Parent Leadership and Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Prevention Awards 2019

Parent Leadership Award Winners

Roger De Leon

Roger De Leon is a flagship Parent Partner with Riverside County Children’s Services supporting families. Over the course of the past 2 years, Roger’s passion for practice and advocacy in the field has been a bright light for his community. In his role as both Father and Parent Partner, Roger provides individualized skill development and support to Riverside County’s most vulnerable youth and families. The families in their programs have been in and out of foster care, group homes, disrupted adoptions, the juvenile justice system, and have lost connections to family members over the course of time.

Roger has been key in developing a fatherhood coalition in his county and serves on many fatherhood boards. Roger has also been involved in prevention and early intervention efforts as a volunteer in his community supporting faith-based assistance for over 16 years and in juvenile probation group homes to prevent future involvement of youth when they become parents. As an active committee member, he holds the group accountable to ensure the father’s voice is elevated and heard.

As a father himself who has navigated these same systems, Roger effectively engages with this high need population, many of whom exhibit behaviors that others find too challenging or even frightening. Roger’s dedication to see beyond a family’s behavioral challenges and his ability to stay calm under pressure are truly remarkable traits. Roger is dedicated to positive outcomes for families and has helped many youth find families, improve coping skills, and move out of child welfare and probation systems and back into the community. Roger demonstrates a deep desire to learn and create opportunities to support families.

Louisa Guest


Since joining PLAG, Louisa has championed outreach events, being a friendly voice encouraging others to get involved and become parent leaders too. Louisa even attempted to launch Shasta County’s first Family Hui and when the launch was unsuccessful, she never gave up. Eventually, her determination and passion helped successfully launch a Hui in Shasta County. She has genuine concern about other parents in the community and is willing to take the time to connect and bond with them. If Louisa could use her leadership to do one thing, it would be to make sure everyone has the support that they need.

Louisa is passionate about supporting families because she found herself in need of support not long ago. Louisa and her family were struggling through dark times, but with the help of an amazing friend, she was able overcome her barriers and struggles. She feels that without that support, her family would not be where it is today. She has turned her gratitude into her motivation to reach out and support to others, hoping that they never have to experience what she did.

She is a mom of three boys, ages 21, 7, and 4, one of which has special needs. Louisa often lends humor to the sometimes awkward role of having both adult and youth children. She is a hands-on mom frequents family-friendly activities around town like the Redding Library, city parks, swimming at the YMCA, exploring at Turtle Bay and walking the Sundial Bridge. Louisa describes parenting as something she has to work on every day.

Candace Hutson

Candace Hutson has been a driving force to the success of the Parent Leadership Advisory Group (PLAG) in Shasta County. When Candace was 10 years-old, she was removed from her mother’s care due to issues with abuse and neglect and she was placed with her grandmother. She made a promise to herself that she would learn a different way to parent her children and she wanted to teach and inspire others to do the same. Candace is fulfilling that promise through parent leadership. Despite her past experiences, Candace continues to seek out and utilize community resources to become a better mom and a strong support for other parents.

Candace and her husband have two children, an 11-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. This family enjoys rock painting, visiting local parks and participating in extracurricular activities like football, cheerleading and wrestling. Candace is very active in her children’s education and extracurricular activities. She is a fearless advocate for both of her kids and provides a safe space for her children be themselves. Recently her daughter decided to take up wrestling and Candace is supportive in helping her explore this new interest. Candace has not only made a commitment to parenting her children in a supportive and strengths based environment, but she is also dedicated to educating and supporting other parents and caregivers to do the same.

CAN Prevention Award Winner

La Familia Counseling Center

The La Familia Counseling Center has been providing multi-cultural supportive services to children and families in Sacramento County for more than 40 years. By providing free services, La Familia is able to meet many of the needs of its diverse community. Their programming consists of mental health, employment services, adult education and other services for children, youth and families.

La Familia fully embraces the mission of child abuse and neglect prevention. They have been involved in the birth and beyond program since 1999 and are one of nine Family Resource Centers in Sacramento County in neighborhoods with the highest rates of poverty, teen births, lack of prenatal care and incidences of child abuse and neglect. They use an array of service techniques such as, home-visitation, group parenting workshops, crisis intervention and isolation-reducing activities to support the protective factors in families to prevent child maltreatment.

In addition to La Familia’s long standing collaborative partnership with Birth and Beyond, they are also thought of as a “one stop shop” for families to receive resources and services. They are doing impressive work with the immigrant population and partners with immigration services and the Mexican Consulate. Through partnerships with organizations such as 916INK and Fairytale Town, La Familia has created a community hub where parents and children receive support services and the organization has instilled a sense of community connectedness in its members.

La Familia Counseling Center and its staff are valuable community partners dedicated to the mission of mitigating risk factors of child abuse and neglect. Through their wide array of services, consideration of the needs of their diverse community and partnerships forged based on mutual respect, La Familia helps families to overcome adversity, become empowered and lead happy, healthy lives.