Heros & Sheros


Established in 1991, the SHIELDS for Families Heros & Sheros Youth Development Program is a prevention, early intervention, and mental health program for children and adolescents. Heros & Sheros addresses the high risk of alcohol and drug use with the children of parents with substance use disorders, as well as other problems related to their healthy development, by helping children adjust at home and in school, stabilizing family interactions, and empowering youth with skills that prepare them for college and adulthood.


These videos feature Walter, who grew up in the Heros & Sheros program. Videos contain some profanity so viewer discretion is advised.

"The Drop In" (Raise Up Project)

A spoken word piece: BNV14 Los Angeles Quarter Finals

Summary of Innovative Program

Special Populations

The Heros & Sheros Program serves children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 18 whose parents are enrolled at SHIELDS for Families. The program serves a high proportion of African American (45%) and Latino (51%) children who are involved in open cases with the Department of Children and Family Services at admission and many have been placed in out-of- home placement due to their mother’s substance use.

Program Replication Tips

Standardized assessment results indicate that Heros & Sheros interventions consistently improve self- esteem, self-confidence and cultural awareness; grades in Math and English; positive attitudes toward school; increased social and leadership skills; and knowledge of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. To successfully replicate this program:

  •  Embrace a family-centered approach. In Heros & Sheros Program, we believe children need to learn and experience having control in their lives. Meet them where they live. Teach them how to advocate on their own behalf.
  •  No exclusion policy; no waiting lists
  •  Promote family reunification and support families remaining intact in the community
  •  Provide on-site after school programs

Policy & Financing Strategies

SHIELDS for Families has received funding from the Specialty Family Foundation for the Heros & Sheros Program since 2009, and funding from the Moyer Foundation to provide Camp Mariposa since 2013. They have also received funding from Medicaid and from the federal substance abuse block grant. Necessary services are provided in coordination with a variety of County and State agencies, including the Los Angeles County Departments of Mental Health, Rehabilitation, Public and Social Services, Children and Family Services, and the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention and Control (SAPC). Services and supports for vocational and educational training and job development activities are provided in partnership with the Compton Regional Job Training Center, Compton Adult School, Jordan- Locke Community Adult School, Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center, Los Angeles Trade Technical College, and Harbor College.

Impact / Results

A substantial percentage of participants have not only enrolled in college but have graduated from university study. Standardized assessment results indicate Heros & Sheros intervention consistently improves self-esteem, self-confidence and cultural awareness; grades in Math and English; positive attitudes towards school; increased social and leadership skills; and knowledge of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs.

Agency Contact Information

Agency Name:SHIELDS for Families
City, StateCompton, CA
General Phone Number:(310) 415 0340
Website URL:https://www.shieldsforfamilies.org/heros-sheros/