Mission: Helping children and families through the most difficult times of their lives.
Best Places to Work: 2014 (#22)
Meet Melanie Goldman! Melanie is a Mental Health Therapist at Seneca’s Lake Forest Clinic, and she chose to work in the social work field after finding a passion for helping kids and families achieve permanency. Reflecting on the impact of her work, Melanie shares, “I may not be able to help everyone, but if I can help one child or family, I’ve made a difference.”
Did you know that Seneca has an #UnconditionalEducation blog? Browse tools and resources, get to know our staff and school partners, and subscribe below!
Seneca Family of Agencies (formerly Seneca Center) was founded in 1985 by advocates who were determined to more effectively meet the needs of children in group homes and foster family care. Seneca established itself as an innovative leader in the provision of unconditional care through a comprehensive continuum of school, community-based and family-focused treatment services for children and families who have experienced high levels of trauma and are at risk for family disruption or institutional placement of the children.
In 2011, a strategic merger with Kinship Center formed Seneca Family of Agencies. In 2012, Canyon Acres Ranch was incorporated into the Orange County programs of Kinship Center, expanding the local base of mental health, wraparound, child placement, family finding and professional and parent training services in Southern California and the Central Coast.
Seneca expanded to Washington state in 2013 to support charter schools with a range of technical assistance and supports for schools and districts centered around a model of Unconditional Education. Seneca has since designed individualized models and services that meet students’ unique needs, and it continues to develop systems that support the success and wellbeing of all students.
The joining of these organizations creates one of the most comprehensive service systems for children in California and Washington.
Seneca Family of Agencies’ continuum of care now includes:
Seneca Family of Agencies has programs across the states of California and Washington. Our programs are located in the following counties.
S.F. Bay Area (View a map of our Bay Area programs.)
Central Coast (View a map of our Central Coast programs.)
Southern California (View a map of our Southern California programs.)
Seneca Family of Agencies helps children and families through the most difficult times of their lives.
In many cases, we are the last hope for young people who have come to see failure and discouragement as a way of life. Here at Seneca, we offer each child a simple but profound promise: You will be supported every step of the way, no matter what challenges you face.
By supporting each child and family in identifying and building upon their resources and strengths, we enable them to approach the future with renewed optimism and a stronger sense of the possibilities for creating a new and different story for their lives.
Seneca Family of Agencies is a leading innovator in the field of education, community-based and family-focused treatment services for children and families. Seneca’s success with the most challenging children rests upon the agency’s commitment to five core service principles:
Once accepted into care, no child is ejected from Seneca due to challenging behaviors or service needs. Seneca tailors treatment and support services to address those behaviors and meet those needs, even as they change over time. (For more information on Unconditional Care and Seneca’s book, click here.)
Parent-Driven, Strength-Based Service Planning
At Seneca, we form partnerships with parents and focus on families’ strengths and competencies when planning and delivering services.
To enable troubled children to succeed at home, at school and in the community, Seneca works with each child and family to design and provide an individualized package of services tailored to meet their unique needs and circumstances.
Seneca’s culturally and ethnically diverse team of professionals respect client strengths, talents and cultural heritage, working with each child and family in the context of their histories and experience.
Seneca staff work closely with county agencies, school districts, and other community-based providers to ensure that children and families receive the supportive services they need to achieve lasting success.
Getting your dream job is as easy as counting to four. Here’s how you do it:
Following an initial screening, you may be scheduled to attend an interview. Interview format may be individual, group, or panel. FaceTime interviews may be available for long-distance applicants, as one step in the interview process. Some positions may require additional steps such as computer testing and/or writing samples, based on job responsibility.
Meet the Program
Prior to hire, all applicants interview at the program site for an opportunity to see our work in action and to meet our staff. This may include an interactive interview, and/or a personal interview with a Manager or Director.
New Employee Orientation
Once you have been offered and accepted a position, you’ll complete New Employee Orientation. This is a paid training period where employees engage in interactive discussions, receive a comprehensive overview of the agency’s history, mission, and values, and learn the skills they will need to be successful in their job!
Our Human Resources Team is ready to answer any questions you may have! We are proud to have over 65 years of combined Seneca experience and are committed to supporting employees to be the best they can be, every day.
“The environment created was very friendly and comfortable. They made it a safe place to share our answers. It was a wonderful experience and introduction to group interviews.”
“Seneca has been nothing short of a wealth of knowledge. Seneca hires people who truly are passionate about working with this tough population and they all do so with such grace. I have gained a wide variety of knowledge and perspectives from working within a group of such compassionate people and hope to continue to grow with this company and in my passion to help youth and families.”
“Overall it felt more like a conversation than an interview, and it was very relaxed, humorous, and informational. One of the most fun interviews I've been to yet.”
Seneca Institute for Advanced Practices
Seneca's Institute for Advanced Practice provides high-quality education and trainings to Seneca employees and other providers. Our trainings provide opportunities for professional development and growth in a variety of topics related to supporting children, youth and families.
We welcome applicants from all different backgrounds and provide the training and support to help you succeed in your career at Seneca.
New Employee Orientation - Upon starting, every employee at Seneca goes through a paid basic training series that provides an orientation to the agency, the work we do and the population that we serve.
Clinical Training - Our clinical trainings provide in-depth information from experienced professionals, plus the opportunity to earn BBS CEUs in the process.
Specialty Training - Our specialty trainings provide insight into an array of topics such as permanency, resiliency, child trauma, evidence based practices and special education, plus group home administrator and foster care trainings.
Internships (Graduate Clinical Fieldwork)
We partner with local universities to provide clinical fieldwork placements for students in a variety of related programs. We have fieldwork students working on degrees in Masters of Social Work (MSW), Master's of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Our placements are limited in number and applications are open for only a few months each year. Please visit our website for more information about our clinical internships in the Bay Area or Orange County Area.
Building permanent families through family finding, kinship care, foster care and adoption
Establishing inclusive and supportive learning environments where every child can learn and succeed
Helping each child to heal and thrive by ensuring access to community-based therapeutic services when and where they are needed most
Creating innovative solutions for serving children and responsive strategies for developing professionals
*All statistics on this page were taken from the 2015-2016 Seneca annual report
I have been working at Seneca Family of Agencies full-time (More than 5 years)
The staff at Seneca are across-the-board high caliber and positive collaborators. People genuinely care about the mission of the organization and it comes through. There is a strong work ethic, people work hard, and good ideas are noticed. There are many different pathways to advancement within the agency and it is encouraged to build skills in different positions. Professional development is encouraged and supported.
Seneca does tend to favor those who take the initiative and are willing to go the extra mile, so if this doesn't describe you, it might not be the best fit.
I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Seneca Family of Agencies (San Leandro, CA) in September 2016.
Applied online. Received a phone call to schedule an on site interview a week later. Interview was a group interview with six other people applying for either the same or a different position. Interview was pretty laid back and mostly situational. Didn't seem like there was too much pressure. Everyone gave similar answers to questions but put their own twist on it.
Career Advancement Program
Helping employees "upskill" into higher-paying positions
Has programs that support a diverse and inclusive workforce