In 1972, H.I. Tom Sawyer, a dairy farmer and volunteer member of the Stanislaus County Mental Health Advisory Board in California, decided to start a group home to provide services to women in need and their children. This evolved into the First Step Perinatal Program, opened in collaboration with Stanislaus Recovery Center and Sierra Vista Child & Family Services. It is a not-for-profit treatment program that helps women of lower income recovery and get on their feet.
First Step offers outpatient treatment to women with drug and alcohol dependencies, in addition to helping them develop strong parenting skills. Staff members at the facility are especially aware of the unique challenges substance abuse treatment poses for women who are pregnant and in the postpartum period. A mixture of 12-step philosophy and other therapeutic models are used. Though women with dual diagnosis will not be turned away from treatment, no psychiatric services are offered. Detox is also not offered.
For women who qualify for the program, treatment is completely free.
Treatment and Staff
Before beginning treatment, clients are required to attend an interim treatment program, which is held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 am to 11:30 am, and Fridays from 1-3pm. After these sessions, the client will be referred to an assessment if staff believes they will benefit from the outpatient program.
Assessments are comprehensive and examine each client’s addiction past, as well as parenting issues and psychological issues. The program is divided into three progressive phases, and as clients complete each phase their participation hours are reduced.
The first phase includes four days of therapy, phase two includes three days of therapy, and phase three includes one-to-two days of therapy. Clients are not allowed to move through phases until they’ve completed all their assignments and maintained sobriety. Drug and alcohol screenings are performed as part of treatment.
The program at first step includes both individual and group therapy. Therapy topics include anger and stress management, relapse prevention, parent education, life skills courses, developing and social and recreational activities, and these topics are tailored to pregnant women or new mothers. Participation in 12-step programs is mandatory. Clients are expected to give have a sponsor and begin working the steps, in addition to attending meetings.
There are approximately five clients for every staff member. Staff includes licensed drug and alcohol counselors as well as case managers and licensed therapists.
In addition to substance abuse treatment, clients with children under five can have specialized staff watch their children at the on-site child care center. The facility also offers many additional resources for clients, such as vocational development, educational development, welfare-to-work program, and referrals to agencies that can help with housing, child counseling services and other needs that will help clients not only get on their feet but also become strong parents.
For perinatal women or mothers of young children needing substance abuse treatment, First Step Perinatal may be a good option. With a staff specialized in helping mothers recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, in addition to the many resources offered to help women get on their feet and become independent, it’s a place where any woman seeking personal growth, better parenting and positive living skills would appreciate.
First Step Perinatal Substance Abuse Program
1700 McHenry Village Way
Modesto, CA 95350
First Step Perinatal Substance Abuse Program Cost: Sliding scale (30 days). Reach First Step Perinatal Substance Abuse Program by phone at (209) 527-3270. Find First Step Perinatal Substance Abuse Program on Google+
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