New Life Community Services of Santa Cruz Philosophy
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ABOUT NEW LIFE COMMUNITY SERVICES
Located blocks from the beach in Santa Cruz, Calif., New Life Community Services (NLCS) is a Christian faith-based non-profit organization that operates a flexible long-term residential program designed for adults struggling with the effects of substance use disorders.It is one of the 63 (4.8 percent) of California treatment facilities to allow client’s children to reside with them at the center.
With a strong emphasis on vocational rehabilitation, the program’s therapeutic model is based on 12-step principles and participation. This makes the facility one of the 604 (46.1 percent) of facilities in California to offer employment services. New Life Community Services does not provide detoxification services, but is one of the 921 (70.3 percent) of treatment facilities in the state offering outpatient counseling.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
According to the New Life Community Services website, upon admission clients participate in a psychosocial assessment to help the staff determine an individualized treatment plan. Clients typically remain in the program for six months or longer, as reported by the facility on its Yelp page.
NLCS represents its approach to the 12 Steps as bringing a “biblical perspective.” The program is also strengths-based and services are culturally informed. In addition to studying 12-step material, residents participate in individual and group counseling, life skills training, and relapse prevention and other educational sessions. Services also include medication management. Residents are screened for drugs throughout their program.
New Life’s residential program in Santa Cruz functions as a blend between a residential facility and sober living community. Vocational and transitional activities are prioritized to promote reality-based treatment. According to the program’s Yelp content, residents are required to complete a weekly minimum of 35 hours of working, volunteering, or attending school. Typically, counseling and group meetings are held at night.
Graduates of the long-term residential program are encouraged to enroll into its outpatient program, Stratton Counseling, as an aftercare service.
New Life Treatment Services staff members bring diverse training and experience to the program. Both co-directors, according to the facility’s website, are clinical psychologists, one with experience in the juvenile justice system. Two of the staff are faculty at a local university and two are ordained Christian ministers. One has experience consulting for California Tribal Programs. The organization employs a master’s level certified alcohol and drug abuse counselor and works with interns.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
Located a half-mile from the shores of Monterey Bay, New Life Community Services’ residential facility supports 38 beds for clients, with additional space for their children, up to 17 years old. Photographs on the center’s website reflect a relaxed setting in a residential neighborhood, with a sunny deck, surfboards for residents’ use, a playground, weight-training and exercise equipment, and an on-site chapel. Meals are provided by a master chef.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
Feedback from former clients for New Life Community Services at the time of this writing tended to be highly favorable, emphasizing the program's practical or “real life” benefits. The one alum polled by Rehabs.com to date indicated that they would recommend NLCS to others. “This is the real deal. They don’t play around with addiction,” they wrote. This reviewer gave five of five stars for the staff’s level of training and experience and the quality of individual counseling.
One individual awarded NLCS five out of five stars on Google, writing that the center was the “best place to change.” 
Likewise on Yelp, N.M. rated New Life Community Services five stars, describing their experience as the best treatment they had received in multiple attempts at rehab. This alum’s review described receiving help with multiple areas of life in recovery, including employment and assistance with medical and legal needs. While alum T.A. agreed that NLCS was “better than most recovery homes,” they nevertheless reported inconsistencies and concerns with the program’s regulations, citing limited individual counseling as a facility weakness. 
On the facility’s official Facebook page, which its staff may monitor, New Life Community Services earned 4.5 out of five stars based on eight reviews. In a representative review, J.R. wrote: “I learned more than just recovery here, I learned HOW to live my new life!” 
The NLCS website touts an affordable program, and the one alum polled by Rehabs.com agreed. Clients are expected to contribute a portion of their income for treatment and lodging. New Life Community Services also relies on donations to offset the cost of treatment.
Published on February 2018
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