Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $450,000)
The purpose of this program is to enhance the capacity of organizations to respond to the needs of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE)/domestic sex trafficking (DST). There are two categories of funding available under this solicitation. Category 1 funding is designated for Mentoring Project Sites. Under this initiative, project sites develop or enhance mentoring service models and mentor training based on best practices to focus on the needs of youth who are at risk or are victims of CSE/DST; develop or update strategies to recruit and maintain mentors to serve under identified and underserved populations; begin or enhance efforts to identify and enroll youth who are in need of services; and provide needed services to these youth. Grantees work with OJJDP's training and technical assistance provider to develop or enhance mentoring service models and mentor training based on best practices. This program is authorized pursuant to the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2017, Pub. L. No. 115-31.
Volunteers of America of Los Angeles (VOALA) will implement a mentoring program serving youth who are victims of child sexual exploitation or who are at substantial risk of becoming victims in Los Angeles County. VOALA will address the epidemic of CSE/DST. The overarching goal of the program is to develop and implement an effective mentoring program that connects trained, screened mentors with youth who are victims of CSE/DST or are at significant risk of becoming a victim of CSE/DST, providing these youth with a caring adult influence that research has shown to increase their positive social development while reducing the likelihood that they will return to the streets or participate in other negative behaviors. To achieve its goal, VOALA will provide these youth with the resources needed to access stable housing and supportive services and reduce the number of youth victims of CSE/DST in Los Angeles County. Activities will include: recruiting and screening mentors; training mentors in evidence-based mentoring practices; outreach to and engagement with victims/potential victims of CSE/DST; mentor/mentee supervision; intensive, trauma-informed case management; and linkages with housing and supportive services. The program will recruit and train 250 mentors/year and engage 250 youth who are victims/at-risk of becoming victims in mentoring each year. The mentoring program will be integrated into VOALA's existing services that benefit youth victims of trafficking including street outreach; a drop-in center; intensive, trauma-informed case management; and linkages to housing and supportive services (healthcare, mental healthcare, substance abuse treatment, employment, education, legal services, etc.). No portion of the budget will be used to conduct research.