Celebrating Two Years of 24/7/365 Coordinated Network Services for
Commercially Sexually Exploited Children and Young Adults
It’s truly remarkable how far the pilot of Voices for Florida’s Open Doors Outreach Network has progressed in just two years since on-the-ground services began.
Our overarching goal for the pilot was to close gaps in services and leverage existing resources in communities to better serve commercially sexually exploited (CSE) and sex trafficked children and young adults. In many ways, and in several regions in Florida, our model has been proven to be successful. Since July 2017, 684 victims were provided transformative services to meet their individual needs
Vital to our ability in providing high quality services is the specialized performance standards and processes developed that 1) establish coordination of services through a network approach, 2) prioritize training and education to ensure consistent delivery standards through a survivor-centered approach and 3) allow for “real-time” modifications to the program based on findings from translational research and developmental evaluation.
The significant promise and potential of the Open Doors Outreach Network pilot is already gaining attention beyond Florida. Inquiries from other states have been received along with invitations to present at national conferences.
Successes are collectively shared by our 37 Outreach Team Members consisting of 12 Survivor-Mentors, 14 Regional Advocates and 11 Clinicians. Due to their 24/7/365 heath-centered care, our service population is overcoming challenges and on the path to well-being.
Fundraising Campaign Underway to Meet Demand in Existing Counties
This past spring, the Florida Legislature signaled its continued support of the Open Doors Outreach Network pilot by once again allocating General Revenue funds for the Open Doors Outreach Network. However, to continue meeting the growing needs of victims in existing counties, additional private support is needed. Network Providers have begun reaching out to raise matching funds needed to draw down an additional $4.8 M in federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant support for victim services this fiscal year – and local communities are responding.
Voices for Florida deeply appreciates the generosity of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Libertore Fund for Children and an anonymous donor for their contributions to the Open Doors Outreach Network.
Gulf Coast Community Foundation is a public charity dedicated to serving the needs of their community by investing in innovative ideas to change the status quo. Gulf Coast Community Foundation has generously awarded a grant to Voices for Florida. This award is designated for the Open Doors Outreach Network to prevent and address human exploitation in Sarasota County, particularly by supporting unaccompanied homeless youth.
Libertore Fund for Children’s mission is to make a difference in the lives of at-risk children, eliminating barriers to their success so they can realize a brighter future. Libertore Fund for Children has generously awarded Voices for Florida with private funds. This funding will help us continue to walk alongside our victim population in the Suncoast region as they overcome obstacles on the path to well-being.
A Second Family through the Open Doors Outreach Network
Danielle* is a victim served by the Open Doors Outreach Network who was being sold to men for sex by her own mother. After reporting to teachers this was happening, she was referred to the Open Doors Outreach Network by the Department of Children and Families.
The Open Doors Outreach Network first met Danielle at the State Attorney’s Office while she was preparing to testify against her mother. From then on, her team was with her every step of the way during the judicial process. At the sentencing hearing, Danielle asked the entire Outreach Team to accompany her. There, each member took turns holding her hand and providing support to help calm her nerves.
Because of Danielle’s unwavering testimony, which she was able to deliver with the strength of her Outreach Team behind her, her mom is now incarcerated, no longer able to harm her daughter or anyone else.
It’s incredible how much Danielle has changed since the team first came into contact with her. Danielle no longer struggles with self-harm and, with the support of her Open Doors Survivor-Mentor, now knows how to handle triggers of PTSD. She continues to receive counseling with her Open Doors Clinician. With the stability created around her, Danielle graduated high school on time! She plans to attend college and pursue work in the field of business.
Testimonials from the Field
We’re incredibly proud of the positive impact that the Open Doors Outreach Network has had, but don’t just take it from us! Below are some comments from those who know us best.
The Network makes Open Doors different than any program I’ve served victims through. I love the fact that there are other people throughout Florida you can count on. When clients leave the region, which they do, you have somewhere for them to go. You can say “Hey I know this person other there. You can trust them.
– Dr. Marianne Thomas, Regional Team Coordinator, Central Region
My whole life has changed since working with my Survivor-Mentor.
– Survivor from Northeast Region
We’re so grateful to have Voices for Florida serve as the backbone organization for the Open Doors Outreach Network. They are able to focus on mobilizing funding and as a result, we can place our efforts on best serving our victim population.
