Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,500,000)
Children and youth in Louisiana (LA) are highly vulnerable to human trafficking (HT). A series of catastrophic disasters have compounded the vulnerability of LA’s youth to human trafficking. The Louisiana Governor’s Office is currently seeking funding for the Louisiana Child and Youth Trafficking Collaborative Accessibility Initiative (LCYTC AI) to create an accessible statewide care coordination model for child and youth victims of human trafficking to ensure that all children in LA, regardless of their location or identity, have access to a comprehensive continuum of care. The LCYTC AI will improve accessibility for underserved and under-identified child and youth HT victims specifically under-identified trafficking typologies (family-facilitated and labor trafficking) and under-identified population demographic groups (non-female identifying, Native and American Indian, LGBTQIA2+, youth in rural communities, immigrants, and non-English speaking youth). Training and implementation of a labor trafficking identification tool and the development and facilitation of a Labor Trafficking Train-the-Trainer program will be a priority of the LCYTC AI. A family-facilitated training curriculum will also be developed for training purposes. The LCYTC AI will also focus on care coordination with new protocols and increased points of access for all victims and will hire 10 Regional Care Coordinators (RCC), two survivor consultants, and create formal, paid HT liaison positions with Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Louisiana Supreme Court Family in Need of Services (FINS) program and Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ). The specific goals for the LCYTC AI will include: 1) Increasing accessibility to justice and healing for all victims through the development of a sustainable, equitable statewide care coordination model; 2) Ensuring the immediate and long-term needs of victims are met with an emphasis on cultural awareness, equity and accessibility; 3) Increasing identification of under-identified trafficking typologies; and 4) Expanding strategic partnerships for improved outreach and service delivery to underserved populations. A State Level Steering Committee will be formalized among the Governor’s Office LCYTC AI staff, a tribal leader, law enforcement official, judicial official, child welfare official, and juvenile justice official. The LCYTC AI commits to promoting healing and justice for all children and youth in Louisiana who have experienced human trafficking, regardless of where they live, the type of trafficking they have experienced, or their identity. Furthermore, the LCYTC AI will strive to create a sustainable care coordination model that will exist past the grant duration through formalized protocols, policies, and partnerships.