About Well Family in Venice California, collage showing services offered

Our Story

Well Family Marian Place began in 2008 as Well Baby Center, a community parenting center with a focus on supporting early childhood and maternal mental health. It has grown over the years to serve thousands of children and their families, couples, and individual adults and teens. We have provided specialized clinical training to hundreds of therapists and social workers in infant-parent, maternal, and family mental health. Our hybrid model combines therapy, mindful parenting programs, and community-building, to support a lifetime of wellbeing for our clients.

The mission of Well Family Marian Place is three-fold:

  1. Delivering affordable, quality mental health and parenting support services to children, families, and adults in the community.
  1. Developing the mental health and social work workforce with specialized training programs for master’s- and doctoral-level clinicians.
  1. Partnering with other family services organizations to create a community wellness hub offering counseling and parenting classes in accessible community locations.

Our goal is to remove barriers and increase accessibility to marginalized and underserved communities. In response to the growing crisis of homelessness and the current lack of access to mental health services, we have expanded our mission to include children and families who have experienced homelessness, domestic violence, trauma, and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). We believe that every family and individual deserves equal access to quality mental health care.

Affordable child, family, and adult counseling,

parent-child groups, and parenting education

Statement of Purpose

Well Family attends to the needs of vulnerable families and children by providing accessible prevention and early intervention programs with a focus on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH).

Healthy early relationships are the cornerstones of all infants’ emotional, cognitive, and physical growth and development. In addition to providing clinical services and parenting education we provide social support opportunities, which has been found to be the single most important protective factor against family dysfunction.

We believe that when parents mindfully reflect on their interactions with their children, three things occur: they don’t burden them with their own unresolved childhood issues; they help them reach their full developmental potential; and they help them build lifelong relationships with others.

Our Impact

This is a meaningful moment in our organization’s history.

For 16 years we have been funded primarily by our founder’s multi-year commitment, with additional funding from fees for services, board members, individual donors, and grantors, including consecutive grants from Cedars-Sinai’s Community Benefit Giving Office.

This year, we have undertaken a fundraising campaign to broaden support in order to transition to a public charity. This is where you come in. We need your support. We hope you will be moved to partner with us in our efforts to bring more equity, inclusion, and accessibility to families in need.

The families we serve. Since opening in 2008, our direct impact has been serving over 1800 individuals and families. In three years, 2021 through 2023, we provided over 400 clients and their families with more than 12,000 sessions. A vast majority of these clients are low income*.

Socio economic impact

*CA Dept of Housing and Community Development – LA County 2023 income limits

How do we know we’re making a difference? More than 25% of our families report that they were referred by family, friends, or past clients. We also conduct pre- and post-treatment assessments to quantify our efficacy and positive outcomes. We have collected surveys for years which indicate that most of our clients have improved family functioning, increased understanding of their child’s developmental needs, and decreased feelings of isolation.

Our indirect impact. We know how important it is for families to find their “tribe”. We have hosted over sixty free community events since opening the center and have formed strong relationships with many local agencies so that underserved families can make connections with other families and services. Our indirect impact includes referrals to our sister agencies – Venice Family Clinic, Reiss-Davis, UCLA’s Women’s Life Center, Postpartum Support International, Airport Marina Counseling Service, Maple Counseling, and the Wright Institute.

Introducing our first Supported Housing site – Well Family Marian Place. We believe that housing is a basic human right. Families emerging from homelessness and other adverse life experiences need more than a roof over their heads – they deserve a healing environment with lots of fresh air, a front and back porch, and access to supportive services right where they live.

We’re so excited to announce that our first supported housing site in partnership with Venice Community Housing Corp. began receiving residents in early 2024. We hope it will be the first of many future sites throughout the Los Angeles area that Well Family will design with underserved families in mind.

Blueprint of the plans for building Marian Place in Venice California
Our first supported housing program’s site plan — Well Family Marian Place.

Meet Our Team

 Staff

Deborah Groening Venice CA

Deborah Groening-Rother, PsyD

President and Founder

After completing a long psychoanalysis in the 1980s to heal from a difficult divorce and to make myself whole again, I was convinced that in-depth therapy should be available to all, regardless of one’s economic status, so I set out to create a non-profit clinic that applies this model in a more accessible way, without diluting any of it’s effectiveness.

