Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Dallas County officials and private donors dedicated the new 55,000-square-foot Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center, which is the first of its kind in North Texas and the nation. Here, “invisible girls” – girls ages 13 to 17 who have experienced extreme abuse and exploitation – will benefit from six to nine months of long-term treatment and shelter safe from pimps, as well as enrichment and skill-building programs to build self-esteem.
The new 96-bed facility was made possible by a capital campaign undertaken by Letot Center Capital Foundation. Civic leaders Lauren Embrey, Craig Evans, Sarah Losinger and Caren Prothro led the campaign, which reached the goal of $9.4 million.
“We are proud that the Letot Girls’ Residential Center will help solve these issues. We are giving girls a long-term safe haven to heal and work through the complex issues they face so they can create new lives,” said Dr. Terry Smith, Director, Dallas County Juvenile Department.
“Girls who come to the Center will benefit from gender-specific residential treatment, safe shelter and ongoing community-based support for themselves and their families,” said the Honorable Cheryl Shannon, Judge of the 305th District Court and Chair of the Dallas County Juvenile Board. “I want to acknowledge the courage and vision of Letot Center Capital Foundation, Dallas County Juvenile Board, the County Commissioners, Dallas Police Department and the private sector to address the critical needs of girls being trafficked in our community.”
Letot Center estimates there are about 400 invisible girls in Dallas County on any given night, most of whom have run away from abuse or neglect. Until now, Dallas County had two long-term residential treatment centers for boys with a total of 184 beds and none for girls.