Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $447,460)
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). The selected training and technical assistance provider will work with project sites 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 2018, Pub. L. No. 115-141, 132 Stat. 348, 423.
In 2015, the District of Columbia Superior Court (DCSC) Family Court and Courts Social Services Division, the D.C. Office of the Attorney General, the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health, and local victim advocate agencies launched a specialty court called Here Opportunities Prepare You for Excellence (HOPE Court) for youth at risk or who have been victims or commercial sexual exploitation. The mission of the HOPE Court is to connect eligible and suitable youth and their caregivers with services designed to reduce commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and provide oversight to ensure the support, care, and rehabilitation of participants. The program will enhance the specialty services available to HOPE Court participants to better address the unique needs of CSEC youth, engage and train CSEC victims' families and community stakeholders on topics related to CSEC identification and awareness, and expand existing comprehensive supportive direct services for CSEC victims.
DCSC seeks to fund partnerships with local CSEC agencies to (1) expand specialized CSEC services such as developing a model mentoring program, enhancing life skills training, and providing crisis response to HOPE Court participants in order to increase their engagement, reduce victimization, and reduce delinquent behavior and (2) implement trainings for community stakeholders and community members, including victims' families. Increased CSEC identification and awareness will help reduce victim blaming and isolation, and improve community engagement and continuity of specialized care. DCSC will oversee the recruitment and training of additional service providers and facilitate the referral and tracking of youths' service use. Additionally, DCSC will work with OJJDP on training curriculum and technical assistance providers and other expert practitioners in CSEC identified to assist in the development and facilitation of CSEC awareness trainings. The outcome of this program is to serve at least 150 youth at risk of or confirmed as CSEC victims; engage up to six direct service providers and increase their capacity to provide mentoring and specialized services; conduct outreach to more than 10,000 Washington, DC, residents through trainings for community stakeholders; and develop community awareness through innovative evidence-based approaches to prevent and reduce CSEC.