#GSWDS2020

Healing Through Housing – Trauma Informed Transitional Housing for Youth Survivors of Sex Trafficking (Orangewood Foundation)

Healing Through Housing – Trauma Informed Transitional Housing for Youth Survivors of Sex Trafficking (Orangewood Foundation)

Description

In 2016 Orangewood Foundation launched The Lighthouse, a two year transitional housing program for youth survivors of sex trafficking, aged 18-22 years in Orange County, California.  

This presentation provides an overview of the process The Lighthouse took to evolve our original framework of power and control, tough love and structured programmatic expectations, into an empowering, therapeutic, survivor and trauma informed home.  

Although we never set out to cause harm to the youth, our structured daily curriculum, expected compliance of strict program requirements, few personal choices and an environment that punished youth for their behavior, did just that.  We were inadvertently re-traumatizing our youth by replicating the dynamics of power and control they had experienced while being trafficked.

With input and buy-in from both the youth and staff, we commenced the process of becoming trauma informed.  Staff development focused on learning and applying trauma informed, harm reduction and survivor centered practices, actively resisting re-traumatization, building compassionate relationships and understanding their role as a partner, not an enforcer.  Youth were empowered to assist in rewriting the program guidelines, setting new curfew times, facilitating house meetings and participating on the interview panel for new staff.  

With the implementation of trauma informed practices, promotion of healing and recovery, shift in power dynamics and ownership of the program by the youth, The Lighthouse has since transformed into a therapeutic home environment, built on mutual respect, trust and safety for both youth and staff.  

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will increase their awareness of their own professional or organizational practices that are potentially re-traumatizing and gain an understanding of the importance of providing trauma informed care to youth survivors of sex trafficking.

  • Participants will learn unique trauma informed practices and techniques for meeting the individual needs of youth survivors of sex trafficking.

  • Participants will learn how to integrate inclusive, non-stigmatizing, non-judgmental language and information about youth survivors of sex trafficking into service/treatment planning.