Casa Pacifica has found a new home for its community-based programs.
The Camarillo child services nonprofit in November leased an 11,650-square-foot office suite at 751 E. Daily Drive as a headquarters for its community-based services division, which provides aid to families in their homes rather than at its residential campus on South Lewis Road.The new office is a considerable downsize from the old one at 975 Flynn Rd., which spread 30,000 square feet over two floors.Kimberly Bennett, the director of community-based services in Ventura County, told the Business Journal the new office boasts a number of advantages. Location is a major one, as the Flynn Road building was nestled in an industrial district she said felt disconnected from the people Casa Pacifica works with.“The nice thing about where we are is access to other services. There are a lot of restaurants here. There are some other county partners that are closer to us than before,” Bennett said. “It helps us get to our clients easier since we’re right off the freeway.”The new office is also “significantly” cheaper than the old office, Bennett said, both because of its smaller footprint and because the pandemic has driven down office lease rates.And while the Flynn Road office split Bennett’s division between two floors, the operation at Daily Road is consolidated on one floor, allowing for easier collaboration between employees.Now housed at Daily Drive are Casa Pacifica’s wraparound program and affiliated child and family teams, therapeutic and in-home behavioral programs, intensive services foster care and foster family agency. Around 80 percent of the children served by the nonprofit receive aid through those programs.
Altogether, the division has about 55 employees.
Bennett explained the downsize was necessary for several reasons, including that Casa Pacifica recently relocated its finance and information technology departments from Flynn Road to its South Lewis Road campus.Also, when they first leased the office in 2007, Casa Pacifica held the contract for Ventura County’s Children’s Intensive Response Team, which receives and responds to crisis calls from youth or parents. In 2016, the County took that program in-house to be staffed by its Behavior Health Department, eliminating the need for Casa Pacfica to employ its own team.When that happened, “we were 25 less people,” Bennett said. “That made a difference.”To fill some of the empty square footage at the Flynn Road office, Casa Pacifica was subletting space to a local chapter of Court-Appointed Special Advocates, a nonprofit that recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for foster youth and other court-dependent children.
When that group found a permanent office, Bennett said her division was again left with more space than it needed.The nonprofit started looking for a more suitable administrative headquarters for the group in January 2020, a year before it was able to terminate its Flynn Road lease.Bennett said the coronavirus pandemic didn’t do much to disrupt the relocation – in fact it may have accelerated it.Because Casa Pacifica is a Medi-Cal provider, it is required to renew its Medi-Cal certification and the license for its foster family agency when it moves to a new address. Completing those tasks under normal circumstances would have required Bennett to schedule on-site visits from Ventura County officials, but all that is being done virtually and on an expedited timeline during the pandemic.“Our initial move-in date was Dec. 4, but we were in before Thanksgiving,” Bennett said.And to think, the move almost didn’t happen at all.“We thought we were going to stay where we were but just condense ourselves into one floor. This space was the last one we looked at,” Bennett recalled. “There were lots of options, but nothing that felt right until we saw this space.”