A word from our Programs Director,
Dr. Angela Salomon
Therapeutic Behavioral Health – Evolving to provide a higher level of trauma care
In the nine years since we have been in operation, the understanding of trauma care specific to our population has grown exponentially. The landscape of need, to include how the issue is understood and responded to within government, legal and law enforcement arenas, as well community services, and research on the issue has shifted and have significantly influenced the nature of how we approach the issue.
This year StreetLightUSA is taking action to respond to the higher understanding of the complexities of this type of trauma and the need for more specialized care.
StreetLightUSA is redesigning two of the six cottages on our campus to serve as a Residential Behavioral Health Facility specialized to treat adolescent female victims of sex trafficking and exploitation. We plan to serve up to ten residents utilizing a trauma-specialized healing model for acute care. Our therapeutic group home model will provide ongoing trauma-informed healing treatment and support.
A 2017 Arizona State University study found that 48% of child trafficking victims were being under-served in juvenile corrections and 17% of child victims were being under-served in detention centers or hospitals. We acknowledge that stabilization, safety, and basic needs can be ensured in such settings, but our hearts also ache to expand the options of care. For these girls, a nurturing home-like environment that offers a specialized focus on trauma healing and recovery is so needed and yet expressly nonexistent in Arizona. Until now.
StreetLightUSA's trauma-specialized treatment approach is multi-model and founded on evidence-based practices for the treatment of complex trauma and, in particular, sexual exploitation during childhood and adolescence. Research shows children victimized by this type of trauma experience both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and disruption in neurophysiological, cognitive, and attachment development. Given this understanding, StreetLightUSA's model focuses on holistic complex trauma treatment.
Further enhancing our holistic approach, we provide the opportunity for the child to integrate faith into her healing process. Complex trauma can significantly disrupt a victim’s spiritual connection and their ability to make sense of and draw meaning from life, as well as can cast a heavy shadow of shame. Research shows time and time again that integrating spiritually informed treatment to trauma healing can serve as an additional resource for addressing moral injuries and spiritual disconnection (Pearce, et al., 2018; Pressley & Spinazzola, 2015; Walker & Aten, 2012). Our Christ-Centered foundation allows us to provide this additional resource to residents who seek or are open to exploring this path.
We hope that this evolution will expand the breadth and depth of healing, as well as strengthen opportunities for success in the lives of the girls we serve. If you would like to learn more about this project or are interested in helping make it possible, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angela Salomon, PsyD
Director of Programs