A Letter from the Dressember Team on Foster Care Awareness Month
May, oh May.
I don’t know about you, but May is always a whirlwind month. It’s a grand flurry of graduation parties, Mother’s Day, and spring cleaning. But for the Dressember team this year, May has brought us to a pause and taken on a new meaning; and it has to do with something we typically don’t think about in connection with human trafficking; Foster Care.
In late 2017, we started to learn about this undeniable connection between trafficking and children in the foster care system. We were shocked to find out that in a 2013 FBI nationwide raid, that 60% of child sex trafficking victims recovered were children from foster care or group homes. And this wasn’t just a singular trend. A year prior, 86 of the 88 child victims of sex trafficking reported in Connecticut were from foster care or residential placement.
We started to realize that if we really wanted to fund programs that were tackling human trafficking from every angle, we could not forget about this vulnerable population of children and young adults that were the most at-risk in our communities.
Forming new pathways through partnership
We linked arms with Olive Crest, a phenomenal non-profit organization dedicated to helping abused and neglected children. Their vision is to end the cycle of abuse through means such as fostering, fostering to adopt, pairing safe families with children in crisis, and providing training and education to those aging out of the foster system.
This year, we are supporting their Operation Independence program, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) prevention and awareness training, housing and independent life skills classes. In short, the purpose of our grant is to support kids transitioning out of the foster care system so that they don’t become another statistic, and have the tools to stay out of human trafficking situations.
And the team at Olive Crest are outworking this grant with excellence. Since the conception of the grant in February, they have seen:
We all have a part to play
We sat down with staff at Olive Crest at the beginning of this month and I admitted something to them:
“I don’t know how to help a child in foster care because I can’t be a foster parent right now.”
And their team, very graciously, let me know that we all have a part to play in supporting children in the foster care community whether or not we can become a foster family or not. Support exists on a spectrum, so no matter your resources or your capacity, you can get involved.
If you’re interested in digging deeper and learning more about this topic, I invite you to read our past blog posts on it, and then test your knowledge with our Instagram quiz. We recommend accessing the Instagram quiz on your phone for best results.
Thank you for being a community that continues to show up and advocate for the dignity of all people. It is our collective impact that motivates us to continue providing the tools and resources to meaningfully engage in the fight to end trafficking.
Dressember Communications Manager