– Kymberly Cook, Senior Vice President of Operations, Children’s Home Society
Survivor-Mentors fully understand what it is like to feel fear and shame in a way that those who have not experienced such trauma cannot comprehend. Because we have firsthand experience with recovery, Survivor-Mentors demonstrate that a more fulfilling future is truly possible.
– Lauren Whitworth, former Survivor-Mentor and current Clinician, Suncoast Region
We’re taking action and engaging in behavior that’s creating the change to solve the problem of sex trafficking. We’re not just sitting around talking about it.
– COL (Ret.) Ronald Joe Sr., Voices for Florida Board Member
From Concept to Collective Impact — Key Milestones in Our Progress
Just like Rome, the Open Doors Outreach Network pilot was not built in a day. The following is a timeline with important milestones. None of these would have been possible, however, without the hundreds of citizens, advocates and organizations who helped lay the groundwork.
June 2015: The Florida Legislature and Statewide Council on Human Trafficking called for increased collaboration of services for victims of sex trafficking.
2015 – 2016: As an outgrowth of the nationally-recognized Justice for Girls Movement, which began in the late 1990s and continues today, Roy Miller, president of The Children’s Campaign and Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center President & CEO Lawanda Ravoira developed the initial concept of the Open Doors model utilizing First Responder teams – known today as the Open Doors Outreach Teams. They envisioned three professionals working together to provide immediate crisis intervention and 24/7 wrap-around services to sex trafficked individuals. Additionally, they recognized the importance of utilizing Survivor-Mentors when serving this population, which remains a key pillar of the Open Doors model today.
October 2016: Working with The Children’s Campaign, the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center and others, Voices for Florida secured initial General Revenue funding to support the pilot of the Open Doors Outreach Network. Voices for Florida began its work as the backbone organization for the new innovation. This work included the development of service delivery protocols throughout the Network, securing the Network Providers and developing industry-leading standards, based on promising practices, for serving this population.
April 2017: Voices for Florida secured its first Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant to support direct services to victims provided by the Open Doors Outreach Teams.
July 2017: Voices for Florida released the first-of-its-kind promising best practice and resource guide for serving victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. This handbook for the Open Doors Outreach Teams is updated annually.
July 2017: The very first Open Doors Outreach Network pilot services launched in the Northeast Florida and Big Bend regions.
October 2017: With the addition of Suncoast, Southwest, North Coastal and Central Florida regions, Open Doors Outreach Network services were launched in all six pilot regions, initially consisting of 19 counties.
October 2018: The Open Doors Outreach Network pilot expanded from 19 to 32 counties in FL to meet the high demand for additional services to victims.
Your Support of Victims of Sex Trafficking is Urgently Needed
There is a waiting list for Open Doors services in most of our service regions. Please consider making a donation today. The sexual exploitation of our children is happening right now, as you read this appeal. Contributions of any amount will make a difference and allow us to serve additional victims in need.
Checks can be made payable to: Voices for Florida Open Doors Outreach Network
Mailing address: 111 S. Magnolia Dr., Suite 4, Tallahassee, FL 32301
Or visit our PayPal link by clicking the button below
To make a referral to the Open Doors Outreach Network, please contact the following:
- Big Bend (Leon, Bay, Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla counties): Children’s Home Society of the North Central Division,850-819-3830 (Bay county), 850-219-4239 (all other counties in the Big Bend region)
- Central Florida (Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Lake and Sumter counties): One More Child, 407-799-8719 (Brevard, Orange and Lake), 863-255-5351 (Polk, Osceola, Sumter and Lake)
- Northeast Florida (Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Baker and Clay counties): Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, 904-412-8923
- North Coastal Florida (Flagler, Volusia and Putnam counties): Children’s Home Society of North Coastal, 386-281-9823
- Suncoast (Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, Sarasota, Pasco and Hernando counties): More Too Life, 941-227-1012
- Southwest Florida (Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties): One More Child,239-478-8649
- Statewide office (Tallahassee): Voices for Florida, 850-425-2621
- OAG Human Trafficking Summit in Orlando, FL: September 30, 2019
- 2019 Florida Coalition for the Homeless in Orlando FL: October 9-11, 2019
- Shared Hope JuST Conference in Cincinnati, OH: October 15-17, 2019
If you believe you are a victim of or suspect human trafficking, please call:
Florida DCF Abuse Hotline: 1 (800) 962-2873
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888