Fall 2016 Focus Area Posts

November 25, 2016

Take a break from shopping for a little #FocusAreaFriday!

You may have heard of AB 403, often referred to as the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR). Here’s why it’s important and has a BIG impact on#fosteryouth in #California. AB 403 requires, among other things, “on and after January 1, 2017, all licensed foster family agencies to approve resource families, in lieu of certifying foster homes, in accordance with specified standards and requirements set forth in the bill.” In layman’s terms, starting next year, the state of California is doing away with the group foster home model. All group homes will become short term, therapeutic model facilities, meaning that youth can’t stay there for more than a 6 month period of time. This leaves a GIGANTIC gap between foster youth, runaways, homeless and CSEC survivors needing shelter or a home and the availability of loving, healthy, stable foster families, now called resource families to provide that home. Combined with the lack of affordable housing in Santa Barbara County and the high number of foster youth in the area, our community is in crisis. Two of Santa Barbara County’s greatest needs remain resource families and shelter.

November 18, 2016

In case you haven’t heard, JLSB is going to be working on a signature project! Today’s #FocusAreaFriday is to help you understand the process for vetting and voting in our signature project. There are 3 proposed projects that are being researched.
The Focus Area committee has been working hard to get as much membership feedback on their 3 proposed projects prior to them being presented to the Board for a vote.

Send any questions to Focus.Area@jlsantabarbarba.org.
#WeAreJLSB #JLSB #JuniorLeague #ItStartsWithYou

November 11, 2016

This #FocusAreaFriday: What is CSEC and how often is it occurring in Santa Barbara?
CSEC stands for Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, and commonly refers to youth who have been victims of sex trafficking. We know that Santa Barbara is a “hub” for sex trafficking, but until recently didn’t have any statistics on the subject. After a needs assessment completed by the District Attorney’s office, we know at the time it was investigated, at least 73 youth were identified as high risk for being CSEC victims in Santa Barbara County. 67 were females and 6 were males. 42 were confirmed victims. Almost all were juvenile justice involved. We now know that number has increased significantly to over 80 youth. (source: District Attorney’s office, SBC; RISE)

November 4, 2016

In this edition of #FocusAreaFriday: Why is Santa Barbara known as a “hub” for sex trafficking?

Here are the main contributing factors:
1. Prevalence and number of hotels
2. Affluent community
3. College town
4. High number of foster youth and runaways
5. Lack of housing – both affordable and for fosters/runaways
6. “Corridor Town” – Location along trafficking route up the state of California
7. Limitations of law enforcement protocols
8. Lack of community awareness
9. Demand for escort services

There is a demand for “escort” services in Santa Barbara County that contributes to domestic child sex trafficking. In a two-week period, a total of 675 advertisements for “escort” services were placed in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria on Backpage dot com. Given the known connection between advertisement on Backpage and DCST (domestic child sex trafficking), information from the two-week Backpage study suggests an average of eight children per day may be sexually trafficked in Santa Barbara County via Backpage alone. (Source: Needs Assessment of Domestic Child Sex Trafficking in Santa Barbara County 2015).

Did you know our county has an anti-trafficking task force?! In fact, JLSB is proud to be a PART of that task force! Watch this quick video for a bit more info!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSlmz0hjFwY#action=share

October 28, 2016

For this week’s #FocusAreaFriday, we are looking into the vulnerability of#fosteryouth in our community. Did you know there are 390 children in#SantaBarbaraCounty (SBC) currently in Foster Care?

267 of those children are in approved homes, though some of those homes are just temporary shelter. 39 of our children are in kinship homes, meaning they are living with extended family or close family friends. 31 are in group homes and 53 are in independent living w/ support (this is transitional care for ages 18-21).

SBC has identified 19 potential #fosterparents since the inception of the “Our County Our Kids” initiative in 2016. This is up from only 2 identified potential foster families last year. (source: SBC Dept. of Social Services, 2016)

Foster children are targeted by #traffickers because of their need for love, affirmation, and protection. In 2012, studies estimate that between 50 and 80 percent of commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) in California are or were formally involved in the Child Welfare system; in Los Angeles County’s STARS Court, 58 of 72 girls sexually trafficked in 2012 (81%) were foster care kids (source: SBC DCST Needs Assessment, 2015).

According to the Human Rights Project for Girls, in 2013, 60 percent of the child sex-trafficking victims recovered as part of a FBI nationwide raid from over 70 cities were children from foster care or group homes. This statistic reveals an unsettling fact: Criminals who engage in human trafficking keep watch on foster youth because they know they represent a vulnerable population. #WeAreJLSB #JLSB #JuniorLeague #FocusArea

October 14, 2016

Happy #FocusAreaFriday, everyone! Today we are detailing statistics about why and how #youth living in poverty and those in the juvenile justice system are at-risk and vulnerable to traffickers. A whopping 24.5% of youth in #SantaBarbaraCounty live in #poverty, with the highest concentration living in #Lompoc and #Santa Barbara. 20% of children in the county are living in what’s called food insecure households. The Recession of 2007–2010 resulted in a 52% increase in residents living below the Federal Poverty Thresholds and a 61% increase in child poverty in Santa Barbara County. The need for money and financial security feeds traffickers’ manipulation tactics of potential victims.

