Therapeutic Counseling Services

Mental Health


Home Start’s Mental Health Department provides therapy services to children, families, and adults, both in the community, at the client’s homes, and also at the Home Start Inc. Counseling Center. Most services are FREE of charge to clients.

For more detailed program information, please contact the Program Manager at 619-692-0727 x 136 or email at

If you are seeking services, please call our intake line at 619-692-0727 x 118 and kindly leave your best contact number, and one of our staff will return your call and determine which of our programs best meets your needs. Additionally, you will receive information preparing you for your first appointment.

Child Abuse Treatment (CHAT) 

The Child Abuse Treatment Program provides therapy to child victims of abuse and neglect aged 17 years and younger. In this program, specially trained therapists utilize research proven techniques to heal the trauma sustained by these youth. These evidence-based therapies allow for greater success in less time, providing targeted service to those who have experienced a wide range of traumas. Home Start provides this therapy FREE of charge to child victims in a culturally and linguistically competent manner, in either their home, school, or at the Home Start Inc. Counseling Center.


  • Therapy to child victims of abuse and neglect 17 years of age and younger
  • Uses evidence based, research validated therapeutic approaches
  • Therapy provided in the home or office
  • Features bilingual therapists
  • Service is FREE of charge to children and families

Healthy Development Services Programs (HDS)

The Healthy Development Services Programs at Home Start often use Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), which is a specialized, research proven therapeutic approach that targets the mental health needs of children 5 years of age and younger. In this play-based approach, therapists coach the interactions of parent’s with their child and assist them in developing a strong and secure attachment. With this attachment firmly in place, parents can then use compliance techniques to increase desired behavior from their child.

Home Start typically provides this therapy FREE of charge to children and families in a culturally and linguistically competent manner, throughout much of San Diego County, either in the clients home, or at the Home Start Inc. Counseling Center. In order to receive FREE services, clients should reside in the North Inland, North Coastal, North Central, Central, and East regions of the county. Clients enrolled in HDS programs will also be eligible to receive many other FREE services outside of Home Start. For children who do not qualify for services under the CHAT or HDS programs, the same services are available at the Home Start Inc. Counseling Center using a sliding scale fee structure discussed below.


  • HDS programs are funded by First 5 San Diego
  • Uses PCIT, a specialized, research proven therapeutic approach
  • Develops attachment between caregiver and child
  • Serves children between the ages of 0-5 and their families
  • Is FREE to clients in most of San Diego County, except South Bay
  • Features bilingual therapists
  • Provides access to other FREE First 5 programs

Home Start Inc. Counseling Center (H.S.I.)

The H.S.I. Counseling Center provides a wide range of services to individual adults, children, families, and couples, using a sliding scale with fees ranging from $20 per session to $115 per session.  Skilled and well-supervised therapists provide therapy at the Counseling Center in a culturally and linguistically competent manner.

In addition to providing counseling or therapy, H.S.I. also conducts psychological testing at substantially reduced cost.  In private practice, most psychologists charge upwards of $1800 for a full battery of tests, while H.S.I. offers the same testing from between $100 to $400.  Annual family income and household size determine the exact fee. Psychological testing evaluates cognitive & intellectual functioning, personality characteristics, intrapersonal functioning, and social functioning.  Typically, psychological testing is able to provide information about diagnoses and help in making treatment recommendations.  H.S.I. does not provide psychological testing for custody evaluations.

In some instances clients enrolled in the Child Abuse Treatment Program, Victims of Crime Program, or the Treatment Evaluation Resources Management Program, may not have to pay for services.

The Counseling Center does not accept any insurance at this time.


  • Counseling to individual adults, children, families, and couples
  • Uses a sliding scale fee structure
  • Features bilingual therapists
  • Reduced fee psychological evaluations
  • Cash only basis

Victims of Crime (VOC)

Victims of crimes (e.g., domestic violence, sexual assault, gang-related violence, kidnapping, etc.) are eligible for services FREE of charge through the Victims Compensation Program.  Home Start provides these services to children, adolescents, adults, and families, countywide.  To qualify for this no-cost service, there must be a police report on file, or CPS substantiated abuse.


  • Counseling for Victims of Crime
  • Children and Adults
  • Must have police report or substantiated child abuse report
  • Features bilingual therapists
  • Free to children and families

Treatment and Evaluation Resources Management (TERM)

San Diego county social workers may request a psychological evaluation or treatment for a client funded via county funds. There are no fees for clients referred by a social worker to Home Start to see a TERM approved therapist.

Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse (ASCA) Groups

Skilled therapists facilitate group therapy for anyone who is a survivor of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse during his or her childhood.  Group dates and times vary depending on the group members and facilitators’ schedules.  Fees for the group range from $0 to $10 per group.

Value of Home Start’s Mental Health Department:

The fundamental value of these programs comes from working with communities and families, and the systems that support them, to help treat and prevent child abuse. Our programs align well with the values listed above by helping families to reduce stress by learning new parenting skills, new coping mechanisms, and new ways of interacting. Combined, these all have a significant impact on reducing the risk of child abuse.

Lastly, by treating those already affected by trauma, abuse and neglect, Home Start helps heal those traumas and give children an opportunity to grow into productive, healthy adults, leading meaningful lives.

Program funded in part by: