Connect & Thrive (CAT)

Connect & Thrive (CAT) is Felton Institute’s Early Childhood & Education (ECE) embedded mental health program.

Connect & Thrive provides an integrated system of social-emotional and mental health supports to young children and their families, ensuring their needs are met with utmost care and understanding. The program is deeply rooted in the perspectives of families, ensuring that interventions are trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and tailored to individual needs.

At CAT, we understand that to make transformational change, we must bolster the relational world of our youngest citizens, thus shaping their neural pathways and growing thriving human beings.

Our diverse interdisciplinary team provides evidence-informed early childhood mental health interventions to the young children of families served through Felton’s Early Care & Education (ECE) and Resource Centers.

Who We Serve

Connect & Thrive (CAT) serves young children from birth to five years of age, who are enrolled in one of Felton Institute’s Early Care & Education (ECE) programs.

Program Components

Connect & Thrive (CAT) employs a Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) to cater to the varying needs of children:

  • Tier 1 Interventions: Universal supports for all children, including SEFEL Teaching Pyramid Teacher Training, Kimochis Curriculum.
  • Tier 2 Interventions: Targeted interventions for children and families needing additional support, such as Attachment Vitamins Groups Social-Emotional Learning Groups.
  • Tier 3 Interventions: Specialized support for children recovering from trauma, including Child-Parent Psychotherapy.

Program Models

Inspired by research on Early Relational Health as well as Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential model of the brain, Connect & Thrive (CAT) transforms the social-emotional growth of society’s youngest citizens through interventions targeting the systems surrounding these children.

The CAT program model was developed based on feedback from the families of children enrolled in Felton Institute's Early Care & Education centers who were asking for more community-based, culturally responsive interventions to bolster their children’s mental health.

CAT utilizes Bronfenbrenner's ecological model to identify interventions that target all systems associated with the children our programs serve. We also utilize the CSEFEL teaching pyramid to identify interventions that will respond to the needs of all children.

Program Linkage or Referral

Our program isn't confined to individual child interventions; we intervene in the lives of all individuals surrounding the child, including family members, teachers, and the community.

We provide referrals and linkages to ensure holistic support for families.

Who We Are

The Connect & Thrive Team comprises dedicated professionals committed to the well-being of children and families:

  • Clinical Director: Licensed Clinician with a specialty in Early Childhood Mental Health who oversees all administrative and clinical aspects of the program.
  • Social Emotional Learning Specialists with specializations in Early Childhood Development and Social-Emotional Learning who support children with high social-emotional needs, run Kimochis workshops and groups.
  • Child and Family Clinicians: Bilingual Master-Level clinicians who provide group, family and individual treatment as well as Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation.
  • Parent Fellows: Bilingual/Bicultural parent fellows who support leading parent groups.

🏠 Our Locations

Connect & Thrive (CAT) services are available at Felton’s Early Care & Education (ECE) centers and the onsite Resource Centers including Felton's Young Family Resource Center (YFRC), providing accessible care to families across San Francisco.

Our Program Components

At Connect & Thrive (CAT), we employ a Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) designed to address the varying needs of children, offering a comprehensive support framework for families and children to promote healthy development.


Classroom Environments
The classroom is recognized as the child’s “third teacher.” We prioritize creating enriching environments that inspire curiosity, exploration, and growth. Our intentional design and thoughtful arrangement of materials promote active engagement and facilitate social interactions, contributing to the overall well-being and readiness of every child in our care.

Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (SEFEL) Teaching Pyramid
All Felton ECE staff use these tools and strategies to effectively support children’s social and emotional development, fostering school readiness.

Kimochis Curriculum
Kimochis, a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum, is used to teach young children about emotions, temperament, and social skills. This curriculum is implemented through various activities and workshops for both children and parents.


These interventions are targeted at children and families who require additional support beyond the universal interventions:

Attachment Vitamins Groups
Attachment Vitamins is a 10-week intervention to help parents and caregivers of children aged birth-5 years learn about child development and the impact of stress and trauma, reflect on the child’s experiences and the possible meanings of the child’s behaviors, and promote secure attachment and safe socialization practices, strengthen the attachment relationship, and understand and respond to challenging behaviors. The group is highly interactive, and it encourages parents to engage in a process of active reflection on their relationship with their children and on their own experiences while growing up. The groups focus on enhancing the child-parent relationship and are conducted by bilingual facilitators in both English and Spanish.

Small Social-Emotional Learning Groups
These groups support children who exhibit social-emotional challenges or have experienced relational disruptions. Led by Social Emotional Learning specialists, these groups focus on teaching social skills and providing additional support to children in smaller settings.


These interventions target the highest needs families, specifically children who have experienced trauma:

Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)
CPP is an evidence-based therapeutic model aimed at supporting young children recovering from trauma. It focuses on the child-parent relationship and provides family-based therapy sessions to mitigate the effects of trauma and restore a sense of safety and security.

Child-Parent Psychotherapy Brochure (PDF)

Both child and caregiver participate in therapy together. Sessions are with child, caregiver and therapist.

Psicoterapia de Niños y Padres Folleto (PDF)

El niño y el cuidador participan juntos en la terapía. Las sesiones incluyen el niño, el cuidador y el terapeuta.


Hours (Mon-Fri): 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Evening programming by appointment only.

Connect & Thrive (CAT)
Address: 2730 Bryant Street, 2nd floor, San Francisco, CA 94110
Program Email:

For more information, please contact:

Michelle Kaye, LCSW, Clinical Director
Children, Youth, Family and Transitional Age Youth Services (CYFTAY)
Office Phone: (415) 282-1090

Yohana I. Quiróz, Ed.D., Felton Institute Chief Operations Officer (COO),
Division Director, Children, Youth, Family and Transitional Age Youth Services (CYFTAY)