History Of The Early Childhood Parenting Center

ECPC (originally named the Early Childhood Center, aka ECC) was founded in 1970 by Helen Reid as a response to an overwhelming need for young mothers to have support, information and social experiences with other mothers.

At the time Helen was a social worker at the Thalians Community Mental Health Center in the Department of Child Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai hospital. The inspiration for the center stemmed from an article published in the LA Times about the work being done by Helen and her colleagues for families with young children. Over the next two days over 150 calls came in to Thalians and Helen decided to answer all of them with the help of eight friends, who were also MSW’s and child development specialists. From this was born the Warm Line, a free service providing practical, clinically based guidance to parents over the phone. When some of the mothers from the Warm Line asked for face-to-face meetings, Helen and ECC pioneered the first mother-toddler group. With the help of Dr. Saul Brown, then director of Thalians Mental Health Center, along with many dedicated staff and volunteers, ECPC became an innovator and leader in early childhood development and parent education. In 1989, the Community Outreach branch of the program began when the staff of ECC brought their expertise to help low-income, high-risk families in the community.

The Early Childhood Center left Thalians and Cedars-Sinai in August of 2001 and reopened as The Early Childhood Parenting Center. We currently operate in Santa Monica, where we continue Helen’s legacy by providing parenting groups, individual counseling and support, training for interns and volunteers as well as our Warm Line.