My name is Kayla and I’m the Director of Case Management at the Youth Center of Texas. I supervise the case managers and the caseworkers who are directly working with the survivors. I also coordinate with the partner agencies to make sure that we are all communicating with each other and that we’re all on the same page as far as the survivors. We’re all certified to conduct the Commercial Sexual Exploitation Identification Tool. What that looks like is that we receive training in becoming trauma-informed, and nonjudgmental. We then incorporate it into our case management model.

On top of the services that we provide on-site, like legal advocacy, the Nurturing Parenting Program, and our 24-hour case management, we also really focus on engagement. So, a big part of our model is making sure we’re building those relationships, taking the principles that we’ve learned from Trust-Based Relational Intervention to make sure that we’re building that trust. We want to make sure that we’re on that level and that we’re working at their pace.

We then look at their stages of change. We look at where they’re at and make that part of our service plans to make it collaborative. For example, if they’re in an “action” stage of change, we’ll make sure that we get them on employment, and set up with housing because they’re ready for it. However, if they’re in “contemplation” we really focus on small service plan tasks such as helping them replace their documents and making sure they’re engaging in stabilization and counseling services.

One common barrier that we see is transportation. We have a lot of different options like staff transportation, bus passes, as well as Uber, and Lyft transportation services that we utilize a lot with our survivors. Another barrier we often see is housing and unfortunately, with the pandemic, housing has been very limited as far as how many beds are available, and what programs still have funding. We’re hoping that as things start opening up that we can provide more help because there will be additional resources within the community. We always do our best in assisting them with coordinated entry as soon as they get to our program. That’s the great thing about our program, there are no time limits. If they’re working with us and on other tasks like their service plans, we’re in no rush.

To learn more about The Youth Center of Texas, click here.

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