On October 18, 2011 FIRST at Blue Ridge, Inc. received State licensure for its 65 bed Women and Children FIRST Program. This program is housed in a 13,000 sq. ft. 2 story building which has been undergoing extensive renovation and upgrading for the past two years in preparation for this opening. Much of the renovation was conducted by male residents as part of their vocational and work ethics training.
The Women and Children FIRST program is housed on FIRST's campus in Ridgecrest, just East of Asheville on I-40 which already houses their 85 bed men's treatment program, a 20 bed program for Veterans and 25 transitional housing beds.
The Women and Children FIRST program will have the ability to house substance abusing Women, Pregnant Women and Women with Children. 10 of the Women and Children FIRST beds are allocated for women Veterans through the VA. Although named Women and Children FIRST, it will not be a requirement of the program to be pregnant or to have children to participate in this program but for those who do, the target population will be women who have custody of their children, those who are attempting to regain custody, domestic violence victims, formally incarcerated women, pregnant women and all other women who suffer from substance abuse. For those that enter pregnant, pre-natal services will be provided by local health care providers and upon delivery, mother and child will return to the facility for treatment. There is no other program of this magnitude at this time in Western North Carolina.
The goal of this program is to offer women, who are historically the most difficult population to admit to treatment, a safe, supportive and nurturing treatment environment. The end result being the rebuilding of families, economic self sufficiency resulting in decreased to no dependence upon the welfare system, housing stability and adequate income support. Children’s health care needs will be provided by Medicaid or through North Carolina Health Choice for those who meet eligibility requirements.
Participants will receive individual and group sessions regarding their substance abuse issues, along with case management, life skills, anger management, parenting skills, and relapse prevention. Evidence based practices such as The Matrix Model, Motivational Interviewing Techniques, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Behavior Modification, The Recovering Woman, Seeking Safety and others are the mainstays of the program. Active participation in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) is mandatory and participation in aftercare upon completion of the program core is required. Women with school age children will participate with the PTA at the local grade school where their children will be attending.
Women in general have been a segment of society which has been under served for too long as far as substance abuse issues, services for women substance abusers, who are rapidly rising in number, is very difficult to find, and programs who have the ability to treat women with her children is increasingly rare. In the near future there may actually be the ability to treat the family as a whole with the man and woman in treatment at the same time, albeit in different locations on our campus. This would enhance our goal of returning the individual to their community and allow us to build healthy drug free families, one family at a time.
FIRST also offers a short term 7-14-30-60-and 90 intensive residential treatment experience for those women who cannot commit to long term treatment due to employment, educational, or family responsibilities or for those who have specific legal issues such as DUI's, requiring treatment. The short term program is "fee for service" but is highly affordable and payment plans can be arranged. FIRST has the ability to deliver these "short term" services in Spanish as well just as it does in it men' component.
FIRST at Blue Ridge is proud to have collaborated with Recovery Ventures, themselves a state licensed Therapeutic Community with over 100 beds, to make this project a reality. Both programs combined capacity will be close to 300 beds with clients being referred to the program model which better serves their needs.
Further information can be located on the FIRST website at www.firstinc.org and Admissions can be arranged by calling 828-669-0011 and asking for the Intake Department. Additional information about Recovery Ventures can be located at their website at www.recoveryventurescorp.org or by calling their intake department at 828-686-0354