Starting in 1991 CCA began to create gender-responsive programs focused on the unique needs of women and girls. CCA recognized the different social and family context and responsibilities faced by women and girls, and their different pathways into crime and addiction. Women and girls often came to CCA struggling with problems associated with experiences of physical and sexual abuse and domestic violence. To meet these gender-specific needs, CCA staff use a holistic and strength based approach to services for women. Programs emphasize peer and community support as well as advocacy to assist clients in negotiating with human service agencies, including the child welfare system. Even for coeducational programs such as the youth services and HIV/AIDS programs, single sex sessions are offered for topics and activities where a gender-specific approach is preferable.
CCA's programs for women include a substance abuse treatment and alternative to incarceration program (Crossroads), and an HIV/AIDS harm reduction program for women in NYC and programs designed to specific needs of adolescent girls.
Each gender-specific program not only helps women and girls address issues that affect their personal well being and liberty, but also supports them as they reestablish family connections. For most of the women with whom we work, regaining custody of children is the preeminent issue and with CCA's help, many of our clients are able to regain custody and provide a safe, nurturing home for their children.