Upon receiving our first federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant in April 2017 and with your support, the Open Doors Outreach Network expanded services to 19 counties, launched the Voices for Florida Collective Community Impact initiative for private sector engagement and laid the foundation for addressing gaps in services, enhancing key cross-sector stakeholder collaborations and improving coordination for the 24/7/365 day care and treatment of children and young adult victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Here are some highlights of key moments in 2017 and a look ahead to 2018:
Open Doors Outreach Network Services Begin: (June – September 2017) Just a few short weeks after receiving the green-light for direct services funding through the Victim of Crime Act (VOCA), Open Doors Outreach Network provider contracts were signed. Pilot region contracts were signed with the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center for services in the Northeast Florida Region, Children’s Home Society, for services in the Big Bend and Southwest Florida Regions, and More Too Life for services in the Suncoast Region and The Porch Light for services in Central Florida Region.
Service delivery standards and implementation guidelines were developed, written and adopted for practice. The first Open Doors Outreach Network staff were hired and trained—and victims began receiving services in the pilot regions.
The Voices Open Doors Team initiated efforts to address gaps in services and research, began process mapping to ensure leveraging and coordination of referrals and services within the pilot regions, developed collective impact framework for private sector engagement and examined options for program evaluation and effectiveness, including costs and innovative funding requirements that will meet the ongoing growth and sustainability of the Open Doors Outreach Network.
Promising Best Practices Guide Developed: (July 2017) Released the first-of-its-kind resource guide that illustrates promising best practice guidelines to support a continuum of services for children and young adult victims of sex trafficking. This guide was referenced in the Florida Statewide Council on Human Trafficking 2017 Annual Report. (click here to read the guide)
Growing Awareness: (August 2017) Visibility for Open Doors grew through outreach activities and presentations at the Department of Children and Family (DCF) Child Protection Summit in Orlando and the Shared Hope International JuST conference held in New Orleans. In addition to the Voices team exhibiting at the event, two Open Door Survivor-Mentors presented at the conference. Media interviews, news articles, social media, regional meetings and peer-to-peer meetings launched and are ongoing.
Services and Funding Expand: (October 2017) The approval of Voices for Florida’s 2017-2018 VOCA grant application allowed for service area growth beginning in October to five new counties (Flagler, Volusia, Brevard, Polk and Pinellas) and one new region (North Coastal). With this grant award, a total of roughly $3 million has been secured by Voices for Florida for specialized services for Florida victims. By December 2017, the Open Doors Outreach Network pilot serves six Florida regions covering 19 counties.
First Collective Community Impact Event for CSE: (November 2017) Sponsored by the law offices of Fasig Brooks, Voices for Florida launched the private sector engagement initiative, Collective Community Impact. A crowded room of community leaders gathered at the Governors Club in downtown Tallahassee to hear about the important role the community plays in supporting the Open Doors Outreach Network. Participants learned about how their engagement is critical for addressing the complex problems surrounding commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) and trafficking of children and young adults in their community and the state of Florida.
Another Service Milestone! (December 2017) The Open Doors Outreach Network pilot regions help over 100 children and young adults since its launch in June!
A Look Ahead at 2018 and Beyond
Continued Expansion to Meet Statewide Needs: For 2018/2019, plans are in the works to expand services to 21 additional counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla, Palm Beach, Broward, Alachua, Putnam, Marion, Pasco, Hernando, Lake, Sumter and Charlotte. It is anticipated the Open Doors Outreach Network will be fully operational statewide by the end of 2020. Stay tuned!
Special Thank You
None of these improvements in care, coordination or collective impact for victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking would have been possible without the enthusiastic support of Representative Ross Spano (R-Brandon), Senator Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring), the entire Florida Legislature, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and her team at the Office of the Attorney General, Secretary Mike Carroll and the Florida Department of Children and Families, Secretary Christy Daly and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, our Open Doors service providers (the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, More Too Life, The Porch Light, Children’s Home Society of North Coastal Florida, Children’s Home Society of the Big Bend and Children’s Home Society of Southwest Florida).
We also recognize the outstanding assistance and efforts from our affiliate partner- The Children’s Campaign, the legal services of Holland & Knight and the many other stakeholders across the state who have provided insight, guidance and financial support.
Open Doors in the News
In case you missed it:
WFTV – Survivors of sex trafficking mentor victims as part of new local program
Daily Commercial – Justice for Betrayed Children
The Daytona Beach News-Journal – Childhood Betrayed: Exploited to Death
- January 11, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day Traffick Stop 2018 Event, Donald Tucker Civic Center, 505 W Pensacola St, Tallahassee, FL 32301 Click to Register
With your support, the Open Doors Outreach Network will be able to provide more services to these victims. The sexual exploitation of our children is happening right now, as you read this appeal. Please consider making a donation today. Contributions of any amount will make a difference.
Checks can be made payable to: Voices for Florida Open Doors Network
Mailing address: 111 S. Magnolia Dr., Suite 4, Tallahassee, FL 32301
If you believe you are a victim of or suspect human trafficking, please call:
Florida DCF Abuse Hotline: 1 (800) 962-2873 or National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888
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