Mission Statement

The mission of Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services is to end the cycle of child abuse by providing comprehensive care and compassion for foster children, challenged youth and young adults through life-enriching opportunities and strength-based, solution-focused programs and services.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to nurture, empower and develop self-sufficient, well-educated, healthy young adults who become thriving, contributing members of our community.

Cowboys & Cars 4 Kids
To Benefit Rancho Damacitas
Oct 7, 2017


Rancho’s Wishes
Gift Delivery Deadline
Dec 15, 2017

Project Independence provides a new road home to at-risk youth

by Valley News on September 24, 2017

When people hear the phrase “at-risk youth,” what comes to mind? Do they think of children and teens who are vulnerable to drugs, violence, disciplinary problems and exploitation? What about the successes?

Upending misconceptions about the potential of underserved children and teens is the goal of Project Independence, a Temecula-based transitional housing arm of the nonprofit Rancho Damacitas Children and Family Services. Ultimately, it is not just the adults who provide wisdom but the youth telling their stories that allows others to open their hearts and minds.

Take, for example, the pioneering Cara, whose name has been changed by request of the interviewee. She was the first girl to enter the program, becoming an example for her peers.

Growing up, Cara was given every reason not to trust those around her, she said. Her father’s imprisonment and mother’s long-term addiction, while pushing Cara into using and selling drugs as well, came at a time when most children are fighting the nervousness of entering junior high.

Following multiple run-ins with the law, the unstableness of the next few years meant she bounced between life on the streets and homeless shelters to group homes to eventual lockdown in a facility for juvenile offenders where the ultimate expectations were “silence and compliance,” Cara said. There was “no ability to speak up if you felt a punishment was unfair or talk of your future outside the facility,” she said. The strict rules and lack of community weighed on Cara, who in a prior time of overdose had called on God to give her a sign that her hope of a better future was warranted

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Foster Kids Receive Free Athletic Shoes

by Valley News on July 29, 2017

On July 24 at the Pechanga Theater, 54 foster children from Rancho Damacitas and the Koinonia programs in Temecula received free brand-name athletic shoes from the Shoes That Fit organization and Pechanga Casino & Resort. Angels pitcher, aptly-named Matt Shoemaker, distributed the shoes personally to each of the children. Pechanga also treated the foster children and foster families to their all-you-can-eat buffet.

“This is pretty exciting,” said Atheeniss, age 11, “It really helps us who have been through a lot.” She has been in the Rancho Damacitas program for three years, and says, “It’s just like family to me.” She was excited about her new light turquoise running shoes.

“It’s a fresh new start for my feet,” said Tyriel, age 12 as she proudly displayed her new shoes, “It’s pretty cool and makes a lot us happy to know that someone cares enough to do something like this for us.”

Tyriel had been in four group homes before coming to Rancho Damacitas.

“New shoes are a big deal to these foster kids,” said Kristi Piatkowski, Director of Development for Rancho Damacitas. “Many come from a background of years of neglect and abuse; some come to us with just the clothes on their backs and most are wearing hand-me-downs. Many don’t know their sizes.”

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Weingart Foundation donates $150,000 to help local foster youth soar!

Temecula, CA – July 14, 2017 – The Weingart Foundation recently gave $150,000 to a Temecula-based nonprofit serving current and former foster youth. The two-year, unrestricted operating support grant was awarded to Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services as they expand programs and services to address the increasing challenges facing this vulnerable population.

Rancho Damacitas CEO, Cal Winslow, says “We are so grateful to the Weingart Foundation for their investment in our continued work on behalf of Southern California’s foster youth. For nearly 35 years we have provided home, shelter and guidance for 100’s of challenged youth as they struggle to overcome a difficult start in life. Partnerships, such as those with Weingart, are crucial in allowing us to stay committed to meeting our children where they are in their treatment, and encouraging them to be the best that they can be.”

The Weingart Foundation provides grants to advance fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for all
Southern Californians, especially those communities hit hardest by persistent poverty. The
Foundation supports nonprofit organizations across six Southern California counties including
Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, and Ventura. Over the past
forty years, the Foundation has granted more than $950 million to support a variety of Southern
California social services, educational, and community programs.

Rancho Damacitas consists of a residential campus housing foster youth ages 6-18, therapeutic programs, transitional services for former foster youth over 18, and college scholarships. Over the past three years, Rancho Damacitas has expanded services to include community foster youth and young adults formerly living in foster care, continuing to bridge the gaps of support from dependency to adulthood. Transitional housing, financial management, employment readiness, and enrichment and educational scholarships are all expanded services offered. Rancho Damacitas plans to use the Weingart funds to continue building the infrastructure and organizational capacity necessary to continue serving this vulnerable population.

About the Weingart Foundation:
The mission of the Weingart Foundation is to build a better Southern California by supporting nonprofit organizations to more effectively serve the underserved. Weingart was founded in 1951. For more information: www.weingartfnd.org.

Intimate Evening in the Vines raises $40,000 for Rancho Damacitas

by Valley News on May 12, 2017

Tickets were limited to 125 people for the exclusive “Intimate Evening in the Vines,” a unique all-inclusive progressive dinner and entertainment event benefiting Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services. The event raised over $40,000 for Project Independence, including $12,000 for the Honor Home, a planned five-bedroom home for young adults in transition.

Rob & Trish Shea, community advocates for foster youth, hosted the evening. Trish, an elementary school teacher in the Temecula Valley Unified School District, grew up in the foster care system and was the 2015 winner of the Rancho Damacitas Jim Fullner Visionary Award. Rob was named Teacher of the Year for Vintage Hills Elementary.

Check-in was held at Pechanga Resort & Casino. Hostesses aboard busses provided by Stryder Transportation greeted guests with glasses of Wilson Creek Champagne and gifts of wine charms. Multiple busses transported small groups to the Ponte Family Estate Winery, where they were greeted by the beautiful melodic sounds of the Desert Rose guitar duo – John Carlson and Candace Klie – playing classical and flamenco styled music that reverberated throughout the barrel room.

Excitement was in the air as busloads arrived. They were welcomed by incoming Board Chairwoman, Julie Ngo. Guests then mingled and tasted the sweet white Moscato, the classic Tempranillo, and the robust Montepulciano wines that were served with an unending offering of hors d’ouevres, mini-lamb chops, stuffed figs and ceviche-filled wraps.

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