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My Daughter is Ready to Take the Next Step in Treatment. How Do We Find a Quality Residential Treatment Program for Women?

woman sitting in peace

What LauraW’s daughter needs—a solid residential treatment program for women—should not be so hard to find. Unfortunately, such programs often are. Allies’ Lynne Macaluso sorts through some of the options in LauraW’s state and focus her search on a program most likely to help her daughter continue to improve.

©Zhanna Fort/

“Hello again. My daughter continues her journey with drug court and a methadone treatment program. Last week, her counselor suggested residential treatment, and for the first time, my daughter is receptive to the idea. She is 34 years old, so not on my insurance plan. I cannot afford to pay out of pocket, but she has Medicaid through the state of Arizona (it’s called AHCCCS or “Access” here). She’s on her own as far as finding a facility covered by her plan. She was given a short list of resources, but it wasn’t very helpful—many of the places listed are only for men. Do you have any pointers for finding a complete list of residential treatment options covered by Medicaid? I’ve done a lot of searching online, but have only come up with a few phone numbers for my daughter. While I know this is ultimately her responsibility, I want to be supportive.

Thank you in advance for any ideas you can share.”

Welcome, Laura W.

Great question! As you have discovered, finding a quality residential treatment program for women without children, that will also accept your state’s Medicaid, can be a challenge.

Historically, for a variety of reasons, residential treatment programs have largely catered to men. Thus, most addiction treatment programs designate fewer female beds per unit than male. This presents a challenge for women seeking help. Over the years, recovery advocates have pushed for greater access to safe, sober, housing for women. We would like to believe things are changing for the better.

Among the many obstacles women face when considering a long-term residential program are family and childcare obligations. These alone can make leaving home for an extended time—to say nothing of time away from work—next to impossible. It stands to reason that many women who would greatly benefit from the structure of a residential program simply cannot go.

Finding the best fit

It would also be best if the program your daughter ultimately chooses has a unit for women only. This can eliminate distractions and the potential to form romantic relationships during this very vulnerable time.

Having said all that, I have located a few residential programs in Arizona that will accept certain AHCCCS Medicaid Health Plans—see the links below. Depending on where your daughter lives and her ability to travel, she may qualify for one of these programs. It’s worth looking into.

If you run into obstacles with these programs (long waitlists, for example), you may want to consider a ¾ house instead. These are sober living homes that have less structure than a traditional residential treatment program. Often ¾ houses provide some level of recovery support, such as in-house mutual-aid meetings, counseling, and/or case management services. Many will accept cash assistance benefits through the county of residence if your daughter is eligible.

A recovery coach or peer advocate can help

I also recommend that you find a recovery coach or peer advocate in your area. This can be your best bet when it comes to finding resources in the community. These folks are trained professionals and often have lived experience. They know the lay of the land when it comes to treatment, services, and available resources. Most addiction treatment facilities have peer advocates on staff or can refer you to someone who can help.

Focus on the positive

It’s a really good sign that your daughter is open to this next level of treatment, and it’s important for you to be supportive of her wishes. Reaching out to us for guidance was a great step. It is possible that your daughter may find a recovery home that offers a work incentive in return for room and board. I would suggest helping in any way you can, but only if it doesn’t present a problem for you. Perhaps you can offer to watch her children or look after her pet(s). You might even consider covering the cost of a couple of months in a ¾ house if necessary.

Encouraging a Loved One to accept any level of treatment, particularly in a long-term residential program, simply works better if you’re able to remove any barriers they may encounter.

In Module 8, you’ll find further guidance for choosing a treatment program. The ideal situation would be a residential program for women covered by her insurance or within her budget. Such a program should be a working model of sober living and a system whereby residents are accountable for maintaining a drug free environment. You can learn more about the Social Model from this article.

Your daughter is actually doing really well. She is stable on methadone, focused on addressing her criminal justice issues, fortunate enough to be in a program dedicated to addressing addiction, and open to additional treatment. So lean in on being supportive, and help her find those available resources. We’re encouraged by your daughter’s success and yours as well. She is so lucky to have you at her side (hear the sound of mad clapping)!


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In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)