Women and Children FIRST

A Program for Women, Pregnant Women, and Women with Children

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 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 using women, pregnant women and women with children. Ten 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.

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 use 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.

FIRST also offers a short term 7, 14, 30, 60 and 90 day 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.