Founded in 2002, the COMPASS Family Center was originally conceived as a University of San Diego (USD) program. COMPASS Founder, Dr. Moisés Barón, is the Assistant Vice President for Student Wellness at USD.

Dr. Barón partnered with Margaret Dalton, Esq., Director of USD’s Legal Clinics and Mary Baker-Ericzén, a Research Scientist at the Child and Adolescent Research Services Center at Children’s Hospital and also a clinical psychologist, to conceptualize and implement a program dedicated to providing family-centered supports for those caring for children with special needs. Originally called the Center for Families of Children with Special Needs (CFCSN), the center changed its name to COMPASS Family Center in 2006.

In 2006, COMPASS became an academic unit of USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES). At the direction of COMPASS’ Strategic Development Committee, the center’s leadership decided to create a separate non-profit entity to provide the same services that it had been providing through USD. COMPASS maintained an academic center at USD and continued to provide trainings and conduct research through USD. All other services and administration were run out of the new non-profit entity: the COMPASS Family Center.

In March of 2012, COMPASS entered the next exciting phase in its continuing evolution as it joined the YMCA of San Diego County’s Youth and Family Services. Combining the Y’s strength, experience and breadth with COMPASS’ unique services and innovative methodology, meant even more families caring for children with special needs could benefit from this vital program.

As a part of the Y, The Y’s COMPASS Services will continue to provide the same integrated continuum of services as before, with the added strength of the Y’s reputation, resources and countywide span. COMPASS’ trained and knowledgeable staff will join the YMCA Youth and Family Service’s team to continue to provide:

  • Comprehensive needs assessments using our copyrighted methodology to develop customized Family Action Plans;
  • Special education advocacy services on a sliding fee scale with certified advocates trained at our program in partnership with USD;
  • Family counseling and therapy; and
  • Child and family-centered counseling at UCSD Pediatrics, as well as Pediatric Resident training focusing on the unique needs of families caring for a child with special needs.

Families throughout the County can access COMPASS Services at the Y by:
phone at (619) 543-9850 Ext. 12431 or 
via e-mail at

The Y’s COMPASS Services are centrally located in Hillcrest at 4080 Centre Street, Suite 103, San Diego 92103. For more information please visit


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