In 2014, the Justice Resource Institute, in partnership with the Department of Children and Families and the Support to End Exploitation Now (SEEN) program of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County, was awarded a 5-year grant from the Administration for Children Youth and Families to increase the capacity of the child welfare system to respond to child trafficking. The overall goal of the Massachusetts Child Welfare Trafficking Grant (CWTG) is, through infrastructure development, data gathering, awareness-raising and cross-system collaboration and outreach, to develop within the state’s child welfare system sustainable methods for preventing minor trafficking, identifying trafficking victims and connecting them to support and services.
The leadership team, in partnership with a statewide advisory board, has begun to achieve significant project goals including:
- Fostering strategic coordination and institutionalized collaboration among agencies throughout the Commonwealth impacting the response to child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation
- Developing infrastructure through regional child trafficking multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) in each county (to date teams have been launched in Suffolk, Bristol, Hampden, the counties of the Cape and the Islands, Middlesex, Essex, and Worcester counties
- Strengthening the capacity of DCF and its nonprofit and government partners to effectively address minor trafficking through local training and technical assistance
- The integration of child trafficking into key DCF policies including Intake and Investigation, Assessment, and the Children Missing From Care (Runaway Initiative)
The research team includes Amy Farrell, Daniel Dombak, Elizabeth Bouchard, Ikeke de Vries, Kelly Goggin, Susan Goldfarb, Lisa Goldblatt Grace, Lori Ann Bertram.