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Casa de Amparo, a San Diego community leader and trailblazer in the field of child abuse treatment and prevention for more than 32 years, has set Nov. 16 as the date to break ground for its new Casa Kids Campus in Twin Oaks Valley adjacent to San Marcos.

To be built on 11.4 acres owned by the organization, the new facility will replace the current aging Children’s Shelter and double Casa de Amparo’s capacity for emergency shelter for children removed from the home due to abuse or neglect. It will also allow the organization to expand and enhance services to other populations of abused, neglected or at-risk children and youth including emergency housing and therapeutic programs for children with special health care needs. The organization also provides services to families including parent education and enrichment classes to improve parenting skills and help create healthy home environments. Administrative offices, now located in leased space in Oceanside, will also move to the new campus, allowing Casa de Amparo to maximize resources focused on programs and services.

The campus is the second part of a strategic plan that included building the Family Services and Hayward Child Development Center, which opened in 2007 in Oceanside. Budget for the project is approximately $14.3 million. So far, Casa de Amparo has raised more than $10 million plus a $2 million Challenge Grant from The Leichtag Family Foundation and gifts from the city of Carlsbad, County Supervisor Bill Horn’s Community Reinvestment Funds, Life Technologies (Nasdaq: LIFE), the Brausa Family Trust, the Sangham Foundation, Diane Martin and the Ecke Family. Wells Fargo Bank (NYSE: WFC) has offered a $4 million construction loan if Casa de Amparo can first raise a matching $4 million. At this point, the organization is $1.3 million short of that goal.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous support we’ve received from the community,” said Casa de Amparo Executive Director Sharon Delphenich. “Now, more than ever, we look to the generosity of our supporters, community businesses, organizations and foundations to help us close the $1.3 million gap so we may immediately begin construction of the new Casa Kids Campus. We will continue to raise additional funds in order to pay off the loan and open the Casa Kids Campus debt-free as we were able to do with the Family Services and Hayward Child Development Center.”

The importance of community organizations such as Casa de Amparo is illustrated in a 2009 study by the California Center for Research on Women and Families. The study showed that, while the rate of referrals or reports of suspected child abuse and neglect in California has remained fairly stable, strong prevention, early intervention and treatments efforts by community organizations have resulted in fewer children entering the child welfare and foster care system.

“The fact is that child abuse can be prevented, but it cannot be ignored and it won’t go away,” said Delphenich. “It takes organizations such as Casa de Amparo working in tandem with the child welfare system to keep child abuse rates down. A goal of our new Casa Kids Campus is to help children heal and move more quickly into healthy home environments.”

For information about The Campaign for Casa Kids, including naming opportunities and in-kind donations, contact Kathy Karpé at 760-754-5500 x18 or kkarpe@casadeamparo.org.

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