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ARC Community Services, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit, 501(c)3 agency providing innovative, women responsive, strengths-based, family focused, community-based wraparound services since 1976, to women and their children/families.

ARC provides integrated, multi-disciplinary services provided within the family context particularly the mother/child bond, in order to foster healthy family functioning and family intactness and reduce out-of-home placements of young children and to assist in stopping the cycle of family violence, abuse and neglect as well as to provide for the development of safe, economically viable, constructive lifestyles.

ARC specializes in the development and implementation of programming based on current research and best practices and in response to the special needs of women at risk for criminal activity and/or substance abuse on a residential, day treatment and outpatient basis in Dane County, Fond du Lac County, and the State of Wisconsin.

ARC promotes women responsive services that are designed to empower women to make responsible and healthy life choices and focuses on addressing a woman’s recovery within the context of her relationship with her children.

ARC’s Treatment Goals and Treatment Model

The goals for treatment are shared across ARC Community Service’s continuum of programming for women and children, and include 1) increased availability and accessibility of early intervention and appropriate AODA, mental health, psychosocial, and case management treatment services for low income women and their children; 2) decreased incidence and prevalence of drug and alcohol use among pregnant and postpartum women; 3) improved birth outcomes for women who use alcohol, tobacco, or other substances; 4) decreased numbers of infants affected by maternal substance abuse; 5) improved long-term welfare, economic stability and quality of life for women and their children.

The foundation for engagement and service delivery rests firmly upon practice modalities embraced by ARC and incorporating SAMSHA Best Practices demonstrated empirically by ARC and other model programs throughout the country, and through the consensus of recognized experts in the field based on clinical trials or research. ARC uses a strengths-based, gender specific model that meets the specific needs of women needing treatment, a relational model, and cognitive restructuring for enhancing attitudinal and behavioral change. These form the basis for ARC’s culturally sensitive service delivery approach to service delivery that increases the ability to reach appropriate target populations of substance abusing women, engage them in treatment activities, and retain them for the course of treatment.

Strengths-Based Model

Focusing on strengths provides an essential foundation for engagement and participation of clients in their own process of change by instilling hope about the ultimate possibility of changing and creating a better life for themselves and their family. This best practice model is seen as central to effectively addressing the AODA needs of women by focusing on identifying strengths and empowerment, and by focusing on the capacity for building strong relationships and nurturing as a basis for empowering a woman and her family towards change and recovery. A non-judgmental approach is especially critical given that the psychosocial issues of stigma, guilt, and shame are intensified in substance abusing pregnant women.

Relational or Self-in-Relation Model

Women’s psychological development and socialization have been linked to patterns of substance abuse. The Self-In-Relation model shifts the emphasis from separation to a relational self as the core basis of identity in women and as the basis of growth and development. This model has important implications for women specific AODA treatment and is a core component in ARC treatment programs. It provides a focal point for service delivery to strengthen the ability to form and maintain increasing levels of positive, recovery supporting relationships—especially mother-child bonding—and by also reducing the effects of disconnectedness created by past abusive and AODA supporting relationships.

Cognitive Behavioral (Restructuring) Model

Cognitive AODA treatment models are directed towards identifying and changing maladaptive thinking patterns that often result in self-defeating or self-destructive behaviors and feelings. They are widely and effectively used in AODA treatment and when used in group settings, they are enhanced through strong peer group dynamics and mutual support.

Gender Sensitive/Responsive Treatment

Embedded within the program treatment components already discussed, several other treatment approaches strengthen the women specific nature of AODA treatment by focusing on the specialized needs of women, and by removing the barriers to treatment engagement and retention. Together, they form a holistic approach to women specific treatment that is culturally and gender sensitive. These additional elements include the family centered context of service delivery, the focus on domestic abuse, trauma and self-esteem, providing for comprehensive medical services, wraparound case management, and the extensive use of women as service providers and positive role models.

The family of origin and the family a woman creates as she develops through adulthood form the primary context for AODA intervention and service delivery. Since a women’s recovery is often reflected in her healthy connections to primary family supports—especially her children—treatment is likely to be only as effective as her ability to create and maintain those connections, and reduce or eliminate prior relationships detrimental to her recovery. Trauma has been found to be predictive of the development of alcohol, drug, and mental health problems for women. Women experience high rates of sexual and physical violence both as a precursor and consequence of substance involvement, and women whose childhood histories include sexual assault are significantly more likely to report substance use and abuse as well as a myriad of trauma related stress and mental health symptoms. ARC is intimately familiar with the incidence and prevalence of domestic violence and trauma issues women bring with them into AODA treatment, and they have a well-developed and defined treatment protocol in place to address those issues as a part of their overall treatment. Wraparound case management services addresses the need for planful coordination of the internal components in its comprehensive service delivery system, the need to effectively collaborate with community providers—often involving advocacy to provide access and opportunity for services for women—and the need to remove practical barriers to AODA treatment such as ensuring effective transportation, childcare, and good pre and postpartum medical care.

ARC AODA treatment services not only contain empirically validated women-specific elements that have become SAMSHA standards of Best Practice for women specific AODA treatment, but they also includes trauma counseling, treatment programs dealing with a full range of medical and psychosocial needs, and also allows women in residential treatment to reside with their infants. ARC Community Services Programming combines all those women-specific AODA treatment components in such a way as to reduce known barriers to AODA treatment for women while also ensuring a program environment most conducive to positive treatment outcomes for women, their children, and their family.

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Project Contact Information

Paulette Romashko, Project Director
ARC Community Services, Inc.
2001 West Beltline Hwy, Suite 102
Madison, WI 53713
Phone: 608-278-2300
Fax: 608-278-2313

Copyright © 2006, ARC Community Services, All Rights Reserved.