Youth victims of sex trafficking involved in the juvenile justice system

The Creating Advocacy, Recovery & Empowerment (CARE) Court Program, run by the 315th District Court in Harris County, aims to address the unique needs of justice-involved youth who have been exploited in commercial sex trafficking. In addition to involvement in sex trafficking, most youth have a number of challenges including a history of abuse and trauma, mental health and substance abuse issues, educational and vocational needs, medical needs and significant family dysfunction.

In collaboration with the Research and Data team at the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD), TPL is conducting a descriptive analysis to aid the Court as it seeks to expand its services. The results from this analysis will allow the CARE Court team to reach more justice-involved youth who are at risk of sexual trafficking, offering earlier services, and supporting them to change the trajectory of their lives.

This project is part of our long-term partnership with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD), in which we aim to quantitatively characterize the multiple decisions that affect the youth in the system, rigorously evaluate programs and services, and identify racial disparities throughout the system. Our research will directly inform HCJPD leadership, as well as other stakeholders, such as the Harris County Juvenile Board, as they implement policies, changes, and programs to achieve their vision for youth justice in Harris County.

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