RESOLVE: New JCCA Program for Young Survivors of Sexual Exploitation
by Paul Torres, Senior Vice President, JCCA Foster Home and Coordinated Community Services
Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA)1 is one of the oldest and largest child and family caring agencies in the Nation, providing non-sectarian services to over 16,000 children and family members each year throughout the greater New York City region.
In 2013, JCCA opened RESOLVE,2 which is a 24-bed community-based program that helps young women and men, who were victims of commercial sexual exploitation and are not able to return to their families. RESOLVE is a specialized foster care program for these sexually exploited victims, serving all five boroughs of New York City.
The program helps youth recognize their trauma, heal, rebuild their self-esteem, and reconnect to healthy, positive peer and adult influences. It seeks to reintegrate youth into the community with a multidisciplinary professional team of masters-level social workers, bachelors-level recreational therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, registered nurses, psychiatric nurse practitioners, administrators and intensely trained foster parents.
RESOLVE is built on the tenets of Gateways, a JCCA residential treatment center for sexually exploited girls ages 12-16. The highly structured Gateways program supports young women on their journey from victim to survivor. Most of Gateways’ youth who “graduate” from the program have a positive reconciliation with their families and are able to return to their home, school and community.
RESOLVE recruits foster parents who receive strong support and assistance form staff members. JCCA is seeking such special foster parents who, with the support of trained CCA’s staff and specialists, can give commercially sexually exploited youth the help and guidance they need to return to their families and/or build healthy, independent lives. In many cases, foster parents build lasting relationships with birth parents and continue to support the family after reunification.
Jessica is one of the young women we have helped. Jessica, who became involved in commercial sexual trafficking at age 14, successfully graduated from Gateways and now resides in a beautifully restored home on a tree-lined street in one of New York’s outer boroughs with an attentive, invested and loving foster parent. She attends a nearby school, works at a local business, and is actively engaged in her new community. JCCA’s comprehensive, integrative services equip Jessica with the educational, vocational and therapeutic resources and interventions to help her accomplish her goals.
Please contact Kiersten Daniel, Program Director at 718-742-8548, Nereida Colon, Recruiter/Trainer at 718-742-8776, or Alison Haar, Specialized Clinical Recruiter at 718-758-7880 ext. 7900, to learn more about this specialized family foster care program for commercially sexually exploited youth or the other foster care programs at JCCA.
Paul Torres, LCSW, Jewish Child Care Association, Senior Vice President, Foster Home and Coordinated Community Services, is responsible for the Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) Foster Home Services Division, which provides a safe environment for children while families are supported through crises, and JCCA’s Division of Coordinated Community Services, which provides wrap-around services for children and their families in homes and community-based settings. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mr. Torres graduated from Hamilton College with a BA (economics) and Columbia University with an MSW. Mr. Torres began his career at JCCA in 1993, starting as a Social Worker with Pleasantville Cottage School. He became Vice President of JCCA’s Foster Home Services Division in 2008, and Senior Vice President of JCCA’s Foster Home and Coordinated Community Services in 2013. Mr. Torres currently serves as co-chair of the COFCCA Foster Boarding Home Committee.
RESOLVE: Specialized Family Foster Care: Commercially Sexually Exploited Children, available at http://www.jccany.org/site/PageServer?pagename=programs_foster_resolve. ↩