hand reaching out for help

Our Vision is To Improve and Enrich the Lives of Every Individual and Family We Serve

About CRF

Community Research Foundation, Inc. (CRF) was incorporated in 1977 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation with two purposes:

  1. To design and operate programs focused on the treatment, education, and rehabilitation of individuals with behavioral health conditions, and
  2. To conduct outcomes research designed to evaluate the quality and appropriateness of services.

We opened our first program in 1980.

Because the company became known by those in the behavioral health community as simply “CRF”, we chose to change our name to CRF in 2023. Our legal name remains Community Research Foundation, Inc.

Our Mission

CRF, in partnership with our clients and stakeholders, designs, delivers, and evaluates innovative and exemplary behavioral health and social services in a manner that is both culturally and trauma competent.

We provide these services with integrity, compassion, and a strong focus on wellness and recovery.

We also inspire and mentor the next generation of behavioral health and social service professionals.

Our Philosophy

CRF embraces the belief that persons affected by mental illness and co-occurring conditions can and do recover, and, in fact thrive, when provided with appropriate treatment, activities, and support. This includes access to culturally appropriate, trauma-informed, evidence-based, recovery-oriented services provided within the community and in the least restrictive environment.

Our programs serving children, youth, and their families are family-centered and based upon the wraparound philosophy working closely with community partners to support family stability and well-being, healthy development, academic success, transition into adulthood, and community connectedness.

Our Values


We strive for ongoing excellence, innovation, and improvement in all the work we provide for our clients, workforce members, and partners.

Honest and Ethical Behavior

We act with integrity and honesty in all communications and actions, and observe the highest legal, clinical, and ethical standards of our respective licensures, certifications, professions, and disciplines.

Culture of Inclusiveness

We treat everyone with dignity and respect- appreciating all forms of diversity and embracing the value of inclusiveness.


We act and present ourselves in a professional and collaborative manner.

“Can Do!” Spirit

We embrace a “Can Do!” approach, focusing on shared accountability, creative solutions, positive outcomes, and removing barriers.

Safety First

We promote and comply with practices that maintain a safe and secure workplace for our clients, visitors, and each other.

Who We Serve

CRF serves adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring conditions such as substance use and developmental disabilities. We also serve children and youth who are experiencing serious emotional disturbance, along with their families.

Black woman with her hands on the shoulders of an elderly white woman who is seeking help

General Areas of Service

Our History


William B. “Hobie” Hawthorne, Ph.D. founded Community Research Foundation (CRF) as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation.


CRF opened Turning Point Crisis Center, the first crisis residential program in San Diego County.


CRF began providing outpatient behavioral health services for adults and children.


CRF began operating the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) and CalWORKs Behavioral Health Centers.


The CRF crisis residential programs, known as Short-Term Acute Residential Treatment (START) programs, received the American Psychiatric Association Psychiatric Services Gold Achievement Award.


CRF opened the Mobile Adolescent Services Team (MAST) to serve youth and families enrolled in the County Office of Education Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS).


CRF opened its first Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program called IMPACT consisting of two ACT Teams serving 200 individuals with serious mental illness who were experiencing homelessness.


CRF’s PERT program awarded NAMI Outstanding Criminal Justice Advocate Award


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) designated the CRF START programs as evidence based on the National Registry of Evidence Based Practices.


CRF began providing mobile crisis response services and a crisis residential program for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental illness for the San Diego Regional Center.


CRF started Healthy Connect San Diego to provide mobile Enhanced Care Management (ECM) and Community Support (CS) services for Blue Shield Promise, Community Health Group, United Healthcare, and Molina Healthcare.