FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2013
TODAY (SEPTEMBER 18, 2013) – Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced legislation to combat domestic youth sex trafficking.
One of the ways this legislation combats domestic sex trafficking is to improve housing support for trafficked and other vulnerable youth. This bill significantly increases Chafee funding for youth aging out or exiting the foster care system by $440 million in mandatory spending on top of the existing $140 million. This bill also widens Chafee eligibility so that children as young as 16 and up to the age of 26 years old can recieve Chafee funded housing and services. Of particular importance is that under this legislation states would be required to disburse Chafee funds giving priority to existing programs with demonstrated success in serving transition aged at-risk youth, and in particular Transitional Living Program Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) grantees.
Despite widespread collaboration among Network members, thousands of young people are ignored entirely or simply slip through the gaps between public systems of care designed to keep them safe. As a result, these young people end up directly in the path of predators. It is only in full partnership with public systems of care, particularly child welfare, that the domestic trafficking of children and youth can be prevented. The significant increase in funding for housing options and youth who are eligible, as included in this bill is a necessary part of ending domestic trafficking.
The National Network for Youth applauds Senator Hatch’s leadership on this issue and looks forward to continuing to work together to expand access to evidence-based programs, normal childhood experiences, and opportunities to empower young people through housing and self-sufficiency services in an effort to end human trafficking of America’s children. Our letter of support for this legislation is below.
CONTACT: Darla Bardine (National Network for Youth) 202-783-7949