October 04, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Crittenton Services for Children and Families
Martha Jasso, Director of Communications
FULLERTON, Calif. – Crittenton Services for Children and Families (CSCF) applauds the selection of Dr. Barbara Hernandez, Vice President of Community Based Services, CSCF to the California Statewide Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) Action Group.
The nomination was made by California State Senator and Senate Republican Leader, Bob Huff, who oversees the 29th District which includes areas of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties.
“I am very honored to have been chosen to be part of the CSEC Action Group. Knowing that the action group is composed of professionals who are well versed on CSEC issues makes me feel confident that we will come up with a comprehensive plan to combat domestic minor sex trafficking in the state of California,” said Dr. Hernandez, CSCF and added,”I think Crittenton has a great deal to offer to the action group, given that we have worked with this population of children for a long time and understand the nature and complexities in serving CSEC youth.”
Dr. Hernandez’s knowledge and vast experience in the delivery of treatment options for children that have been subjected to complex traumas, including commercial sexual exploitation or human trafficking, is well respected among her peers and in the community. Her commitment to helping survivors rebuild their lives has inspired Dr. Hernandez to advocate, collaborate, and assist in the fight to end modern-day slavery.
“The CSEC Action Group’s overall goals are to develop a comprehensive way to institute prevention for CSEC recruitment of at- risk youth, develop a collaboration between governmental and non-governmental agencies to prevent exploitation, and provide comprehensive services to victims,” said Dr. Hernandez, CSCF and added,” My goal in participating in the action group, is to provide the group with insight into the need for comprehensive mental health services with emphasis in complex trauma, as well as the need for secured placement options for the most fragile children who have been significantly exploited and are at risk of harm by their exploiter.”
CSCF’s long history of working with women and children in California who have been exploited lends itself naturally to this effort. In fact, the State of California has been identified as a human trafficking destination by various national organizations and law enforcement agencies. It has been reported that children are at risk of being recruited by pimps, organized crime, and other predators who sexually exploit children, typically starting between the ages of 12 and 14.
“It is time to have strict policies to stop this abuse of minors,” said Senator Huff in his monthly e-newsletter,”Dr. Hernandez will be involved with formulating policies and procedures to combat this horrific crime of children being bought and sold for sex. This sad reality is a serious problem in California and I’m thankful Dr. Hernandez was selected to help guide the Action Group.”
The CSEC Action Group is being formed at a time when people are really accepting that trafficking of minors in the United States and in every community is a real issue, and as such, Californians are starting to demonstrate that they are ready to address and respond to this human rights issue. As policy makers look to address this issue even further, CSCF have been pleased to find so many people willing to come to the table and talk about trafficking.
“One of the major hurdles to crafting effective policy in this area is the controversial nature of the subject. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some really shallow or knee-jerk policy reactions to an issue that is so deep seated in communities,” said Stefanie Benvenuto, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, CSCF, and added,”Crittenton’s knowledge and experience working directly with children, international and domestic, who have been exploited is just part of our collective work on behalf of at-risk and troubled youth… the same youth that are the most at-risked to being trafficked. Crittenton comes to the table with a continuum of care expertise that can look holistically at the laundry list of factors that make youth vulnerable, and by default show a realistic picture of the consequences of the sexual exploitation of children.”
In addition to Dr. Hernandez’s CSEC Action Group responsibilities she also serves as the subject matter expert and lead speaker for the CSCF Speaker’s Bureau Program on the topic of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST); has trained community partners on human trafficking and assessing and identifying children with human trafficking experiences; and continues to present on treatment options for Commercial Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) as well as on the importance of the collaboration of care for CSEC survivors.
She is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, earned her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Mount St. Mary’s College, a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, and her Doctorate of Psychology from Ryokan College. She has been working with minors in the child welfare system for more than 15 years, ten of which are in administration. Dr. Hernandez and her team provide a variety of intensive therapeutic services to children in residential and group home aftercare programming. One of the most recognized programs that Dr. Hernandez is currently leading is that of Commercial Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) at CSCF. Her knowledge of attachment disorders, trauma and the CSEC population has led her team to provide the most comprehensive services available in Southern California to minor victims of human trafficking
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive counseling, medical, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community based, wraparound, mental health, foster care, and adoption services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties. Visit www.crittentonsocal.org to learn more about our programs and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and Flickr.
Topics: Non-Profit, Social Services, Community Based Services, Residential Treatment Services, Youth Shelter Services, Crittenton Grassroots Network, Crittenton Advocacy Initiatives, Civic Engagement, Human Trafficking, Commercial Sexually Exploited Children, Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victim Services, Commercial Sexually Exploited Children Program, Modern Day Slavery
Geography: Los Angeles County, Calif., Orange County Calif., Fullerton, Calif.