Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $450,000)
The FY 2019 Specialized Services and Mentoring for Child and Youth Victims of Sex Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Category 1 supports efforts of eligible applicant organizations to increase the availability of direct support services for children and youth who are victims of sexual exploitation/domestic sex trafficking (SE/DST), develop or enhance their mentoring capacity, and facilitate outreach efforts to identify these youth. Under this category, OJJDP expects successful applicants to provide mentoring and other needed support services to these youth, develop or enhance mentoring service models and mentor training based on best practices to focus on the needs of youth who are at risk for or are victims of SE/DST, and develop or update strategies to recruit and maintain mentors to serve these youth. This program is authorized by Pub. L. No. 1166, 133 Stat. 13, 115; Pub. L. No. Pub. L. No. 115-141, 132 Stat. 348, 423.
Robert F. Kennedy Childrens Action Corps, Inc. seeks to build upon its deep expertise in intensive community casework, including: Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) casework through a grant-funded pilot program in 2016-17; working with transition-aged youth; and treating youth with significant trauma histories, to design and implement the Hampden County CSEC Mentoring Initiative (Hampden County, Massachusetts). This project seeks to fill identified gaps in CSEC prevention and intervention services by providing targeted and consistent mentoring to commercially sexually exploited children and those at high risk for exploitation. Partners on this project are: My Life My Choice of the Justice Resource Institute, to provide staff training and administrative support as the applicant develops its program; and the Hampden County Coalition to Identify & Prevent Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, which will be the primary referral source to our program. The goals are to reduce the number of commercially sexually exploited children in Hampden County; increase the level of safety for commercially sexually exploited children; and provide a public safety benefit to Qualified Opportunity Zones and other areas in Hampden County. The objectives are to develop and support meaningful relationships between commercially sexually exploited children and mentors; provide mentoring services to youth identified as CSEC, or at imminent risk for CSEC, by The Coalition; actively engage youth identified as CSEC in changing the paradigm of their individual narratives, from passive and vulnerable victims to empowered and courageous survivors with the ability to change their own lives; and increase community awareness and outreach to enhance community identification and support of CSEC youth. In order to accomplish this, the applicant will recruit and engage mentors who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation; train mentors to provide mentoring services according to the programs model and guidelines; develop a referral system with the Coalition to identify and refer individuals, who are currently commercially sexually exploited or at high risk; develop a comprehensive list of resources and services available in Hampden County; develop an individualized recovery plan with each mentee, and facilitate access to needed services; provide post-program follow-up services to offer continuing support and facilitate access to appropriate intervention; evaluate program efficacy; and provide education and guidance to the community on the prevalence of CSEC and how it can play a greater role in prevention and intervention. CA/NCF