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Family Foundations: A New Program for Pregnant and Parenting Women Offenders with Substance Abuse Histories

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 43 Issue: 1 Dated: 2006 Pages: 65-91
Brenda Wiewel; Toni Mosley
Date Published
27 pages
This article describes the Family Foundations Program in California designed as a treatment model to reduce recidivism and provide a successful transition to the community for pregnant and parenting women offenders.
The first facility in California to operate the Family Foundation Program (FFP) was located in Santa Fe Springs in 1999. The FFP was designed as an alternative sentencing program for women. Through a contract with a community-based, non-profit drug treatment provider, the program is administered by the California Department of Corrections. The program criteria include a target population of nonviolent offenders with histories of substance abuse. In addition, eligible women must be pregnant or parenting a child under the age of 6. Women are sentenced to the 12-month, highly structured residential treatment program with their children, followed by a 12-month aftercare transition period to help them successfully reintegrate. Women involved in the program receive a comprehensive range of services. The mothers share cooking and cleaning chores and learn life skills to help improve their employability. Effective treatment for substance-abusing women offenders with children must address a wide range of issues categorized as cultural and diversity needs, relationship needs, psychosocial needs, and life skills/autonomy needs. The treatment model for FFP reflects current gender-based theories related to women’s psychology and their substance abuse treatment needs. The Program incorporates six concepts to create and in-custody, therapeutic community-based comprehensive treatment approach for substance-abusing women with children. This article focuses on the women who enter FFP, presenting a picture of parenting women in prison, and describing key therapeutic strategies used by the program. References