Psychodynamic therapy, which is derived from psychoanalytic theory, begins by exploring one’s early life and how these experiences may have influenced one’s sense of self, one’s life choices, and one’s relationship to others. Well Baby, now Well Family, has offered westside families the opportunity to do this deep inner work for more than fifteen years. As Well Family, we aim to expand our innovative approach to serving those most urgently in need of care.

DOnnar Rabin West Los Angeles

Donna Rabin

Executive Director

I joined Well Baby Center just before the onset of the pandemic. It was a gift at that difficult time to focus on doing something to benefit others. The pandemic brought heightened awareness of the fragility of our social and familial structures, and revealed how many of us simply do not have a safety net. It is a source of inspiration to know that the work at Well Family Marian Place will provide other families with the emotional support they need in times of crisis. I believe there is a common thread to the stories of most folks who successfully overcome adversities: someone helped. We do not always cause or deserve what happens to us, but every mother and child deserves the opportunity and the resources to survive adversity and to thrive.

simcha saiek psyd-venice senior-clinical-supervisor

Simcha Saiek, PsyD

Clinical Psychology Clinical Director, Senior Clinical Supervisor

Synthia Praglin, MA Senior Parent Educator

Synthia Praglin, MA

Senior Parent Educator

Veronica Garcia, LCSW<br />
Clinical Manager

Veronica Garcia, LCSW

Clinical Manager, Clinical Supervisor

Scarlett Pachecho

Scarlett Pacheco

Administrative Manager

Kayla Ables

Kayla Ables

Scheduling and Outreach Coordinator

Counselors

Gabriella Manriquez<br />
MACLP/MFT Graduate Student

Gabriella Manriquez

MACLP/MFT Graduate Student

As a Latina first-generation American, I have immense compassion for families, especially those from underserved communities or immigrant origins like mine. Together, we can derive meaning from the past, improve your relationships, and develop skills for a happier future.

Steffi Jones, AMFT

Steffi Jones, AMFT

The experiences of being an immigrant and a mother have greatly shaped my approach to therapy. I believe we all have our own strengths and resources – it’s often just a matter of discovering them. I create a caring, non-judgmental space that nurtures this discovery, and helps connect us to ourselves and others.

Clare Daley, ACSW

Clare Daley, ACSW

Congratulations on taking this important first step. I hope to connect with you in a deep way and to create a space where we can be curious about you and your internal world. I hold a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. My training and experience includes working with children, adolescents, families, adults, and young adults.

Frida Rahman, ACSW

Frida Rahman, ACSW

After earning my Master’s degree from USC in Clinical Psychology, I subsequently gained experience working with children, teens, adults, and parents in various settings. Being a mother myself, I understand the ebb and flow that is parenthood and strive to connect with parents like you with compassionate care.

Daniela Morse, AMFT

Daniela Morse, AMFT

My approach is to above all be empathic and non-judgmental, allowing you to feel safe exploring your inner world. I work alongside you to uncover how formative experiences impact your worldview, while navigating the feelings that come up in the here and now.

Ivana Holiastos AMFT

Ivana Holiastos, AMFT

The integration of multicultural living experiences, the experience of motherhood, and extensive work with children and families has led me to the field of psychology. As a result of my rich and varied background, I gravitate towards diverse client populations and look forward to working with you.

Roxanne Cohanim AMFT

Roxane Cohanim, LMFT

I received my M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Boston College in May 2018. Since then I have trained and worked in a variety of settings including community mental health. Through my creative and collaborative approach, I hope to restore your personal vitality and support you in developing a deeper connection with yourself and others.

Brian Hart, AMFT

Brian Hart, AMFT

On a distant planet, around a dying Red Sun, a scientist and his wife bundled their infant into an experimental rocket and launched him towards Earth. Unfortunately, this is NOT the story of Brian Hart, but I somehow wished it was. l became a Marriage and Family Therapist fairly late in life, graduating from Antioch with a Master’s degree in psychology. If you are seeking a deeper understanding of yourself and your relationships, together we will create a healing narrative of lasting change and growth.

Jillian Plotner, ACSW

Jillian Plotner, LCSW

Counselor and Program Manager

For as long as I can remember, I have had an inherent curiosity and fascination with people and their stories. Using a play-based and child-led approach I am able to enter your child’s world and make sense of their stories so they can appreciate and understand themselves better.

