From the Desk
of the Executive Director:
TFC families: special people for a special need...
You are needed!
One area of urgency you should know about is that of domestic child trafficking and commercial sex exploitation of children. Too many citizens, mental health experts, child welfare personnel, and other community leaders – elected, appointed, or volunteer – are not aware of this problem in America and, specifically for my home state audience, in Oklahoma.
There many things we do not know about DMST, but here are a few that we do know and that I want you to know:
1. Domestic minor sex trafficking and exploited children and youth are victims of child abuse and neglect. They are not prostitutes. They do not belong under the jurisdiction of juvenile delinquency authorities or the adult criminal system.
The commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of minors involves not only payment for sex acts, peep shows, pornography, etc., but also involves survival sex (exchanging sex/sexual acts for money or something of value such as shelter, food, or drugs).
3. Depending on the city, 60-85% of trafficked youth once had some connections to their state child welfare systems.
4. Responding to the unique needs of this trafficked population requires collaboration among many systems (child welfare, law enforcement, courts, mental health, education, medical professionals, legislators). The first step is awareness!
5. Treatment for trafficked victims/survivors must be trauma-based.
Therapeutic foster care can be an appropriate, effective, and healing treatment setting for this population of children, youth, and young adults. TFC provides specialized, trauma-informed services to these individuals in a safe, home environment in a community. TFC is one possible treatment intervention for exploited and trafficked youth to heal in community versus group or congregate care facilities.