Casa Aurora is a residential treatment facility in Bakersfield, California for women recently released from correctional facilities. The organization is run by its larger parent company—Mental Health Systems—a behavioral health group founded in 1978 with a network of facilities throughout the country. Casa Aurora is open only to court-ordered residents and is designed for women looking to finish drug-related prison terms in a controlled inpatient setting. It is the only facility of its kind in the state of California and the first of its kind in the country.
Accommodations and Food
The Casa Aurora facility is a large communal living complex with room for 83 women total. Each resident shares a room with at least one other woman with twin-size bunk beds and shared dressers and closet space. There are grassy common areas where women can relax during down time as well as communal living rooms that include a television and a computer lab which can be used for job searching and resume building. During their stay, clients also receive three meals a day from a full-service kitchen staff, all served cafeteria-style.
Treatment and Staff
Though each woman’s program at Casa Aurora may vary, each client attends more than 30 sessions a week. While those sessions consist primarily of group therapy, residents also have individual therapy with counselors to do check-ins with additional sessions scheduled as needed. Treatment is trauma-informed and evidence-based, with therapies like CBT, DBT and Motivational Interviewing (MI) used. Topics covered in groups can include life skills, vocational training, parenting, anger management, relapse prevention and more. Clients participate in 12-step recovery and GED courses as necessary, though treatment overall is aimed at preventing recidivism and reversing criminal thinking. Support for co-occurring disorders is also available. The staff at Casa Aurora consists of case managers, CADCs, Master’s-level counselors and correctional liaisons.
In addition to the above, Casa Aurora alumni can also take advantage of discharge planning and aftercare services in the form of stepped down outpatient care. Extensive case management services are also provided, with referrals for physical, mental and dental health needs. Finally, clients’ families are also welcome to visit seven days a week for several hours a day as well as on the weekends.
While this program is limited to those already in correctional facilities, Casa Aurora is in many ways a pioneering program for women in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Treatment puts equal emphasis on evidence-based care and peer support services, all in a communal living environment. For those in the area seeking an alternate sentencing program, Casa Aurora is a great option worth considering.
1932 Jessie St
Bakersfield, CA 93305
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Photo courtesy of I, Amadscientist [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)