On June 1, 2022, Hannah’s Family Center will have to close its doors after providing 34 years of dedicated and compassionate service to the San Diego community. As a mission-based nonprofit, Hannah’s Family Center (HFC), previously known as Hannah’s House, has worked to prevent violence and family abductions when families break apart while also helping families strengthen the critical bonds to prevent separations. Since 1988, HFC has helped over 23,000 San Diego families navigate significant adverse changes, trauma and loss.
In providing services to families at the critical points that have led to the split of the family, HFC recognized these transition points hold the highest risk of violence to parents and to children. When a family breaks apart, the courts are often involved and orders on visitation/safe exchange may be handed down. Last year the organization’s services helped 334 families from across San Diego County. As experts in co-parenting, the Center worked with both parents to create stronger, more secure and loving family relationships and offered safe and secure visitation environments through their Two Home Kids program.
Susan Griffin, Founder and CEO of Hannah’s Family Center, has guided the organization since its inception. Ms. Griffin is a licensed marriage and family therapist with more than 40 years of experience working with families coping with difficult transitions. She has guided HFC staff in a trauma-informed and child-centered set of programs and services, including therapies and life skills. She is a recognized expert on the co-parenting relationship and in helping parents navigate the challenges of managing children living in two separate homes. Under her watch in 2021, dedicated HFC staff and volunteers provided 7,233 hours of services to local families in San Diego County, 83% of which were low-income. HFC and its board commend Susan for all she has done to change lives for the better in our community.
“Closing our doors is the most challenging and difficult decision I have participated in since we opened our doors,” said Ms. Griffin. “Most of our families have been involved with Family Court due to legal separation or divorce and have experienced one or more of these issues: domestic violence, high conflict, mental health diagnoses, substance abuse/addiction, adverse childhood experiences and child estrangement.” Other families, she noted, who are experiencing similar challenges and have not yet separated have come to HFC to help preserve the family.
“It is heartbreaking that HFC will no longer be here for these families in desperate need of help and understanding,” commented Marilyn Howe, HFC’s board president.
Susan Griffin and Hannah’s Family Center envision a world where strong families enable children to thrive and communities to prosper and encourage all individuals and families who may benefit from services like these to reach out and seek help from other programs that can assist with preventing parental separations, rebuilding frayed familial bonds, addressing the lasting impact from loss and trauma, and creating a positive path forward for each family member.