About This Program
Target Population: Girls ages 12-17 who are deemed high risk for child sex trafficking involvement
For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 17
youthSpark Voices is a direct service program that partners with the local juvenile court to provide critical intervention services to youth deemed high-risk for trafficking involvement or who do not self-identify as a trafficking victims even though exploitation is present. At a high level, the program works to increase their school attendance, decrease runaway attempts and risky behaviors, and, more importantly, build important skills that put the girls on a positive track of personal growth and self-sufficiency.
youthSpark Voices seeks to divert the paths of those at-risk, who are most likely to fall prey to those who would exploit them and to build critically needed decision-making and educational skills to prepare them for the world of work. Referrals are received from the statewide system of care for all confirmed victims and the local juvenile court, whose probation officers are trained to look for red flags and other indicators of prior history of child and/or sexual abuse, history of truancy, runaway, and inappropriate adult relationships.
The goals of youthSpark Voices are:
- Reduce/eliminate at-risk behaviors:
- Reduce recidivism and/or involvement in the court (increased stability)
- Decrease number of times they run away and/or reach out to appropriate adults before running away
- Increase school attendance and/or significantly reduce truancy levels
- Increase in skills and knowledge:
- Express interest in improving at-risk behavior avoidance skills
- Demonstrate increased knowledge and improved skills on the dangers of child sex trafficking and how to protect selves
- Learn important communication, conflict resolution, leadership and decision-making skills
The essential components of youthSpark Voices include:
- Phase 1
- Provides trauma-informed assessments and clinical case management within a system of care approach which includes:
- Completing a trauma-informed assessment to determine the extent of each girl’s needs, strengths and resources
- Providing high level case management and court advocacy which includes weekly telephone contact with each girl and her parent/guardian, community supports and court personnel
- Providing educational advocacy, along with the support of an educational advocate, as needed
- Assessing the family's needs in an effort to link the family with appropriate community support programs
- Phase 2
- Provides weekly clinically based psychoeducational 2-hour group sessions which includes:
- Providing a full meal and access to transportation services
- Engaging in activities that focus on awareness and prevention of trafficking, learning effective coping strategies, communication and decision-making skills, life skills and leadership skills
- Increasing the girl's ability to function independently, avoid vulnerabilities leading to child sex trafficking, and build cohesive relationships with positive adult role models through group activities
- Providing coordination of individual mental health services by the Care Clinician, a psychologist with trauma-informed care experience, for girls who have experienced child abuse or neglect, and when a girl has disclosed sexual exploitation
- Phase 3
- Provides the youthSpark Special Recognition Ceremony after a year of services have been received and the youthSpark Voices Alumnae Leadership Institute which includes:
- Working with staff and their alumnae peers to build higher learning exploration/college-readiness skills, life skills, workforce experience and continued leadership skills
- Providing assistance that will help propel Voices graduates into the world as successful young adults and give them the tools they need for job-readiness, cultivating hidden talents and engaging in community service
- Data Collection and Evaluation
- Collects data to measure the success and effectiveness of the program from a variety of sources, as well as basic demographic information and services provided for each new and existing girl in the program which includes:
- Monitoring whether the girl is running away and/or making connections with youthSpark staff and/or an appropriate adult prior to running away
- Monitoring school attendance/truancy rates
- Maintaining a database which includes
- Preassessments and postassessments with each participant
- Weekly probation reports
- Weekly communication outcomes with parents
- Attendance reports
- Samples of participants’ work
- Self-assessments and observation reports (all contained within the case management reports)
- Asking each girl to complete an individual action plan in phase one of the program and collecting outcome performance measures are periodically after they have been in the program for a period of time
- Examines program outcomes on a quarterly basis and develops strategies using a green light/yellow light system in the reporting to visually demonstrate whether the program is on target for a particular outcome or if the program is falling short and where the program can improve. These targets are monitored over the course of the year so that the entire year’s measurements can be seen in one document
youthSpark Voices directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:
- At-risk youth who are deemed high risk for child sex trafficking or are unable to self-identify as a victim of trafficking
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:
This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Parents can participate in quarterly MASE (Mothers Against Sexual Exploitation) groups lead by a youthSpark Clinician to learn more ways they can help their child stay safe and also request specific support. The program also communicates regularly with the client’s family; probation officer; social worker; and any other support systems to ensure that the client is receiving all the services she needs. Staff also attends any court hearings the program’s clients may have and advocate on behalf of the individual progress. In addition, the program has a partnership with the Mental Health Department in an effort to closely maintain supplemental counseling that may be needed.
The after-school group meets each week for two hours; the Alumnae Leadership Program meets bimonthly and at other specifically identified times. In addition, the Program staff and Care Clinician communicate with the client via phone several times a week and individual services are offered on an as-needed basis.
The recommended duration depends on the client’s specific needs. She may also have specific requirements according to the terms of her probation, if relevant. Typically, it is recommended that the client participate in the weekly group sessions for one year. The program’s motto is, “Once a Voices girl, always a Voices girls” and the girls who have graduated from the program are encouraged to participate in the Alumnae portion for as long as they would like. Even if they do not participate in the Alumnae portion, the program maintains contact with them and encourages them to stay in touch and let us know if there is ever anything the program can do to support them.
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Community Agency
This program does not include a homework component.
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
In order to run the program, a center will need a group room (or a similar space) that is comfortable and offers an inviting atmosphere for youth to speak and share freely; an area to serve prepare food; and technology equipment to show videos. In addition to the staff needed to facilitate weekly group session, it is helpful to have an intern to assist with the weekly group sessions to share valuable student/higher education learning insight.
Education and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
It is recommended to have a licensed clinician, preferably with experience in trauma-informed practices, inform the program. Other helpful staff would include survivors of trafficking, child abuse, or neglect and a facilitator with vast knowledge in the commercial sexual exploitation of children and case management..
Education and Training Resources
There is not a manual that describes how to implement this program ; but there is training available for this program.
- Jennifer Swain
phone: (404) 613-4555
Training is obtained:
Onsite or via phone/email, fee-based training and technical assistance model available
Number of days/hours:
Depends on the organization’s needs
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for youthSpark Voices.
No reference materials are currently available for youthSpark Voices.
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: January 2015
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: July 2015
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2013