23 Apr Henry County Campus Holds an Open House for the TRU Harbor Program
On Friday, April 20th, the Youth Opportunity Center held an open house and public announcement for our new residential youth program that will provide comprehensive treatment and evidenced-based therapeutic services to commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) and sex trafficking survivors in Indiana.
Joining TRU Harbor staff members and YOC executive leaders and board members were more than one hundred individuals including, donors, community members, as well as special guests; Henry County Commissioner, Bruce “Butch” Baker, Henry County Council President, Nate LaMar, and Delaware County Juvenile Court Judge, Kimberly Dowling. Also, in attendance was Indiana Department of Child Services Director, Terry Stigdon, and several members of her staff.
The TRU Harbor program, operated by the YOC based in Muncie, is a one-of-its-kind residential treatment facility that will serve up to 16 adolescent female survivors aged 11 to 18 from all over the state of Indiana. TRU Harbor will be offered at YOC’s Henry County Campus (former Henry County Youth Center) in New Castle, Indiana. The facility has been repurposed to help young women who have survived commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
“Our mission is to provide safety and security for survivors to rebuild their lives and establish a sense of empowerment over their journey,” said TRU Harbor Program Director and Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Katrina Mallory. Besides being the TRU Harbor director, Mallory is also a member of the Indiana State Human Trafficking Task Force and the Delaware County Human Trafficking Task Force.
According to an Indiana State Report on Human Trafficking, 178 trafficked youth were identified and provided services in 2016. Of those youth, nearly all were girls. Since 2014, the YOC has served approximately 50 of those girls. Mallory said space and bed availability has been a significant limiting factor in providing adequate treatment services. “TRU Harbor will meet the recognized need in the state and a help close the gap in available services,” she added.
Delaware County Juvenile Court Judge Kim Dowling shared that the vision for a facility like TRU Harbor was more than four years in the making. “It’s taken a long time, but this is so beautiful it’s such a great place. We know kids are going to be here who need to be here, kids that have been traumatized and hurt. And we can try and restore them. That’s the goal, that’s the dream,” Dowling shared.
YOC CEO, Rick Rowray, also addressed the crowd of nearly two hundred in attendance. “Today is very hopeful. The partnerships that are here, the collaborations, the commitment. We all work together in a variety of ways and the people in this room have been so supportive. From the state of Indiana Department of Child Services, probation officers, family case managers, our board, and private businesses that have supported us. You know, when we work together, we can make a difference in the lives of people who are vulnerable. That is ultimately what this is about.”
The YOC’s TRU Harbor program provides comprehensive treatment and services to commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) and sex trafficking survivors. Commercial sexual exploitation is defined as the exchange of sex or sexually explicit acts (including pornography) for anything of value (i.e. food, shelter, clothes, etc.). These youth have specific and unique treatment and safety needs due to the complexity of their trauma. TRU Harbor will offer a safe environment with frequent, intense, and effective therapeutic services that are evidenced-based and culturally appropriate.