In our county, rates for juvenile felony and violent offenses increased overall since 2000 (countyofsb.org – 2010). Research show us that nearly all females in juvenile detention experienced significant trauma in childhood, in particular, related to #sexualabuse.

“As of June 2016, the new screening efforts have revealed that roughly 25 percent of the girls incarcerated in juvenile hall had been victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Since 2014, Lisa Conn of #RISE and her team have identified 49 confirmed #CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) victims involved with the juvenile justice system, and an additional 32 who they suspected were also victims.” (sources:kidsdata.org,http://www.publicceo.com/…/confronting-child-sex-trafficki…/#WeAreJLSB#JLSB #JuniorLeague #FocusArea

October 14, 2016

Throughout October, we’re continuing to bring you cold-hard #FocusAreaFacts on #FocusAreaFriday. This week’s spotlight is on #homelessyouth, a population of at-risk who are extremely vulnerable to traffickers. There are 7,270 identified homeless students in SB County. That’s almost 11% of the total homeless youth population of #California! On a given night in#SantaBarbaraCounty, there are 63 transitional age youth and 5 unaccompanied minors who are homeless and unsheltered. In public schools, the population of homeless kids has risen almost 5% from 2011-2014. Approximately ¼ of foster youth experience homelessness within 4 years of exiting foster care. Additionally, 1.6 million teens run away from home each year, and one in three of these runaways will be recruited by a pimp within 48 hours of leaving home and becoming homeless (age 12 is the average age of solicitation). Take a look at California’s unaccompanied homeless children & youth population compared to other states!#WeAreJLSB #JLSB #JuniorLeague #ItStartsWithYou (Sources: CA Homeless Youth Project, 2014; Kidsdata.orgnoozhawk.com; image courtesy of endhumantrafficking.com)

October 7, 2016

This #FocusAreaFriday, let’s discuss: “WHO is most at-risk of commercial sexual exploitation and WHY?”  The biggest factors that make a girl most vulnerable to being trafficked are: • childhood abuse or neglect • a history of running away  • time in foster care • time in juvenile detention •homelessness.  In speaking with our Community Partners, they ALL reported that #FosterYouth are the most at-risk for being exploited. WHY? They rarely develop meaningful relationships and attachments, making them particularly susceptible to the false promises and attention of traffickers.

Of the 45 confirmed child survivors of sex trafficking identified in the 2015 report, 43 were residents of Santa Barbara County. Two were not residents of the county.

44% of those victims were identified by Mental Health, 42% by law enforcement, and 13% by social services.

44 female, 1 male.

Median age of victims: 14  (source: SBC DA’s needs assessment 2015)

Several circumstances can increase a victim’s susceptibility, such as homelessness, belonging to a foster program, or being a victim of domestic violence. For these individuals who have already had their ties to society frayed, being trafficked can be particularly harmful. Victims targeted from their foster homes, for example, lose contact with their community and have their education and development impeded.


September 30, 2016

Last week’s #FocusAreaFriday survey results are in and our #FocusArea Co-Chairs couldn’t be more thrilled to see that their current planning is right in-line with members’ feelings about this important topic. Stay tuned for more details about how we’ll aim to support at-risk young women to reach their full potential while working to prevent #exploitationand #injustice – including #SexTrafficking – in our community. #WeAreJLSB #JLSB #JuniorLeague

September 23, 2016

This #FocusAreaFriday, we want to hear from YOU! Did you attend this documentary screening last Friday? What were your thoughts, reactions? Any input about how you feel the Junior League of Santa Barbara can combat this difficult issue in our community? #FocusArea #WeAreJLSB#JLSB #JuniorLeague

September 16, 2016

Happy #FocusAreaFriday! Want to know how our new Focus Area came to be? 2 years ago, JLSB’s Focus Area Committee completed an extensive community-wide needs assessment – in partnership with several other local organizations – to identify Santa Barbara County’s most pressing needs. We quickly learned that there is an ever-increasing need to support at-risk young women, specifically foster youth, to reach their full potential. Now, we’re hard at work creating meaningful volunteer opportunities for our members to make improvements in this area for our community.

The full report can be read on our website: https://www.jlsantabarbara.org/…/or…/FocusAreaReport2015.pdf

September 9, 2016

Meet the 2016-2017 JLSB Focus Area Committee! Chair: Kielle Horton, Vice Chair: Raina Palta, Committee Members: Jillian Lipinski, Kirste Timm, and Cori Tatman. The committee is already hard at work compiling research to determine JLSB’s Signature Project, a multi-year, large scale project that will fill one of the biggest needs within the scope of our new focus area. Stay tuned to #FocusAreaFriday for updates!

September 2, 2016

Welcome to #FocusAreaFriday! Visit our page each Friday, when the Focus Area Committee will be sharing information, resources and updates on all things related to our new focus of “Improving the lives of at-risk young women by educating & empowering them to reach their full potential while working to prevent exploitation and injustice in our community.”

We look forward to helping our community more fully understand the issues surrounding this important focus, as well as learn about the many ways JLSB is creating positive change in Santa Barbara. Stay tuned, and see you next Friday!