WestCoast has presented our research on sexually exploited minors at the National Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Conference in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In 2011, Dr. April Fernando, WestCoast’s Chief of Clinical Operations, Research, and Training, won the Program Outcome Champion award for innovation in design and implementation of a CANS tool in our clinic.
In July 2013, WestCoast’s Executive Director, Stacey Katz, was selected to serve on the California Child Welfare Council’s CSEC Action Team. The CSEC Action Team was convened in response to the recommendations in the Council’s report Ending the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: A Call for Multi-System Collaboration in California. Dr. Katz will provide the mental health perspective on the problem of child sex trafficking, and is co-chair of the Identification and Prevalence sub-committee.
In 2012, WestCoast successfully led an advocacy effort to protect access to children’s mental health services during the California state budget process. For our leadership, the California Alliance of Child and Family Services awarded WestCoast the Grassroots Advocacy Award.
During the 2011-12 California legislative cycle, WestCoast supported a number of bills that will improve the lives of sexually exploited minors. Governor Brown signed into law the country’s first Tattoo Removal Program for victims of human trafficking, and expungement of prostitution records for minors who are trafficking victims.
In July 2012, WestCoast released a research report with our findings from a two-year collaborative research project focused on the needs and strengths of Sexually Exploited Minors. The report includes mental health practice implications and policy recommendations. Download Research to Action: Sexually Exploited Minors Needs and Strengths to read more about what we found.