Jeanne McAlister founded The McAlister Institute in the 1980s. The organization provides outpatient and residential treatment throughout California’s San Diego and Napa counties. The Kiva Learning Center for Women and Children is one of the Institute’s first programs and has been providing residential treatment to women and their young children for four decades.
McAlister, who recently celebrated 58 years in recovery, was awarded the Frank Goldsmith Lifetime Achievement Award by the San Diego Drug-Free Alliance in 2014 and the Innovative Approaches to Recovery from the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs in 2006. The Kiva Learning Center was the first inpatient program in California to allow women and their children to reside together. The location also features a perinatal detox program that helps women deliver drug-free babies. Many of these women stay on for residential treatment at Kiva.
Accommodations and Food
Kiva is located in Lemon Grove, a suburb of San Diego. The facility treats up to 120 women and their children. Women without children residing with them have three to four roommates, and women with their children stay in a room together. Children ages 12 and under are permitted to reside at Kiva. The facility has an on-site daycare center, and older children attend nearby public schools.
Residents cannot bring cell phones or computers into treatment, but after 90 days they can go to the public library for computer use for job search activities. For recreation, residents can watch TV on the weekends and participate in exercise classes, including yoga.
Kiva has a kitchen staff and cafeteria where all residents take their meals. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a salad bar are available 24/7.
Treatment and Staff
Treatment usually lasts four to six months. After an assessment, residents receive a treatment plan that includes daily group therapy and life skills classes and individual therapy and case management services as-needed.
The treatment team includes addiction counselors with AOD credentials and Master’s-level therapists including MFTs and psychologists. Treatment explores the disease of addiction and relapse prevention and uses trauma-informed care.
Residents can receive transportation to 12-step meetings, and the treatment team is equipped to treat co-occurring disorders. Parenting classes and domestic violence education are also part of the treatment curriculum.
Throughout treatment, clients work with their counselors to identify goals and receive case management services to connect them to the community agencies and opportunities to achieve them. Many residents can also elect to continue their treatment at one of McAlister’s several outpatient clinics.
McAlister Institute’s Kiva Learning Center for Women and Children is a pioneer in treating families of addicted mothers and their children. By offering a long-term stable environment alongside evidence-based substance abuse treatment and parenting classes, the entire family has the opportunity to heal and be supported in learning new ways of functioning.
Kiva Learning Center for Women and Children
Lemon Grove, CA
Kiva Learning Center for Women and Children Cost: Sliding Scale. Reach Kiva Learning Center for Women and Children at by phone at (619) 465-7303 or by email at [email protected]. Find McAlister Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
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