In 2007, the International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA), under the leadership of Katherine Kaufka Walts the then Executive Director, developed and launched the Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking project. The purpose of this project is to build the capacity of child welfare agencies and service providers to identify and respond to this often invisible and underserved population. The primary goals are to ensure that children are correctly identified as trafficked persons and that they receive the appropriate protections and referrals to specialized services to which they are entitled under federal and state laws. This project, supported by funding from the Chicago Community Trust, takes place over a two year period ending in mid-2011. IOFA identified the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS) in Illinois as the first implementing partner for the project. IDCFS is one of the largest state government child welfare agencies in United States; it addresses the needs of thousands of children and youth every day. IOFA and IDCFS worked together to develop innovative and sustainable training and advocacy efforts on child trafficking for the child protection units within the agency. The project was designed to increase identification of cases, ensure that child trafficking victims receive full access to the legal and human rights afforded to them under the law, and ultimately to prevent further child trafficking. The project team focused on enabling child protection staff to identify and access key protections and services for victims, including special visas for undocumented victims, public benefits, job training programs, foster care, assistance in the criminal justice system, and mandatory restitution offered under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000) and applicable state laws. The Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking project in Illinois is a comprehensive effort, and IOFA and IDCFS continue to collaborate on additional activities in the second year of the project.
Kaufka Walts, Katherine JD; French, Shelby MSW, MSc; Moore, Heather MSW; and Ashai, Sehla JD, "Building a Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking Handbook (2011)" (2011). Center for the Human Rights of Children. 3.
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