#sextrafficking | Not For Sale: Reducing Sex Trafficking Among Foster Kids

EDITOR’S NOTE: As Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta approached, Patch devoted exclusive coverage to the issue of human trafficking as it related to one of the world’s biggest sporting events. Patch remains committed to covering this international plague with our continuing focus on local efforts to combat the crime.

NORCROSS, GA — Therapeutic foster care agency Creative Community Services aims to save “aging out” foster youth from homelessness and sex trafficking. The nonprofit is calling for community support.

“Children who age out of foster care are in a state of crisis,” said Dave Collier, board chair of Creative Community Services and regional business director & partner for Atlanta Office Technologies. “The lack of support for vulnerable youth comes at a great cost to them and to our society.”

Recent research shows 45% of Atlanta’s homeless youth were previously in the foster care system or child welfare services. Even more heartbreaking, half of Georgia’s homeless youth are sex trafficked or raped.

The Creative Community Services board launched a fundraising campaign to “Open the Door so they can soar.” Their goal is to raise $560,000 by mid-2021. Half must be raised by next June to launch the new program.

To combat these outcomes, the nonprofit proposes a new “Enhanced Home” program. The program provides a safe home environment for youth with low IQ and mental health challenges after they age out. A mentor – much like a foster parent – teaches the life skills needed for safe independent living.

“These kids have no family. They have lower IQs and struggle with mental health challenges like bipolar disorder,” said Creative Community Services CEO, Sally Buchanan. “An enhanced home with mentor support is a totally innovative solution that can help keep them safe and teach them how to manage life without becoming homeless or taken advantage of.”

The board’s fundraising campaign will also provide support for its Teen Parent Connection program. Nationally, by the age of 19, half of teen girls in foster care report having been pregnant. Babies and children of teen parents are more likely to be abused, neglected and placed in foster care. The nonprofit offers a Teen Parent Connection program to provide support, guidance and assistance for teen mothers and fathers to succeed as adults and parents.

Creative Community Services has operated since 1982, when it opened its doors to help adults with developmental disabilities integrate into the community. In 1988, the nonprofit became the first in the state to provide therapeutic foster care for children who have been physically or sexually abused. While the organization is based in Norcross, it has served thousands of foster children, teens and adults from across the state in need of these specialized services.

Not For Sale: Exclusive Coverage From Patch

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