COURAGE WORLDWIDE HOPES TO RE-OPEN COURAGE HOUSE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BY YEAR-END AFTER MEETING NEW STATE REQUIREMENTS
ROCKLIN – Courage Worldwide said today it hopes to reopen its Sacramento area home for victims of child sex trafficking later this year as it works to meet new state requirements and contests some state rules Courage believes would put the girls it serves at risk.
The organization, which operates homes in Tanzania and Northern California as well as an extensive program to educate people about sex trafficking issues, voluntarily decided to temporarily close its Northern California site in June as it worked to meet new California regulatory requirements and have staff that met the new requirements.
The Tanzania home remains open and the organization continues its educational, advocacy and outreach programs as well as support for former residents of its homes.
“While we had hoped our closure would be very short, we now realize that we will need more time to be ready for new regulatory requirements to meet a state mandate that we operate as a short-term residential treatment center rather than the previous designation as a group home,” said Jenny Williamson, Founder and CEO of Courage Worldwide.
“Additionally, we are challenging state efforts to require us to allow girls in our care to have cell phones and other rules we believe would put the girls and our staff at risk,” Williamson said. “Cell phones link these victims with their abusers. Law enforcement agrees that this population of young people must not be further put at risk by allowing them this kind of access and potentially be connected to the very people who trafficked them.”
The organization raised the cell phone issue when the home first opened in 2011 and the state agreed that cell phones should not be allowed. Despite that, the state cited the lack of access to cell phones as a violation of the girls’ personal rights earlier this year.
Additionally, the state cited Courage House for infringing on a girl’s religious liberty by not allowing her to participate in Satanic worship.
“Our focus is always on what is in the best interests of the girls we serve,” Williamson said. “We will not allow our girls to be put at risk and will fight those rules and interpretations that we believe put them at risk.”
Courage House in Northern California opened in 2011 for girls age 11 to 17, providing round-the-clock treatment services 365 days a year. Girls generally stay for at least a year.