January 27, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Crittenton Services for Children and Families
Martha Jasso, Director of Communications
Fullerton, Calif – After nearly five decades of providing services and assistance to Southern California youth that have experienced neglect, violence, and sexual exploitation Crittenton Services for Children and Families (CSCF) will be recognized by local leaders in a small and private ceremony on January 30, 2014.
The ceremony takes on a special meaning as January is designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This national observance serves as a reminder of the sad reality that commercial sexual exploitation of children exists in the United States. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) estimates that there are 100,000 youths under the age of 18 being sexually exploited. In 2012, 1 out of 8 endangered runaways reported to NCMEC were likely child sex trafficking victims.
“It’s critical that legislators and civic leaders be educated on the realities of sex trafficking, especially in California, where the issue is pervasive,” said Stefanie Benvenuto, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, CSCF. “We are certainly moved by the interest of our legislative partners to come to our campus and meet our incredible youth and survivors. Our hope is that our esteemed guests take the collective stories of our youth, and amplify them in a way that will ensure that our child welfare and juvenile justice systems are responding appropriately and sufficiently to end sex trafficking.”
In recent years, Crittenton has emerged as a leader in providing intervention and treatment services for young victims of commercial sexual exploitation. It has been because of this reputation; experience; and the development of best practices treating this kind of trauma that local Southern California dignitaries expressed interest to honor the non-profit’s efforts.
Through a pilot program authorized by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, CSCF has been able to help young girls who are victims of sex trafficking by providing intensive mental health services; chemical dependency treatment; and shelter services including options for girls that end up pregnant and parenting at a young age.
This continuum of care that non-profit’s such as CSCF offer helps address the myriad of issues that often accompany years of repeated trauma. Most recently from 2012 to 2013, CSCF has served more than 200 young victims that were placed in the agency’s Commercial Sexually Exploited Children Treatment Program.
This month’s event is intended to shed light on an issue that has recently received increased local and national attention. “As the community becomes more educated about sex trafficking, it’s important to us that we not lose sight of the kids who are still being victimized,” said Benvenuto and added, “Making sure that they have a voice in our agency’s response to trafficking motivated us to warmly welcome our local legislators and key community leaders to our campus so that they can really see what these young people are struggling with, and of course, to applaud their growth and their recovery from such horrific abuse.”
The following offices will attend the private ceremony in commemoration of the national human trafficking awareness month, and will present resolutions to CSCF honoring the work being accomplished on behalf of minor victims of sex trafficking in California:
- U.S. Congressman Ed Royce
- California State Senator Bob Huff
- California State Senator Holly Mitchell
- California State Senator Mimi Walters
- California State Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva
- Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson
- City of Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee
- City of Fullerton Councilmember Greg Sebourne
- City of Fullerton Councilmember Bruce Whitaker
“Our girls and frontline staff are grateful to hear of the community’s support on this issue. Oftentimes, it’s heartbreaking to hear the experiences that our girls have gone through, but once you get the chance to know the kind of inner strength it takes to overcome the obstacles they’ve had to face in their short lives, it’s impossible to ignore and impossible not to be in awe of the little victories that happen each day throughout our agency,” said Benvenuto.
The community is encouraged to contact CSCF’s Public Policy and Advocacy Department at firstname.lastname@example.org if more information is needed on opportunities to get involved with CSCF advocacy or grassroots initiatives that directly respond to the fight against 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.
Topics: Non-Profit, Social Services, Community Based Services, Youth Services, Youth Shelter Services, Residential Treatment Services, Mental Health Services, Commercial Sexually Exploited Children Treatment Program, Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victim Services, Human Trafficking, Modern-Day Slavery, Crittenton’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Crittenton Services for Children and Families
Geography: Los Angeles County, Calif., Orange County Calif., Fullerton, Calif.