System Training and Support
Youth who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation often have high rates of involvement with multiple child and family-serving systems, including child welfare, juvenile justice, law enforcement, and mental health. This intersection of commercially sexually exploited youth with multiple systems presents multiple opportunities for engagement, identification, and points of intervention with these youth and their caregivers. Project Intersect seeks to increase CSEC awareness and improve response among professionals working in the following systems:
Project Intersect has partnered with Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to provide training for staff across multiple facilities to enhance their knowledge and awareness of the impacts of trauma, trauma-informed care, and trauma-focused treatment. Project Intersect is utilizing a curriculum developed by the NCTSN, Think Trauma: A Training for Staff in Juvenile Justice and Residential Settings. Think Trauma provides an overview of trauma, including its impact on the brain, body, and social/emotional development of youth, adaptive coping strategies for youth who have experienced trauma, and secondary traumatic stress for staff who work in juvenile justice and residential settings.
In an effort to increase safe and supportive foster care placements, improve outcomes for youth, and provide awareness training and ongoing support for resource parents, Project Intersect is developing a two-tiered training opportunity for resource parents.
Awareness training will be offered to resource parents who are interested in learning more about the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children the increased risk of youth in foster care, the role of trauma and system involvement for youth who are at risk or who have been sexually exploited and how resource parents can help.
More in depth training and support will be available for resource parents who have a youth in their care that has experienced commercial sexual exploitation, or who are interested in having a youth placed in their care in the future. Project Intersect is utilizing the NCTSN curriculum, Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma: A Workshop for Resource Parents (also known as the RPC), which has been widely disseminated in multiple states across the country. This 8 module curriculum educates resource parents about the impact trauma has on a child’s development and behavior, and provides knowledge and skills for responding to behavioral challenges, building healthy attachments, increasing psychological safety, and developing a child’s strengths. Additionally, there is a strong focus on self care, understanding vicarious trauma, and seeking support from others.
Beginning in 2019, Project Intersect will collaborate with local community agencies who serve homeless, runaway, and LGBTQ youth. Homeless and runaway youth are at increased risk for commercial sexual exploitation because their immediate needs are focused on basic survival strategies, which may involve engaging in sex acts for food, shelter, money, and safety/protection. Additionally, LGBTQ youth may be at increased risk for homelessness and/or running away as a result of family rejection due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Utilizing the NCTSN curriculum, Psychological First Aid for Youth Experiencing Homelessness, Project Intersect seeks to increase awareness of the intersection of trauma, homelessness, and risk for exploitation for professionals working with youth in these settings. The curriculum includes 8 core actions that professionals can take in shelter settings.