In the spring of 1970, a citizen's committee formed in North San Diego County to explore ways of approaching substance abuse problems among local youth. Motivated by the lack of social services available to address an increase in drug abuse, alienation, isolation, and family disruption, leaders sought a place where community members could feel welcome to drop in, express their concerns, and receive appropriate assistance. This grass roots organization focused on drug abuse prevention and intervention among the area's youth and connecting families to local resources, while also recognizing that it was symptomatic of more complex problems.

In order to make a permanent and positive change, North County Lifeline sought to address the complex underlying problems affecting these youth, and their families. With the funds to expand their staff, Lifeline invested in measures to grow the organization and the services offered. Over the next 20 years, Lifeline was characterized by a steady growth in new and expanding program services focused on strengthening families and building self-reliance among its clientele. With an increase in services and interaction with clients in the Hispanic community, Lifeline also made a conscious effort to ensure more bilingual program staff were hired, and all program services were made available in Spanish. Some of the programs that have been offered by Lifeline to date are:
  • Legal Advice Clinic
  • Gang Diversion
  • Youth Recreation Programs
  • Mediation
  • Crisis Hotline
  • Information and Referral
  • Counseling
  • Fair Housing 
  • Home Visit Transportation
  • Domestic Violence Prevention
  • Employment
  • Tax Assistance
  • Caregiver’s Support Group
  • Family Preservation & Development
  • Emergency Assistance
  • Asset Enhancement 
  • Telephone Relay Services for the Deaf
  • Assessment
  • Juvenile Delinquency Prevention
  • Shared Housing

Through these programs, Lifeline gained experience with multiple social issues. With this expertise came an increase in demand for even more services. Lifeline opened an office and after school program in Oceanside and began to partner with other local government and nonprofit agencies in order to increase accessibility to local residents. Lifeline was the only North County representative in the original Emergency Resources Group collaborative sponsored by United Way. Lifeline was also the lead organization for state and county funded Juvenile Justice Centers and routinely partnered with other regions to ensure full service coverage within the county. For the first time, the Probation Department, law enforcement, schools, courts, elected officials, nonprofits, and government officials were all working together to reduce juvenile crime in San Diego.

Over the years, Lifeline’s programs have evolved and expanded to suit the needs of the community. Lifeline continues to evaluate each program’s fit within our mission and philosophy- to ensure the greatest opportunity for success. In recent years North County Lifeline has continued its growth into the areas of human trafficking, at-risk transition age youth (TAY), former foster youth and young adults, and adult addiction recovery. With help from law enforcement and community partners throughout San Diego County, Lifeline continues to be responsive to the needs of the community and committed to eliminating social concerns throughout San Diego County.

View Our Historical Timeline