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OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

DCF and Its Lead Agencies Have Not Resolved Issues Related to Serving Commercially Sexually Exploited Children

Report 17-09, June 2017

Report Summary

  • In 2016, 356 verified commercially sexually exploited (CSE) child victims were identified, more than the 264 identified in 2015. Many CSE children identified earlier-both children in child welfare dependency and those living in the community with family-have since been re-victimized, involved with the criminal justice system, or only attended school intermittently.
  • Issues with how Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) select children to screen as well as the screening tool itself may limit accurate identification of CSE child victims. We recommend DCF and DJJ evaluate triggering criteria to determine their predictive value, gather feedback from users about how to improve the screening tool, and validate it as soon as it is possible to do so.
  • Over half (62%) of CSE children remain in the community and are referred to voluntary, local services; however, no data is readily available on whether the children use these services. Recent legislation will require DCF to maintain information on all CSE children, not just those involved in the dependency system.
  • Group care is being used for dependency children due to the shortage of specialized placements. We recommend that DCF regions and lead agencies actively recruit new providers and foster parents, increase the capacity of existing CSE providers, and direct existing providers not currently serving CSE victims to begin doing so. DCF and lead agencies also should continue to gather data on the availability and effectiveness of placements for CSE children.

Related Reports
  1. Annual Report on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Florida, 2020
    Report 20-05 July 2020
  2. Placement Options for CSE Victims Have Increased; CSE-Specific Services Remain Limited
    Report 19-05 July 2019
  3. Service Model Slowly Adapting for Community CSE Victims; Limited Progress in Less Restrictive Placements for Dependent CSE Victims
    Report 18-05 June 2018
  4. Placement Challenges Persist for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation; Questions Regarding Effective Interventions and Outcomes Remain
    Report 16-04 July 2016
Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by email OPPAGA@oppaga.fl.gov, telephone (850) 488-0021, or mail 111 W. Madison St., Room 312 Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475.
commercial sexual exploitation, human trafficking, child welfare, child abuse, community-based care lead agencies, child protective investigators, placement services, safe foster care, safe homes, exploitation