To a SRO crowd Dallas CASA launched a new training curriculum on Thursday, January 30, at its headquarters. Well known for its advocacy of children who have been removed from unsafe homes, this new program targets children in foster care who have been trafficked or are at high risk of being sexually exploited.
Developed through a partnership between LA-based Saving Innocence and Dallas CASA, the program “will mobilize volunteers to recognize signs of trafficking victims as well as perpetrators. Advocates will learn about safety planning, trauma, recruitment, victim manipulation and many other challenging issues, allowing them to better support and protect high risk and trafficked youth.”
According to Dallas CASA Program Director Chad Frymire, “Foster youth are often looking for anyone to love them, so when an adult shows what looks like love the youth is easily manipulated. Often without them realizing what’s happening, the victim is trafficked. We want every youth to know they are seen and valued and have worth. With better prepared and educated volunteers, we can fight the scourge of human trafficking.
“These traffickers are cunning and they look for the most vulnerable, which is all too often kids in foster care. They go to shelters and residential treatment centers. They brainwash these kids to feel like the trafficker loves them, but the trafficker is making money off them. It’s sick and disgusting, and we want our community to come together and fight this horrendous crime.”
The timing of the Dallas CASA kickoff was made to coincide with Texas CASA’s launch on Saturday, February 1, of a statewide online training program using 46 online videos in addition to companion guides for live training sessions.
As an incentive for volunteers to sign up for this specialized training, Dallas CASA worked with co-directors/co-producers Tiffany Kieran and Quan Tran to produce “I Stopped Counting,” a survivor’s powerful testimony about the impact a CASA volunteer made in her life. This video gets the message across why such a program is needed.
On hand for the rollout were representatives from Gov. Gregg Abbott’s office, the Texas Legislature, the Dallas Commissioners Court, the District Attorney’s office, Texas CASA, the Fraternal Order Of Eagles and EarthX.
* Photo/video provided by Dallas CASA