To provide caring, holistic substance abuse treatment to women and children
with the goal of empowering families to live safe, independent and healthy lives.

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Providing Unique and Much-Need Services
Malama Family Recovery Center is the only agency on Maui that provides a continuum of gender-specific substance abuse treatment services specifically to women. It is also the ONLY place where young children can live with their mothers during the recovery process. Gender specificity in treatment is critical to successful outcomes because women who abuse substances share common life experiences and have needs distinct from their male counterparts. Typically, women represent a minority of the client population in mixed-gender substance abuse treatment programs. In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that women enter the treatment system through different avenues than do men. Women’s point of entry to treatment tends to be linked to Child Protective Services, OB/GYN doctors, family intervention and referrals for treatment while in jail.

Because of women’s unique experiences and needs, this population requires enhanced programming related to mental health and medical needs, victimization issues, parenting and family issues, child care, transportation, financial, employment and vocational needs. A large percentage of our clients are of Native Hawaiian descent and we are proud to integrate culturally competent strategies that incorporate Hawaiian and “local” culture in the healing of substance abuse problems in our community. Since Malama opened its doors in 1990 we have served over 1600 women. Malama has a tremendous impact on the community, as studies indicate that “Every dollar invested in drug treatment can save $1-$12 in societal and medical costs” and that “Drug treatment can cut crime by 80%.” In terms of fiscal sense – it costs approximately $32,000 to incarcerate one person for a year in Maui, compared to the estimated annual cost of $2,500 per person for Intensive Outpatient Treatment at Malama.

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction
Pregnant and parenting women have priority in receiving services at MFRC. The earlier we can intervene with these families, the more likely it is that we can successfully break the generational cycle of drug abuse, victimization and incarceration that has become so costly to our community, both in human and financial terms. The teens we help often begin receiving services when they are pregnant and desperately in need of help. Sometimes they are the daughters of women currently in our programs. We try to make a difference in these young women’s lives so they can be free of the family patterns of abuse and addiction.

Focusing on the Family
Malama Family Recovery Center is the ONLY agency in Maui that allows women to have their children living with them while receiving treatment. While clients get help their children are nurtured in an environment that allows them to heal from negative life experiences. We believe strongly in the power of a healing family setting. Our main facility is located in a residential home, which creates a homey and safe environment. Our staff is known for its commitment to providing a safe, sober and healthy environment for women to do the challenging work of healing themselves so they can create positive change for their families.

Removing Barriers
Because the women we serve are a “high needs” and difficult-to-reach population, we need to eliminate the most common barriers to treatment that women face. Some of these include transportation to and from our facility and to medical appointments and AA or NA meetings, as well access to childcare, community parenting resources and nutritional meals for themselves and their children. Transportation services are provided to women in all of our programs. In order to address the wide range of client needs we also provide case management services and collaborate with several community agencies. 

Within our main treatment facility is the Early Learning Center (ELC) which is a welcoming and airy 15”5” X 22’6”  space that serves as both a lounge for mothers with young children and as a classroom for toddlers according to National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards. The ELC provides early childhood care and learning services to infants and children up to age five, with exceptions made for older children as needed. There is an assortment of toys and learning materials to address the gross motor, fine motor, art, sensory, music, library, and relaxation needs of this population. The ELC not only allows mothers, both in the residential and outpatient programs, to feel that their children are safe and well cared for while they are in treatment sessions, but also provides an opportunity for women to receive parenting training and to observe positive interaction and redirection. Staff members provide free developmental screenings for all children, make referrals to community agencies based on the screening scores and provide educational materials to mothers so they can help their children reach developmental milestones. Without the ELC, many, if not most, of the children served would not have otherwise received these critical screenings and early interventions.           

Clients’ children in the Early Learning Center

Our Approach
When clients come to us we begin by conducting a Substance Abuse Assessment and getting an individual’s detailed history of substance abuse in order to determine the extent of services needed. A mental status evaluation is sometimes needed to determine if there are any co-existing mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. Taking clients’ mental stability into account is critical because substance abuse among women is closely linked to traumatic events, as opposed to men, where substance use is typically linked to dependency needs. Many of our services, whether it is therapy, skill-building classes, recovery education, relapse prevention, stress/trauma reduction workshops, etc. are provided in a group format. By working alongside each other, clients feel a part of a larger group and less alone. Often bonds are created in our groups that help our clients build a new family – one that belongs to a strong recovery community.

We also provide individual and family counseling. It is not uncommon for family members to lose trust in the woman who is the “identified patient” or substance abuser. After first working with the client ourselves, we help her reconnect with healthy and sober members of her family or support network.   

CARF Accredited

Malama Family Recovery Center is accredited by CARF, the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. CARF is a private, not-for-profit international organization that promotes quality rehabilitation services by establishing standards for organizations to use as guidelines in developing and offering programs and services to consumers. CARF uses the standards to evaluate how well organizations are serving its consumers and how they can improve.  Click here to learn more about CARF.

MALAMA FAMILY RECOVERY CENTER is accredited to perform the following (all for adults):

  • Community Housing, Intensive Outpatient Treatment and Therapeutic Communities: Alcohol and Other Drugs/Addictions


Malama Family Recovery Center Programs


Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Individual and group therapy and substance abuse counseling, education classes, relapse prevention, stress/trauma workshops and other case management services.

Substance Abuse Free Environment outreach intervention aimed at high-risk, substance using women that increases access to early prenatal care and prepares and refers women for treatment. Currently the program has seen a shift in the type of clients that need help, as most women are first seeking help at Malama for substance abuse issues and then are subsequently enrolling in the BabySAFE Program. Thus, instead of just focusing on the outreach aspect – educating pregnant women and preparing and referring them for treatment – BabySAFE staff is spending more time educating new mothers about healthy early child development and providing intensive case management services to women so their babies stay safe in the long run.


Therapeutic Living Program
A structured, supportive, clean and sober living environment for women and their children that provides stabilization, treatment, individual and family counseling, skill-building and rehabilitative life skills classes and assistance in developing a strong basis of sober living and support in the community. Staff is present 24/7 to provide support. The Early Learning Center is located within the Therapeutic Living Program facility.

Sober Living Program
Safe, substance-free living environment that provides support for women and new mothers. We have a set of two cottages as well as a home with a connected ohana. Women can have one or two children living with them while they are in the Sober Living Program.


How to Get Help

If you or someone you know needs help, the first step is to call the general Malama phone number:

A staff member will conduct a phone screening to determine the level of care needed

To inquire about BabySAFE services, call the general Malama phone number and ask to speak to Megan Morrow

You can also reach out to Malama’s Clinical Director, Dr. Lisa Ponichtera (PhD LMFT CSAC) at lponichtera@malamafamilyrecovery.org or our Office Manager, Maile Otsuka at motsuka@malamafamilyrecovery.org

Services are available on the island of Lanai
Old Dole Administration Building
730 Lanai Avenue, Suite 102
Lanai City, Hawaii 96763
Beverly Zigmond, DN, CSAC Counselor - bzigmond@aloha-house.org
Telephone: 808-565-9566
Fax: 808-565-9566


Malama Family Recovery Center accepts most insurance plans. For those without insurance or unable to pay for services, we are proudly funded by the following:

  • Hawaii Department of Health – Alcohol & Drug Abuse Division (ADAD
  • Hawaii State Judiciary
  • Maui County
  • Maui United Way
  • Private Foundations and Charities
  • Corporate Donors
  • Individual Donors

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Administrative Office | 200 Ike Drive | Makawao, Maui, HI 96768
(Mailing address: Post Office Box 791749, Paia, Maui, Hawaii 96779)