Hope Rising, a 501c3 faith-based nonprofit has announced plans to open the first-of-its-kind Emergency Assessment & Stabilization Center (EASC) for children and youth rescued from sex trafficking.
This secluded facility will provide emergency services including in-house triage, assessments, evaluations and trauma-informed services provided by a 24-hour wake staff and family model of care. The goal is to provide a safe and welcoming environment while obtaining a whole person assessment for the first 30-90 days after rescue and prior to placing the child with a Hope Rising trauma-informed foster family – or other appropriate placement in the case that Hope Rising’s long term specialized foster care homes are at capacity.
Sherri Clement, Founder & Executive Director of Hope Rising explains, “We are excited to add another critical solution to what was identified as a gap in care in the overall continuum of care to our organization. With the ability to provide emergency services, assessment and stabilization, we will have a direct impact on improving long term care placements and by extension have better outcomes for the children in our care.”
“This facility is much needed, and will provide a resource to Houston law enforcement, first responders, and the area court systems,” says Jennifer Hohman, founder of HAAT, Houston Area Against Trafficking. Jennifer Hohman is also the Founder of The Houston 20, a group of philanthropic women, who have supported Hope Rising a great deal in Hope Rising’s efforts to serve children rescued from human trafficking, something that they are very passionate about. The Houston 20 has not only provided support for the Hope Rising assessment home, but also partnered with Black Tie Boxing to raise funds to provide Hope Rising with the necessary funds to make it possible to purchase the facility that will be opening this year. The Houston 20 has also worked very hard to get services and materials donated that will help bring the facility up to the standards of licensing.
Tom Jarlock, Director of Operations for Hope Rising, adds, “Our team consists of highly trained professionals with decades of experience dealing with sex trafficking survivors. Children suffer complex trauma and PTSD as a result of their exploitation and can present with many psychiatric and psychological symptoms. Early and accurate assessments can help determine the course for the best long-term therapy and treatment options.”
Gayle Brittain, Director of Equine Therapy Services for Hope Rising explains, “Victims of PTSD have been in a prolonged state of survival mentality. It is vital that a survivor feel secure and stable before they are able to see success in any type of counseling program. The first 30 – 90 days following rescue are a critical time as survivors are going to experience feelings of fight, flight or freeze. The children don’t need to be moved from multiple locations in order to receive medical or physiological care; the care should come to them.
“It’s extremely hard to place children of abuse immediately into a foster family because we just don’t have the proper assessment of the child. This facility provides a beautiful home-like atmosphere with landscaped gardens and outdoor space for the youth to relax. Relaxation is a key element in getting survivors of PTSD to begin the process of reasoning and rational thinking, as opposed to always being on high-alert and focusing all attention on survival.” says Renee Encinas BS, LCPAA, Program Director for Hope Rising.
Dr. Kyle Miller, LPC-S, LMFT-S, and Counselor to Sex Trafficking Survivors explains, “The human brain develops paths according to our life experiences. In the case of children who have been trafficked, these brain patterns are deeply established. It requires in-depth counseling and a 180 degree turn from the life they have experienced. The problem is that it is not easy to isolate a child of trafficking if they remain with their trafficker, or in the home of an abuser. This Emergency Assessment & Stabilization Center will be the first of its kind, that I am aware of. From my viewpoint as a counselor to this population, it will fulfill a very real gap in the existing model of care.”
Funding for this project has been provided by private donations and is expected to be in operation by October 2020 (Covid19 dependent).
Donations of time, contractor services or monetary donations are appreciated. For more information on Hope Rising, or the Emergency Assessment & Stabilization Center please email email@example.com or visit www.hoperisingministries.org
*About Hope Rising: Hope Rising is a 501c3 nonprofit and licensed Foster Care Agency dedicated to the rescue and long-term restoration of children and youth rescued from human sex trafficking.
*About The Houston 20: We are a growing group of influential and committed Houstonians who are forming a movement to advocate for the end of sex trafficking and sex trade in our city by supporting the non profit organizations providing direct services to victims and survivors