Implementing a coordinated care model for sex trafficked minors in smaller cities

Mary Burke, Heather L. Mccauley, Anne Rackow, Bradley Orsini, Bridget Simunovic, Elizabeth Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Background Addressing the social and clinical service needs of minors who have been sexually exploited remains a challenge across the United States. While larger metropolitan centers have established shelters and service provision specific for trafficked persons, in smaller cities and more rural settings, survivors of trafficking (especially minors) are usually served by multiple, disparate social service and health providers working across different systems. Sexually exploited minors present an even greater challenge due to intersections with child welfare and juvenile justice systems, histories of abuse by family that limit placement options, and limited services that address the complex medical, mental health, and psychosocial needs of these youth. Major health organizations have recommended a coordinated care model that integrates the therapeutic and social service needs of trafficked persons including housing and education; implementation of such service provision requires intensive, multi-sectoral collaboration. Methods We present two case studies from an anti-trafficking coalition established in a smaller urban area. Findings/Conclusions Multi-sector collaboration requires the development of policies and protocols for addressing the diverse needs (acute and ongoing) of trafficked minors who are often "dual jurisdiction," involved in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Principles of care including autonomy, empowerment, protection, and safety may be at odds as systems may approach these youth differently. A clearly identified care coordinator can help navigate across these systems and facilitate communication among service providers while protecting client privacy, confidentiality, and autonomy. Assessing the quality of services provided and accountability among service providers remain significant challenges, especially in resource limited settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationJournal of Applied Research on Children
PublisherTexas Medical Center Library
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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