Women and Families With Children
This page has information on resources for women and families, including parenting education, emergency assistance, pregnancy services, and more.
- For a comprehensive guide to Santa Cruz area family organizations and parent support opportunities that is provided by the Community Bridges Organization, click here.
- For resources directly related to women’s issues, see the Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission Resource Directory here.
- For an online guide to Santa Cruz County family resources, click here.
Access for Infants and Mothers
The State of California’s Access for Infants and Mothers (AIM) Program offers affordable maternity insurance for middle-income pregnant women and their babies. The families who benefit from AIM are those who have no maternity insurance, those who have health insurance with high maternity-only deductible, and those who have incomes that are too high to qualify them for other forms of state assistance, such as Medi-Cal. Click on the link above or call for more information.
Al-Anon Family Groups
Toll free: 1-800-356-9996
Al-Anon Family Groups has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic. Call or visit their website for meeting information.
Cal-Learn is a mandatory program for CalWORKs participants who receive cash assistance and are under 19 years of age, are pregnant or parenting, and have not yet completed their high school education. The Program requires participants to enroll in high school or an equivalency equivalent program, necessary to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent. The focus of Cal-Learn is to provide teens with the support they need to complete their high school education.
Toll free: 1-888-421-8080
CalWORKS offers cash assistance and employment services to eligible families with dependent children (under 19 years of age) to help meet basic needs such as shelter, food, and clothing while they work to increase their job readiness skills and prepare to enter the labor force. Benefits are based on household size and family income. CalWORKs Cash Aid recipients may also be eligible for Welfare-To-Work employment services, Medi-Cal and Food Stamps. For more information, visit their website.
Child Development Resource Center
400 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Main: (831) 466-5820
The Child Development Resource Center is a community-based network of early care and education specialists whose purpose is to deliver services to families, child care professionals and communities to increase the accessibility, availability, and quality of child care in Santa Cruz County. Services include:
- Community Education: Workshops, publications, advocacy for child, family, and child care related issues, etc. Call (831) 479-5282 for more information.
- Child Care Switchboard: Free referrals to child care providers in Santa Cruz County. Call (831) 476-8585 for more information.
Child & Family Development Programs
Through child development programs serving children birth through five, CFDP ensures young children are healthy and ready for school. Since a positive start in life is important to future success, program strategies nurture parents as their children’s first and most influential teachers, and connect families to community resources to enrich their lives. Programs include:
- Head Start: High-quality, comprehensive child development and family support services for low-income children age 3-5.
- Early Head Start: For low-income families with pregnant women, infants and toddlers. Quality early education in and out of the home; parent education, including parent-child activities; and comprehensive health services, including services to women before, during and after pregnancy. Call (831) 688-3802 or (831) 724-3885.
- Families Together: Child and family development program providing home-based services to families living throughout Santa Cruz County
- PaPas, Supporting Father Involvement: Offers parent groups and social activities designed to strengthen the father-child bond. Call (831)763-3123 or (831)763-4725
- Starlight Infant/Toddler Program: Wide variety of comprehensive bilingual services for expectant parents and families with infants and toddlers in the Watsonville area of south Santa Cruz County. Call (831) 688-3802 or (831) 724-3885
- State Preschool/Literacy: Half-day preschool program funded by the State Department of Education Child Development Division. The program offers two preschool classes in Watsonville for 4 year olds where children receive comprehensive services to ensure school readiness. Call (831) 688-3802 or (831) 724-3885
Child Protection Services
Santa Cruz: 1400 Emeline Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 | (831) 454-4222
Watsonville: 12 West Beach Street, Watsonville, CA 95076, Watsonville | (831) 763-8000
Emergency Response & Child Protective Services intervene in child abuse and neglect situations. They also make referrals to appropriate agencies.
Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women
323 Church Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Mon, Wed 1-5 pm, Tues 8am-5pm. Friday by appt.
The Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women not only supports in-jail self-defense classes, but also offers domestic violence support and prevention resources. Call or visit the website for more information. Domestic violence prevention resources, referrals and support.
