About us

Caring for kids and families in the community

Mission Statement

“The mission of North Star Family Center is to protect and strengthen children and families by addressing their diverse social needs through community based programs and relationships.”

Our Vision

“By using the present to deal with the past, we will prepare our children for their future.”

Our History

North Star Family Center was established in October 2009 by a group of social workers and foster parents who shared a vision of empowering children, youth, and families to achieve their full potential. Our staff has more than 20 years of combined experience working in social services with children, youth, and families. North Star is a culturally diverse agency where English, Spanish, and Hmong are spoken to better help our children and families. We welcome all children and families regardless of their gender, race, age, sexual orientation, sexual expression, and identity.

Our Founder

Mary Dela Torre began her career as a foster parent before becoming a placement worker for an agency. She was responsible for finding homes for children who were removed from their families due to neglect, substance abuse, domestic violence, and many other issues involving affected families. Working as a placement worker was very frustrating at times. Trying to find suitable homes, especially for those children who were a bit more challenging, takes effort and perseverance.

Over a few years, while still working as a placement worker, Mary began to pull together ideas from her family that would help develop a strong Foster Family Agency—a family-friendly agency where children can be safe in their homes and where family preservation is a principal objective.

In the years since North Star’s beginning, we have served approximately 1,200 children from Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and Kern Counties. Some children returned home, and some found their way to their forever family. Either way, North Star created the way for children and families to reach the stars.

Our Agency

North Star works in cooperation with county social service agencies that remove children from their homes due to neglect, abandonment, abuse, delinquency, guardian absence, or voluntary placement. The county refers children to private agencies like North Star for placement in a program that will best meet the children’s needs. When North Star receives a call for placement of a child, our staff and county placement worker collaborate to assess the child’s needs to determine the most appropriate home or program.

When a child is placed in a North Star approved home, the foster family receives monthly monetary reimbursement for the care of the child, 24-hour support services by master’s level social work staff, and continuous specialized training and support for all the child’s emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. How long a child is in a home is typically determined by the initial assessment of the child. The length of time children are in placement can vary from short-term, up to six months, to long-term, up to several years, in addition to guardianship or adoption.

North Star works diligently to serve as the voice of—and information source—for our families, children, staff, and counties. North Star strives to be better informed, managed, governed, and represented at all levels of care with strong, vibrant, and diverse programming.

In 2019, to fill an unmet need for specialized therapy, we launched the North Star Wellness Center to serve children, couples, and families. We offer classes in parenting and child abuse prevention classes, and we hold domestic violence group sessions. Among our goals is to ensure that children return home safe to parents and family that can provide a better home environment.

North Star Family Center
6051 N. Fresno Street. Suite 103 Fresno, CA 93710

North Star Wellness Center
659 W. Shaw Ave, Suite C, Fresno, CA 93710