The Dallas County Juvenile Department
The Dallas County Juvenile Board approved the creation of the Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center on September 27, 2010 and has planned for estimated annual operating expenses of $2.25 million to be paid by the Juvenile Department’s budget. Currently, the Juvenile Department is funding the placement of girls out of Dallas County with a State of Texas grant. When the Girls’ Center is opened, these state funds will fund the Center’s operating expenses. The Juvenile Department anticipates that the cost of operating the Girls’ Center will equal the out of County placement expenses it is currently incurring. Although the Girls’ Center will not save the County money, girls will be provided the local, long-term comprehensive, family inclusive treatment essential to re-integrating them into our community.
The Dallas County Commissioners Court
Because the Dallas County Commissioners Court gives oversight to the work of the Dallas County Juvenile Board, they are an important partner in this new endeavor. The Court developed a “memorandum of understanding” between Letot Center and the Commissioners Court that was approved in January 2011. This action provided full and final confirmation of Dallas County’s commitment to implement the Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center on completion of an appropriate facility.
The Dallas Women’s Foundation
The Dallas Women’s Foundation strengthens the entire community by increasing the investment in women and girls and empowering women’s philanthropy. In 2010, the Women’s Foundation adopted an impact model grounded in an explicit understanding of social change and identified the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) an important issue at the beginning of a social change cycle with enormous consequences for girls in North Texas.
At the national level, the Dallas Women’s Foundation has connected with the Women’s Funding Network and other women’s funds through research, education and advocacy efforts to end commercial sexual exploitation of children in this nation. The Women’s Foundation is quantifying domestic trafficking of girls in Texas as part of a multi-year, multi-state tracking initiative and work in partnership with Children at Risk to promote legislation addressing this issue. On the local level, the Women’s Foundation’s interest in these issues dovetail with the Dallas Police Department’s High Risk Victims and Trafficking Unit’s and Letot Center’s heightened concern that short-term treatment for runaway girls and teen prostitutes is ineffective. Consequently, as a conduit to national information and expertise and a voice for effective local action the Dallas Women’s Foundation is an important partner in the effort to create the Girl’s Center.