In the last two and a half months, I have used this blog to update you on the exciting news of Hillsides intent to merge with another well-respected child welfare agency, Bienvenidos. In today’s blog, I am very happy to announce that the affiliation is official. The boards of directors of Hillsides and Bienvenidos have created a parent-subsidiary relationship as of June 30.
Both Hillsides and Bienvenidos will retain their individual names, with Bienvenidos becoming the subsidiary and an affiliate of Hillsides. Together we will have a presence throughout Metro Los Angeles, East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley, serving approximately 13,000 children, youth and their families.
This affiliation was prompted by the Continuum of Care Reform (AB 403) that calls for providers like Hillsides and Bienvenidos to develop a comprehensive array of services to support children in the foster care system and their families. Those of you who have been following my blog have heard me talk often about this recent legislation. The goal of AB 403 is to limit the amount of time children are separated from their families and support the reunification of families, and our affiliation will support this effort.
Although each agency will operate independently for a period of time, there will be one governing body and a common leadership team to provide oversight and assure integration. As Hillsides Chief Executive Officer, I will remain at the helm, overseeing the agencies’ combined resources and workforce of 600. Bienvenidos Chief Executive Officer Ritchie Geisel will retire on August 1. In the coming months, Hillsides will announce its senior leadership team.
The integration of both agencies’ operations will take place over the next several months. We will assess the organizational needs of the combined agency and identify the infrastructure to support the delivery of services to all those we serve.
Headquartered in Pasadena, Hillsides and its affiliation with Bienvenidos serves children and families in Los Angeles County and other counties throughout its 35 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Licensed resource homes, formerly known as foster homes, serve families in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
Together we will fulfill our shared vision and provide leadership during this paradigm shift in child welfare. As I look to the future, I am filled with hope and optimism, and I hope you are, too.