This organization includes a variety of programs aiming to help families in Santa Cruz County. Click on the link above for more information (the individual programs are listed on the left hand side of the website).
Department of Child Support
Mon-Fri, 8 am – 5 pm: (831) 454-3700
After hours: (831) 454-3618
The mission of the Santa Cruz/San Benito County Regional Department of Child Support Services is to provide, in accordance with the law, quality child support services in a professional, courteous, respectful, and efficient manner to enhance the lives of the families and children we serve. The services include:
- Establishing paternity (the legal relationship between a father and a child).
- Locating parents for purpose of support establishment or collection.
- Establishing court orders for child and/or medical support.
- Actions taken to collect child and/or medical support.
- Modifying existing court orders for child and/or medical support (increase or decrease due to a change in circumstances).
- Enforcing spousal support orders (where there is also a child support order).
- Collecting and distributing support payments.
Especially for New Parents
Santa Cruz County Parent Education and Support Programs
For Parents of Young Children
See link for more details. Programs include a new mothers support group, baby talk (a sharing group), a parent-infant, class and more.
The Familia Center
711 East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Monday -Friday 9-12 & 1-6
Our Mission: To empower those who struggle with poverty, exclusion and racism while assisting them to meet their basic needs. Familia Center is extremely responsive to the needs of low-income Latinos and functions as a one-stop resource center. The Center focuses on identifying the needs of the clients and making sure that they are met. Familia Center assists families by providing them with a number of direct services at the site and helps them with appropriate referrals to save them time and make it as easy as possible for them to access the services they need. Services are Free. See link above for details.
Family Matters Foundation
5521 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Family Matters foundation offers a variety of services for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Must call to apply.
Grandma Sue’s Community Project
P.O. Box 8262, Santa Cruz, CA 95061
This community run project includes Children’s Programs, Back to School Supplies, A Food Pantry, Emergency Assistance, Thanksgiving and Christmas Baskets, Parents’ Opportunity Programs, Budget Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, Sewing, and Homeless Assistance. Please call for more details.
Healthy Families Program
Healthy Families is low cost insurance that provides health, dental and vision coverage to children who do not have insurance today and do not qualify for no-cost Medi-Cal. For application assistance, contact Maria Elena Villalobos at The United Way of Santa Cruz County: (831) 479-5466, x 209.
521 Main St, Suite Y, Watsonville, CA 95076
Bilingual, bicultural community resource center serving mostly low-income residents of Watsonville and Pajaro Valley that connects you to the resources your family needs to be strong and healthy. For a list of the services and support for families and children, visit their website.
Live Oak Family Resource Center
The mission of the Live Oak Family Resource Center is to improve the quality of life and strengthen the individuals and families of Live Oak while promoting a safe and healthy community. Services for families include: Childbirth Preparation Classes, Parent/Child Classes, Positive Discipline Classes, Case Management/Home Visiting, Health Enrollment, Education & Advocacy (Partnership with Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center), Paraprofessional Counseling, Brief Crisis Case Management, Resources, Referrals, & Advocacy, and Resource Distribution.
New Horizons School
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3683, Santa Cruz, CA 95063
Street Address: 4951 Soquel Dr, Soquel, CA 95063
The primary mission of New Horizons School is to provide a transitional program for homeless children living in Santa Cruz County. The school provides education, meals, a safe environment, and transportation.
Parent Center of Santa Cruz
530 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Includes counseling for children, families, couples, and individuals. Our staff is comprised of hightly trained professionals, marriage and family therapists, and interns. Groups and classes are also offered such as “Understanding your Child’s Behavior,” “Encouragement versus Praise,” “Effective Communication Skills,” etc. There is also a 24 hour parental stress hotline: (831) 426-7322 or (831) 724-2879. See link for above for more details.
A collaborative project serving families of Santa Cruz County. Includes information and resources for parents.
