Family Paths

Community Subscriber
Hayward, Oakland

Family Paths, Inc. is a non-profit organization of mental health professionals and dedicated volunteers that provide a number of mental health, counseling and therapy services to low income, multi-stressed individuals and families.

We are a multicultural agency committed to serving families of Alameda County regardless of age, ethnicity/race, financial status, language, sexual orientation, immigration status, class, religion, gender, mental or physical ability.

We have served the community since 1972, and we offer services including a 24-hour Parent Support Hotline, a 24-hour Foster Parent Advice Line, CalWORKs Case Management, Positive Parenting Classes, and counseling for children, adolescents, adults and families.

Parent Reviews

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Parenting is hard! It’s great that you are reaching out for help and have empathy for your little one. One resource to consider is the 24 hour parent support hotline at family paths: 800-829-3777.

They also have parenting classes, parenting tips, Info about self care and stress management.

Another organization that is super helpful is hand in hand.  To repair after a hard time, they recommend having special time with your little one that involves your undivided attention for a set amount of time (20-30 minutes) During which they lead and you follow With love, praise and admiration. This will be easier to do after taking care of your own needs. It is super helpful and indeed it does become a special time. Hang in there. We’ve all been there!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Nov 2012

RE: Adjusting to Empty Nest

I can relate. With my daughter in her first year of college and with me relocating to Berkeley and in a new relationship, I was certainly at a very loose end and, like you, needed ''a toe hold on something bigger''. My previous professional background was working with kids, and when I saw an ad looking for volunteers to train to be parent counselors on a family support telephone hotline, I thought I would try it. I applied for an unpaid counselor position at Parental Stress Service, now called Family Paths. It changed my life and gave me a new and very satisfying career path. They still provide this free service and while I was working on the line, they expanded it to include foster parents also. The service is a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week hotline which parents can call anonymously and get support around stressful feelings or issues they are experiencing with their kids or partners, and they offer ongoing call back support to parents, so I felt as if I was helping individual families working through hard times. The volunteer counselors utilize basic counseling skills learned in their Pre-Service training, and each volunteer signs up for one 4-hour shift per week (between 9am and 9pm) for a one-year commitment.

The training I had was incredibly good, spread over two weekends. In between those two intensive training weekends, you go for a 4-hour observation shift, which allows you to be in the hotline room and get a chance to see the hotline volunteers in action. Once I was accepted on the hotline, I was supervised and mentored at every stage, and I worked with other ordinary folk who wanted to volunteer, and also with MFT interns and Social Worker trainees. As I gained experience, I eventually progessed to a (paid) position on their overnight service and worked from home. I learned so much from the staff and the other super volunteers there, I quickly knew I wanted to make a career in this field, which I successfully have done.

The work isn't for everyone, and their screening process is designed to pick people who can be taught how to effectively and non-judgementally counsel parents, some of whom are in real distress. But I learned such a lot there that it made me sign up for their parenting class to make me a better and more effective parent to my second daughter. That class too was superb.

Family Paths isn't the only organization who do this work. There are similar organizations in San Francisco and Contra Costa counties also, but this was right on my doorstep in downtown Oakland.

Good luck in your search for a new career. - Grateful -

April 2012

RE: 6 Year Old Son's Anxiety/Fears

Hi there, I'm so sorry to hear about your son's struggles with anxiety and the way it has impacted you. It sounds like you've been doing everything you can think of to comfort him and model the kind of behavior you'd like to see from him. It's clear that you care about him and want him to feel confident and secure. He's lucky to have you thinking about him and looking for resources. That's huge.

It must be so hard to see him struggle. You absolutely need and deserve support with what's going on. Do you know about the Parent Support Hotline at Family Paths? It's a 24-hour parent support line where people are available to listen to how things are going, possibly providing referrals, as appropriate. 800-829-3777,

Good luck, and take care. Lindsay

March 2010

RE: Where to take a parenting class?

Family Paths has parenting classes that could work for you, although they are in San Leandro. They also have other resources, like counseling (even over the phone). Here is a link: