We are disappointed by the recent news coverage of Courage Worldwide by The Sacramento Bee that misrepresents recent decisions regarding the operation of Courage House Northern California.
We made the difficult decision to temporarily not serve girls at our Courage House Northern California location in June. While the Bee characterized this as “amid a flurry of state inspections that found numerous violations,” in fact this decision was based on some resignations by state-required staff and a state-imposed decision to transition from a Group Home to a Short-Term Residential Treatment Facility.
While Courage House could have tried to immediately hire to address the staffing issues, the Board believed it was prudent to temporarily suspend serving girls at the home so that we could hire staff who would comply with the requirements of the state’s new required Short-Term Residential Treatment Facility. When we made our decision we thought we would be able to hire new staff to meet the requirements, train the staff and re-open within 60 days. However, it became clear later that timetable wouldn’t be possible as we are still awaiting the requirements from the state for new staff.
Unfortunately, the Bee decided to sensationalize our decision and our fight over some citations we received this year. The Bee doesn’t provide much detail on those citations. We believe you deserve the whole story.
As you’ll see from the information below, most of these alleged “violations” actually relate to a clear difference of opinion between advocates for sex trafficking victims like Courage Worldwide and this regulator. Frankly, many of these so-called violations actually aren’t violations as our state-approved program guide included these rules.
For example, the state agreed with us previously that our policy not to allow our girls to have cell phones was important to ensure that they not reconnect with those who had abused them. The state approved this policy but has now cited us three times for prohibiting these phones. Another example: we were cited repeatedly for refusing to put our license number on our website. We informed the state that we feared that could give an abuser information that could provide location to our facility.
We are contesting these alleged violations for the simple reason that if we complied with the state’s requests we would be putting these victims at risk.
Our organization continues to move forward, providing support to girls who have left Courage House, our full services at Courage House in Tanzania as well as education, advocacy and training about sex trafficking.
We are working to meet the new California licensing requirements and hope to welcome girls at Courage House Nor Cal by year end. We continue to raise funds to continue our ongoing work and to be able to fund a re-opening of our Nor Cal House.
Below is a news release distributed to media on August 20 as well as a chart detailing the citations and Courage’s response to those issues.