CAMARILLO, Calif. - A home for children separated from their parents due to abuse or neglect celebrates its 20th anniversary this July.
Casa Pacifica is a sprawling facility in Camarillo. It serves children from both Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
"Our primary purpose is to work with kids who are removed from home because of abuse or neglect," said Casa Pacifica CEO Dr. Steven Elson.
The first year the facility was opened they served 324 children, now they serve close to 5,000 children every year.
"We meet kids and families at the most challenging times of their lives and our goal is too try and help them through those challenges and to move into adulthood with success," said Elson.
Erick Alvarez is one of more than 25,000 children who have received help from Casa Pacifica in the last 20 years.
"I was an illegitimate conception. I was an unwanted child and through the pain, neglect and abuse I ended up in foster care at the age of 8," said Alvarez.
Alvarez says walking through the doors of Casa Pacifica forever changed his life.
"I was allowed to take a shower, then I was given a warm meal and immediately following that I was tucked into bed with clean sheets for the first time," said Alvarez, "It was a turning point for the positive, they supported me, they gave me resources, they loved on me and it was an unconditional kind of love and that built hope and mustered this strength within me."
Ten years later Alvarez is now working at Casa Pacifica to help the kids that are in this same position he once was.
"I wanted to give back and be a part of that now," said Alvarez.
For more information on Casa Pacifica and the work they do click here.