Jennifer Dodd, AMFT

Jennifer Dodd, AMFT

After receiving my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy and Psychological Trauma studies, I received advanced training at the New Center for Psychoanalysis in the Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy program. Working from a psychodynamic framework, I explore with clients their early attachment relationships, using insight to create change. My main focus is making sure that you feel seen and understood.

Board of Directors

Dr. Deborah Groening Rother Los Angeles

Deborah Groening-Rother, PsyD

President & Founder

Deborah holds a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy, with a specialization in Early Childhood Development from Antioch University (MA) and Ryokan University (PsyD). Her professional focus has been primarily mother/child, family, and marital relationships. She founded Well Baby Center in 2008 to broaden her impact and reach. As part of her succession plan, Deborah plans to continue to oversee the transition to Well Family Marian Place and to facilitate its new mission: to expand services, accessibility, inclusivity, and responsiveness to community needs for the most disenfranchised.

Paul rother

Paul Rother Treasurer

Chair, Finance Committee

Paul Rother has been in the technology industry as a business owner and computer programmer his entire career. He is now focused on Well Family Marian Place because he believes in its mission of providing equal access to mental health services. As Treasurer (and pro bono IT) of Well Family Marian Place, Formerly Well Baby Center, Rother aims to instill accountability and efficiency in all matters related to the organization’s fiscal health and to ensure the organization has access to the latest technologies.

Cynthia Ambres MD

Cynthia Ambres, MD, MS

With over thirty years as a physician executive, Cynthia Ambres has influenced healthcare across the spectrum. Always an advocate for nutrition-based wellness, her executive experience includes: EVP Kate Farms; KPMG Partner- Global Healthcare Center of Excellence; President Lifetime Medical Group; SVP Blue Cross/Blue Shield; Chief Medical Officer- Kaleida Health System; Chairman Emergency Services- Beth Israel Medical Center. She hopes to democratize accessibility to wellness, including mental health, sustainability, and nutrition education.

Kathy Cohen Board member

Kathy Cohen

Kathy Cohen has been in high tech sales and marketing for 10 years, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics. She is the president of a charitable family foundation and contributor of the book, Raising Emotionally Healthy Children. Her greatest accomplishment has been raising two successful daughters. She hopes to pay it forward by contributing to Well Family Marian Place as a member of the Development Committee, making sure all families have what they need to not just survive, but to thrive.

David Cohen board member

David Cohen

David Cohen has been part of the technology start-up SoCal marketplace for over 35 years, launching several companies in strategic partnerships with the world’s leading telecom and technology firms. As Board Director and as a member of the Board’s Finance Committee, he is able to share his vast strategic expertise with Well Family as it embarks on its major expansion project.

Advisory Board

Ed Tronick, PhD

Director, Child Development Unit, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Chief Faculty, University of Massachusetts Infant-Parent Post Graduate Certificate Program.

Dorie Weiss, PhD, QME

Clinical Psychologist in private practice specializing in performing childhood developmental assessments.

Alessia Gottlieb, MD

A Neuropsychiatrist, Co-Medical Director of the UCLA Child and Family Trauma Center.

Tandy Parks, RN

A parenting group leader who has run mindfulness-based parenting classes for over 20 years.

Richard Cohen, PhD

Richard Cohen has spent over 40 years working with young children and families as a teacher, researcher, administrator, and advocate.

Bonnie Yates, Esq.

A children’s rights attorney with over 40 years’ experience specializing in special education and disability law.

Diane Reynolds, MFT

An infant-parent early childhood mental health specialist trainer and leadership coach.

Financial Data

Well Family Marian Place’s Board of Directors and Advisory Board are entirely volunteer. Headed by President and Founder Deborah Groening-Rother, PsyD, their collective decades of experience include executive-level healthcare and business administration, developmental psychology, media and entertainment, neuropsychological assessment for children, legal advocacy for special-needs children, childbirth and parent education, social activism, and philanthropy.

In addition to contributing their time and expertise, we are proud to report that in 2023, 100% of our Board of Directors made meaningful donations to support the work of Well Family Marian Place.

Click links to view Well Family Marian Place’s 2022 Financials, 2021 Financials, and 2020 Financials.

Skip to content