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The California Department of Corrections (CDC) formally opened its second Family Foundations Program facility today, in San Diego. The Department hosted an open house and facility tours. Speakers included Youth and Adult Correctional Agency Secretary Robert Presley, CDC Director (A) Stephen Cambra, and other dignitaries.

The Family Foundations Program is the only alternative community sentencing program for women in California administered by CDC who are non-violent offenders with histories of drug abuse. Women must be pregnant or parenting with a child under age six. The mother spends 12 months in this highly structured residential treatment program followed by a 12-month aftercare/transition period to help her successfully re-enter society. Currently there are 17 women and 17 children housed at the facility, which has a capacity of 35 women and 40 children.

As a State Senator, Secretary Presley sponsored legislation in 1994 establishing The Pregnant and Parenting Women’s Alternative Sentencing Program Act.

“This alternative sentencing holds women accountable for their criminal behavior while affording parent and child a chance to lead more healthy and productive lives, as the mother completes her sentence,” Presley said at today’s open house.

On-site services include parenting skills development, health services, child development services, and vocational skills training. Residents have the benefit of support groups and assistance to establish and enhance close ties with their young children. Additionally, the mothers share cooking and cleaning chores and learn life skills to help improve their employability.

The first Family Foundations Program facility was opened in the second quarter 1999, and the third, in Fresno County, will open in July 2001.