UACF has thousands of supporters all over California and has helped additional thousands gain valuable skills and training.

In January of this year, Adam Gettinger-Brizuela, UACF Board Member representing UACF’s Region 12, held a meet and greet session at the Imperial County Office of Education to share information on UACF and got the conversation started on initiating a local chapter.

Imperial County is the first county in region 12 to start a UACF Chapter. There is no fee to become a member of UACF.

Maria Peinado, Chapter President stated, “This is a very exciting time for parents and families in Imperial County with the start of the UACF Chapter. The fact that this organization is parent and family-driven is what convinced me as well as other parents of the importance of bringing this resource to our community. We can’t wait to start bringing local trainings, resources and information to Imperial County families that will allow local families make informed decisions about their children’s education and treatment plans.”

Keila Rodriguez, Chapter Vice President stated, “With this local chapter efforts the focus will be on empowering the parent voice for children’s mental and behavioral health. We are especially interested in bringing resources in parents’ language so that information is accessible to all individuals.”

The first activity that will be hosted by UACF Imperial County will be the Educate, Equip, and Support: Building Hope (EES) Training in the Fall of this year.

This course, which was awarded the 2013 “Program of the Year” at the 33rd Annual California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth (CMHACY) Conference, is ideal for Parent Partner/Family Advocates and parents/caregivers who currently or previously have parented a child receiving services in the mental health system.

The three (3) day train-the-trainer course will certify participants to conduct the 12 week EES course in Imperial County.

Topics that will be covered include signs, symptoms, and children’s mental health diagnosis information, stages of brain development, treatment options, accessing mental health treatment, medication and working with schools, special education and the Individual Education Plan process.

Interested parents and family members may call the toll free 1800 number at 1844-506-9960.

This is a message phone, and someone will get back to the caller within 24 hours. The email address for Imperial County is For additional information on UACF visit the website at