September 2022 Member Spotlight: Casa Teresa

Founded in 1976 in Santa Ana, Casa Teresa was envisioned as a home for pregnant women, over the age of 18, who were alone and had no support. At the time, there were very few resources or shelters specifically for single, pregnant women, and founders Neill and Sally Sullivan launched Casa Teresa as a four-unit building and cottage to meet the need. After nearly a decade in Santa Ana, Casa Teresa moved to its current site in Orange in 1985, where its Old Towne location ensured access to nearby stores, public transportation, and healthcare for residents. 

Besides accessibility, Casa Teresa has ensured that the needs of pregnant women are met by adding new programs and services. In 1995 they established Hannah’s House to address the needs of women interested in placing their baby with an adoptive family. In 2001, they opened the communal-style Transformation I (T1) Program to serve residents who would benefit from a longer stay with Casa Teresa, and the independent apartment building housing the Transformation II (T2) Program soon followed in 2006. 

In 2013, they launched the Emergency Maternity Shelter (EMS), catering specifically to women struggling with chronic homelessness, substance abuse, and other intensive issues. Also located on the main campus, is the Alumni Resource Center, which provides educational classes, case management, and other supportive services for graduates from their programs. 

Mission: To provide pregnant women in crisis a loving home to begin their healing journey. 

Vision: To break cycles, transform women and help families thrive through effective, caring residential programs. 

Values: Love, Hope, Compassion, Empowerment 

Casa Teresa Programs 

Casa Teresa’s vision is to break dysfunctional cycles, transform women and help families thrive through effective, caring residential programs. To meet that vision, they provide mothers: five residential programs, a giving shelter and other basic needs, case management, classes, and supportive services for pregnant women. The goal is to provide the necessary resources for their personal transformation, so that when a woman leaves, she is prepared to re-enter society as a self-reliant member, having broken life-long cycles of homelessness and/or addiction and can maintain a safe, loving life for herself and her child(ren). 

The programs include: 

Emergency Maternity Shelter:  

-Goal: to stabilize the women so they can begin to heal and prepare for motherhood 

-Requirements: Pregnant and at least 18 years old 

-Home for the most vulnerable women in the community — often chronically homeless, struggling with addiction, and/or having mental health challenges 

-Addresses safety, health, and basic needs first 

-Also has 2 apartments for two pregnant women with up to three children each

Parenting Program:

-Foundational program where every mother enters the program, unless she comes from EMS

-Goal: stabilize the woman, help them heal, and prepare for motherhood 


-Requirements: Six months of sobriety, pregnant and at least 18 years old 

-Start to restore the mother, beginning with a room and bed 

-Provide resources including case management, goal setting, pre-natal care, classes on healthy relationships and nutrition 

-Assess their needs for education beginning with enrolling them to complete their High School Equivalency if they haven’t finished their high school education and/or working on goal setting and what steps in education are needed to achieve those goals 

-Can enter at any time of pregnancy and stay until two month post-delivery

Transformation 1 Program:

-Goal: help move the mothers to greater self-sufficiency by requiring full-time work or school and enrolling the baby in daycare

-Four-month program offering opportunities to learn more independence and responsibility

-Requirements: attend school and/or work full-time

-Establishing healthy living routines and enrolling babies in daycare 

-Continue to work on limiting history during case management, learn life skills and how to be great mothers in classes, continue wrap around services 

Transformation 2 Program: 

-This is the final program offered at Casa Teresa for a mother coming from the T1 program

-Goal: is to continue building family stability and personal accountability for the mother to be successful when she graduates the program 

-Offers greater independence in an apartment setting on our campus

-For mothers with any children previously placed in the care of others, there is an opportunity for reunification. The children can stay in the apartment with their mother and new sibling 

 Hannah’s House:

-Supports women who choose to relinquish their baby for adoption 

-Provides a safe space to meet the physical and emotional needs of women as they select an adoptive family 

-Women in this program can stay up to two month post-delivery

 For more information on Casa Teresa, please visit,