Montgomery County has launched the Care Coordination program for child victims of sex trafficking, often referred to as “commercially sexually exploited youth.” The mission of Care Coordination is “To honor each child’s right to a future free of exploitation with proactive, expedient and collaborative trauma-responsive interventions.”
With the direction and assistance of Governor Abbott’s Child Sex Trafficking Team, Care Coordination will channel the combined efforts of several key organizations to accomplish that mission. These organizations include Children’s Safe Harbor, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office, Montgomery County Juvenile Probation, Texas Department of Family Protective Services, Advocates from BCFS and The Landing, Texas Forensic Nurse Examiners, and our valued local law enforcement agencies.
Children’s Safe Harbor will lead this team and will oversee the coordination of services from the time a child victim is identified and recovered from a sex trafficking situation, through the criminal and CPS investigations, and until the child has been discharged from the program.
Care Coordination begins with the recovery of a child victim or identifying a child victim who is at risk of being trafficked. When a trafficked child is recovered, an advocate is immediately assigned and can respond to the location of the child. This advocate will then guide the child through the investigation process and help connect the child to the resources of the larger team. Within 24 hours of the child being recovered, a multi-disciplinary team consisting of law enforcement, prosecutors, CPS, advocates, and representatives from Children’s Safe Harbor will meet and develop a plan for the child. Children will remain in the Care Coordination program until all investigations and follow-up care are completed.
Assistant District Attorney Laura Bond said, “The launch of Care Coordination took months to come to complete, and hundreds of hours of amazing collaborative work from many dedicated people. We want to thank the Governor’s office for their efforts in combating child sex trafficking. We are particularly thankful to Janet Kasper with the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking team for taking the time and leading the effort to implement Care Coordination in Montgomery County. Together we pledge to work diligently and tirelessly for the sake of the safety of our children.”
District Attorney Brett Ligon shared, “Montgomery County values our children, and when a child is trafficked, we will do everything we can to help that child and bring accountability to those who traffic them. The launch of the Care Coordination program ensures that Montgomery County stays on the leading edge of the battle against child sex trafficking and all forms of child exploitation.”
Source: Michael R. Holley, First Assistant District Attorney, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office