Pregnancy Resource Center of Santa Cruz
24 hour helpline: (831) 475-2200
If you are pregnant, the Pregnancy Resource Center has specially trained counselors who will sit and talk with you in a private setting and caring environment about all of your options. All services are free and confidential and include: Information on pregnancy, Pregnancy testing, Pregnancy verification, Ultrasound, Physician or nurse consultations, Pregnancy-related crisis counseling, Counseling, Medical/housing/legal referrals, etc. We serve women in an unplanned, untimely, or unwanted pregnancy regardless of age, race, creed or marital status. Schedule an appointment by phone or online.
Santa Cruz Adult School Parenting Classes
(831) 476-7284 x102
- Skillful Parenting Classes: Play with your children and encourage their healthy growth & development while gaining information and skills to support your growth as a parent. Classes include participation in fun, developmentally appropriate activities with other familes as well as a lecture/discussion component for parents while supervison of children is provided. Flexible and fun lab time for participating parents to be arranged. Start anytime! Please call (831) 476-7284, x 110 for more information.
- El Patio de Mi Casa: Cada semana un grupo de padres y ninos de la edad pre-kinder de habla espanol se junta con una maestra para divertirse con juegos creativos, canciones y cuentos. Este es un programa proveido en colaboracion entre la Escuela de Adultos, de Santa Cruz y Live Oak Family Resouce Center. Informacion: (831) 476-7284×102. Fee $20
- Together in the Park: This program is a collaborative effort between Santa Cruz Adult School and Community Bridges/Live Oak Family Resource Center. This class is a drop-in play group for parents and young children. Come meet other parents, get information about parenting and child development and have fun learning with your child. Class will not meet if it rains the day of the program. If it is cloudy, class will meet. Class dates subject to change. For information, please call 476-7284 x 110. This class is ongoing throughout the year the year. Class will be canceled in the event of rain. Start anytime!
108 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 425-BABY (2229)
Siena House is a maternity home that provides an environment of total support for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy. Services are provided both before and after delivery. Mothers and their babies may remain at Siena House for up to three months after delivery.
Survivor’s Healing Center
2301 Mission St Suite C-1, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Hotline: (831) 685-3737
Office: (831) 423-7601
Survivor’s Healing Center is a non-profit organization and has been serving Santa Cruz County since l987. SHC provides education, information, referrals, quality services, and support to survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their allies. Their primary goals are to empower those victimized by sexual abuse through a healing process and to prevent sexual abuse of children and youth.
Victim Witness Program
Santa Cruz: 701 Ocean St Room 200, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 | (831) 454-2010
Watsonville:1420 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville, CA 95076 | (831) 763-8166
A program has been established by the State of California to provide aid to innocent persons who suffer loss of money due to injury or death resulting from crimes of violence and to assist, as advocates, victims of violent crime through the criminal justice process. You may be eligible for financial assistance if you have been a crime victim. THE VWP also provides support for victims of violent crimes and their families by offering services. They include but are not limited to: information about legal rights information, compensation, and medical expenses.
Walnut Avenue Women’s Center
303 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Mission: “To provide high quality support and services to women, children, and families that they might have the opportunity and skills to thrive.” Programs include:
Women’s Crisis Support Center (Defensa de Mujures)
For information: (831) 425-4030
24-hour crisis line: (831) 685-3737
Crisis services include: a 24-hour crisis line and emergency response, peer counseling, advocacy, accompaniment, confidential emergency shelter, emergency transportation to the shelter or other safe location, legal assistance with restraining orders, court accompaniments, information and referrals, professional counseling and support groups.
Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)
18 West Lake Avenue, Watsonville, CA 95076
Toll free: 1-888-WIC-WORKS
Santa Cruz Line: (831) 426-3911
WIC, the Women, Infants, and Children program is a nutrition program that helps pregnant women, new mothers, and young children eat well and stay healthy. Services include: special checks to get healthy food, information about nutrition, health, and breastfeading, help in finding health care and other community services, etc. Call to make an appointment to see if you qualify.