Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $83,689)
Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Community Alliance will build upon its deep expertise in intensive community casework - including CSEC casework through a grant-funded pilot program in 2016-17; working with transition aged youth; and treating youth with significant trauma histories in order to design and implement the Hampden County CSEC Mentoring Initiative. This project seeks to address the problem and fill gaps in CSEC prevention and intervention services by providing targeted and consistent mentoring services to commercially sexually exploited children and those at high-risk for exploitation. RFK Community Alliance will partner with My Life My Choice to provide staff training and administrative support as we develop our program which will utilize mentors with “lived experience.” RFK Community Alliance will work closely with the Hampden County Coalition to Identify & Prevent Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children who will be the primary referral source to the program.
RFK Community Alliance will create a program with the following goals and objectives:
• To reduce the number of commercially sexually exploited children in Hampden County
• To increase the level of safety for commercially sexually exploited children
• To develop and support meaningful relationships between commercially sexually exploited children and mentors
• To provide mentoring services to youth identified as CSEC, or at imminent risk for CSEC, by the Hampden County Coalition
• Actively engage youth identified as CSEC in changing the paradigm of their individual narratives, from passive and vulnerable
victims to empowered and courageous survivors with the ability to change their own lives.
• Increase community awareness and outreach to enhance community identification and support of CSEC youth.
In order to meet the above objectives, RFK Community Alliance will engage in the following activities:
• Recruit and engage mentors who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation;
• Train mentors to provide mentoring services according to the program’s model and guidelines;
• Develop a referral system with the Coalition to identify and refer youth up to age 17, who are currently commercially sexually
exploited or at high risk;
• Develop a comprehensive list of resources and services available in Hampden County;
• Develop an individualized recovery plan with each mentee, and facilitate access to needed services;
• Provide post-program follow-up services to offer continuing support and facilitate access to appropriate intervention;
• Evaluate program efficacy;
• Provide education and guidance to the community on the prevalence of CSEC and how it can play a greater role in prevention and intervention.