Northern California

Courage House – Northern California


Courage House Northern California

After five years of operating the U.S. home/center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Courage Worldwide Board of Directors made the extremely difficult decision in June 2016 to change the demographics of the California Courage House from minors age 11 to 17, to young females 18 years or older. This decision was made due to major changes to the California child welfare system that took place on January 1, 2017. The policy changes dramatically affected our ability to execute our successful, long term, therapeutic residential home for minor children who have been sold for sex in the state of California. After much research, our mental health professionals and program administrators came to realize that our program will not fit into the new regulatory scheme as the Courage House program requires a minimum of 12 months, with best outcomes being realized in the 18 to 24 month range. There is now no state license available in the state of California for a long term program like ours, specific to this very specialized population; victims of sex trafficking. The state mandate is to now place highly traumatized children in a short-term treatment facility, then move them to a resource family (formerly called a foster family). These families will then be tasked with providing the unique therapeutic services these children require within their family unit. The state has a goal of providing every foster child a family. We applaud that goal … in theory. However, young teens and children who have been sold for sex, have unique and elevated needs caused by the severe and complex trauma they have experienced in their young lives that are difficult to provide in a family setting. Without carve outs and special regulations for this population we do not feel we can keep the residents or staff safe at Courage House. Courage Worldwide, Inc., continues to advocate for this population at a state and national policy level as well as continuing our community trainings.

In addition, the Courage House program is a faith-based program where our desire is to equip, encourage and empower them to be and do all God created them to. Under the new state regulations, requirements and expectations we are limited on how we can do that as some of these state requirements are in conflict with our Christian values/beliefs. Thus our focus on the over 18 population which does not require a state license to operate.

Our current focus for the over 18’s is the former – over forty – residents who once called Courage House home. We promised we would be their family. We promised we would walk the long journey of healing with them; equipping, encouraging and empowering them to be and do all they were created to. While we have been supporting them relationally with limited resources, Courage Worldwide is pleased to announce we will now be doing that in a very intentional way with expanded services and resources. We have hired a Human Trafficking Case Manager for our over 18 population, who will be tasked with providing our former residents, as well as any trafficking victims in the community, with the resources that will assist them in becoming independent and successful. Those resources will include, but are not limited to, housing, tuition, therapy, legal services, mentors, day care vouchers for their children, counseling and more.

We also opened Courage House Too for the over 18 home in June of 2017. In our experience working with this population, we have found that children leaving Courage House at eighteen still find it difficult to integrate within a family structure. Though they long for a family, the structure is unfamiliar and challenging to maintain when they now crave independence. Though very unhealthy, many of these youth have experienced what they would call a certain amount of “freedom” on the streets that is not easily transferrable into an established family situation. Thus the need for Courage House Too.

The program will be the same as for minors but without state regulations and restrictions. Because of that, Courage House Too will be entirely privately funded. Residents will pay rent, participate in the family responsibilities, and be coached in making healthy choices for independent living. To live at Courage House Too, a resident must be a full time student or employed full time. While at Courage House Too, they will receive the same therapeutic services and case management they had at Courage House. They will be able to maintain some of the healthy relationships and support they developed with Courage families and staff. Each resident will have a mentor and Courage family to meet their familial needs. The structure and boundaries implemented will be familiar to them because they will be the same that they learned at Courage House, but modified for their age, maturity, and need for independence. In the state of California, children turning eighteen who have been former foster youth now qualify to receive monies to assist them with their housing/living needs. CWW advocates for this victim population to help them receive all services and monies available to them, including college tuition, job training, and MediCal (health insurance).

It takes courage to face your past and walk confidently into your future after suffering the trauma and torture that is inherent in commercial sex trafficking. Courage House Too is a place to belong, a place to receive comfort and security from a loving family, a place to dream dreams and make memories, a place where healing happens. It is the continuation of the journey that started at Courage House when they were just children – the journey to healing and restoration. It is the place where these now young adults will be equipped, encouraged and empowered in their unique identity and their God-given destiny. Courage House Too is a critical piece in the restoration process. It continues the stabilization phase of their healing process and provides a launching pad to healthy relationships, independence, and a trauma free future.

Courage House Northern California

“From the Mother of a Courage House Girl”

“I am a mother of a Courage House girl. My daughter’s journey began with a total transformation from the loving and well-adjusted happy little girl who would kiss my eyelids to wake me up to a pre-teen that seethed defiance and sexuality. I thought it was that moodiness that parents discuss as their daughters reach the beginning stages of maturity. However, finding texts that were so explicit and chatting with boys/men about actions no 12-year-old could imagine or experience raised red flags. The school became involved as grades slipped. Behaviors escalated requiring treatment programs and counseling. Hospitalizations for self-harm seemed to be the escape from a world my daughter couldn’t handle. And one night, after holding her secrets for over a year, she shared her truth – she had been trafficked for sex.  Read more

Michelle and Her Daughter