We must do better to help DC’s vulnerable teens

 In Blog, News Archive

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amara Legal Center is proud to stand alongside D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser today, along with the rest of the Mayor’s Working Group on Missing Children, as it makes its recommendations to address the critical issue of providing assistance to missing, homeless and runaway youth in the District of Columbia. In addition to the recommendations made by the Mayor’s Working Group, Amara has also proposed other services it believes will benefit vulnerable youth.

The Mayor’s Working Group on Missing Children convened weekly from March through May, following the public’s concern over the number of minority teens reported missing at the beginning of 2017. Although the group raised various concerns, virtually all members agreed that the creation of a 24-7 youth drop-in center would help to alleviate the suffering of homeless and runaway youth.

Amara has proposed, in addition to the mayor’s recommendations, to provide two other services. First, Amara proposes to provide brief legal advice to youth in the drop-in centers.

“Many youth are afraid to report a crime, which leaves them with nowhere to turn when they are the victims of a crime,” said Stacie Reimer, Amara Legal Center executive director. “Attorneys trained in trauma-informed care can provide direct intervention to young people in crisis and give them a greater chance of stability and success.”

Second, Amara proposes to train juvenile public defenders on how to identify victims of human trafficking, especially young victims of sex trafficking. Although most trainings on human trafficking are designed for law enforcement, judges and prosecutors, it is actually public defenders who are likely to spend the most time speaking with a juvenile involved in the court system. Therefore, public defenders are uniquely poised to identify sex trafficking and provide information to help them find services.

“Although the road ahead of us is long, we are grateful to the mayor for her leadership on this issue and we are hopeful for additional funding appropriations for the services that these young people in our community need,” Reimer said. “Amara will continue to fight tirelessly for the rights of our clients in conjunction with our community and government partners.”

For more information, please contact Stacie Reimer, Executive Director of the Amara Legal Center, at stacie.reimer@amaralegal.org.

For the full press release, click HERE

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