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Our History

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In 1977, Pamela Wilder was brave enough to stand up during a meeting of the Junior League of Orange County and declare the need for a space for chemically dependent women to be treated for their disease. There was a shortage of affordable rehabilitation treatment services. Over four decades later, NDFW is the vision Pamela, and our other two founders Marion Schoen and Muriel Zink, spoke of. Our adherence to this original vision can be seen in our willingness to work with all women. We believe that all women deserve care, despite their ability to pay for treatment.


New Directions for Women is established as a project for the Junior League of Orange County, CA, in response to the severe shortage of affordable, accessible rehabilitation beds for women suffering from alcoholism. Our Founders Pamela Wilder, Muriel Zink, and Marion Schoen had a wealth of supporters who spearheaded the movement to create NDFW, including Mrs. Betty Ford.


Became a not-for-profit 501 (c ) (3) organization with a volunteer board of directors.

Since Then

Progressed from providing peer-oriented social model recovery home services to offering an array of chemical dependency treatment services and a full continuum of care.


Established The Pamela Wilder Family Home for treatment of women with children. Women may obtain treatment without giving up custody of their children!


New Directions initiates Early Childhood Development Services on campus. A full time Child Development Coordinator is hired to work with children living in residence, while their mothers focus on their treatment during the day.


New Directions for Women becomes CARF Accredited for the first time. For more information read about our Accreditation and Licensure.


Our Intensive Outpatient Program begins, using The Matrix Model, developed by UCLA’s Matrix Institute. At the same time, Courage House is licensed as an Intensive Sober Living home where women attend IOP treatment services while working, going to school, or volunteering in the community during the day.


Seeking Safety is integrated into the curriculum, adding a vital component to our recovery program by actively addressing trauma while in treatment for substance abuse.


Licensed detox services have been added, creating a seamless continuum of care for our clients.


Our largest building, Founders House, has been fully renovated into a healing sanctuary. The two-story building is perfect for our needs, with space for 18 beds, a spiritual sunroom, two new therapy rooms and an expanded 24-hour care coordinator office. The family-style dining room and new meeting space connect to outdoor seating, meditation areas, and a variety of gardens. Water and fire features, stone and wood all come together to create a very natural, tranquil, and home-like environment to help breathe life back into broken spirits.


NDFW celebrates 40 continuous years of providing quality addiction treatment services for women. We hosted the first Jeffersonian Dinner on campus to bring community leaders from business, education, politics, law enforcement, and addiction treatment together to have a conversation about not only what is happening in our own backyard, but what has become a crippling, nation-wide epidemic. Miss Jeanie, Child Care Coordinator, joins the team with thirty years of experience working with children and their families.

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