U.S. Survivor Care | Love146
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About U.S. Survivor Care

After much research, regional assessment, and survivor input, we believe one of the best contributions we can make is to journey with youth as they leave exploitative situations. Many services exist, but few survivors have a trauma-informed advocate equipped to navigate these systems. By journeying with youth as they receive services such as legal assistance and therapy, as well as helping them with safety planning and crisis intervention, we can help ensure they’re receiving the best possible care. True freedom for a survivor looks many ways, but it should always involve reintegration into a healthy local community. We never want to foster dependency, so as youth grow and become independent, flourishing young adults, our support steps back slowly. However, we’ll always be there and we don’t close a case. This program doesn’t depend upon a safe home. The most pressing need we found was long-term specialized care that can partner with families or existing residential solutions. Presently, we are providing this long term care for survivors in Connecticut.

Our U.S. Survivor Care work also has a Rapid Response program.  When we get a call about a youth who has been identified as trafficked, exploited, or at high risk, we meet with them to provide an urgent response to the dangers they could be facing. We have a conversation with them: we talk about the grooming process traffickers use, internet safety, healthy relationships, and solutions to potentially unsafe situations. To support that conversation, we leave the youth with a backpack filled with a range of items children and service providers have identified as being critical for this population: a blanket, a journal, a rain poncho, a teddy bear, toiletries, hotline numbers, an emergency phone, and much more. Some of these youth end up in Love146’s long-term care, but for those who don’t, Rapid Responses help ensure they have information and resources to help protect them. Rapid Responses are presently occurring with youth in Connecticut and the greater Houston area.

This project is supported with monies awarded by the Connecticut Judicial Branch and funds under Grant Award No. awarded to the Judicial Branch by the U.S. 2015 Dept. VOCA of Justice Assistance Program Grant Office. Points 2015-VA-GX-0016 of view or opinions contained within this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the Connecticut Judicial Branch or the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

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Updates from U.S. Survivor Care

  • Flying High At Wilderness School

    What happens when you bring a group of eight wary young survivors in our long-term services to a Wilderness School for a day of trust-building outdoor activities? They soar.

  • The Trafficker of One of the Youth in our U.S. Survivor Care Sent To Jail

    What does justice look like for the youth in our care? For one youth in our survivor care program, justice includes having the person who trafficked and abused her convicted, sentenced, and publicly admonished by a judge.

  • Children Who’ve Had To Live As Adults

    Many say they can’t relate to others their age; they date older men, and explain to me that since they’re more mature they need to be with more mature men. They see other children their age as “kids,” whereas they themselves are “adults.”

    I’m in this sticky position where I need to acknowledge the fact that they have been through more than any child should have to go through, and yet encourage them to be a child. To put down that burden of “adulthood,” and to experience childhood. They deserve to be children.

  • The Art of Not Asking Questions

    At Love146, we cultivate a long-lasting relationship that models healthy boundaries and allows the youth to “dig” when they feel safe, trusted, and valued. Youth then allow us to bear witness to their stories in their own time, in their own way. They are in control, which is one of the most important things we can restore to their lives.

  • “I used to think I was invisible. But you see me.”

    Our Rapid Responses help youth understand how a perpetrator uses manipulation, tricks, and force to take advantage of them. We talk about how easy it is to be taken advantage of. How everyone has things they need, things they struggle with, and how someone could use these things to build trust for the sole purpose of exploitation. This may be the first time that he or she is told: “It is not OK that someone treated you this way.” It may be the first time they hear: “It is not your fault.” Or that: “You are valuable and important.”

  • Brianna’s Story

    “I’ve heard of pimps and I knew to be scared of them – but I didn’t realize that the person I thought was protecting me was actually my pimp.”

    — Brianna, one of more than 200 youth who have been served by our U.S. Survivor Care program

  • I look around to see if people notice…

    I open my email and begin reading the details about another youth coming into our care. I’m infuriated that another kid has experienced this. Infuriated that another adult thought it was okay to use a child as a sex object. Infuriated that all the adults who should have protected this child, have failed her so horrifically.

  • The Value of Listening

    When listening becomes one of your true, living values it can be a powerful tool for social change.

  • The power of a stable relationship

    What makes my work with Love146 so special is that no matter how many times a young person is uprooted or shuffled around from place to place, I can promise them that I’ll stick around. Our relationship to them won’t be uprooted and wiped away.

  • Jade

    Suddenly, all of her usual sarcasm and joking disappeared. Jade began to share that the hurtful things that she’d heard from the people raising her. She just wanted to feel at home somewhere, but they made her feel like she was “more than they could handle.” That moment was so heavy — she just sat there, brave and silent, with these feelings of rejection, waiting to see how I would respond.

  • My real-life heroes

    We had people over for the Super Bowl last weekend. We had a Patriots themed party for goodness sakes, with Patriots plates and napkins and cups and banners. But really? I had this persistently surreal moment and all I could keep thinking is: It’s a game. It’s not real life.

  • When someone you’re trying to help spits at you… literally

    I met with a high-risk youth so we could talk and do some safety planning. She made clear that she wasn’t going to cooperate, that there was nothing I could say that would matter to her. That is, until I mentioned sexual assault, how it was never the fault of the person who got hurt. Then, something happened that surprised both of us.

We’d love to keep you in the loop with periodic updates

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(stuff that makes you smile and never clogs your inbox)