Transforming Invisible Girls

THE PROBLEM VOCATIONAL & ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS
INVISIBLE GIRLS STORIES THE CHALLENGE
TRANSFORMING INVISIBLE GIRLS FOUNDATION LEADERSHIP
INVALUABLE PARTNERS CONTACT
THE GIRLS’ CENTER NEWS AND PRESS

Invisible girls need specialized, long-term treatment to escape unhealthy dependencies and chaotic and destructive life-styles. A three-tiered approach is required to protect invisible girls from adult abusers and to build the self-esteem and personal skills needed to successfully re-integrate into our community.

  • Gender-specific, 6 – 9 month long-term residential placement and treatment,
  • Community-based support services for girls and families during and after residential treatment, and
  • Prosecution of offenders/pimps.

To fully address the critical and unique needs of invisible girls and their families in Dallas County, Letot Center has created a long-term, residential treatment program for girls. The Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center was designed and developed specifically for girls ages 13 – 17 and, as such, is the larger of two gender-specific, therapeutic programs in the country. The Girls’ Center is the only program in the nation designed to prevent teen prostitution by serving runaway girls. Issues unique to girls – extreme abuse, prostitution and abandonment – are addressed through an intensive and highly structured program that serves up to 96 girls at a time.

The safety of the girls is the program’s highest priority, as they need protection from abusive parents, boyfriends and pimps. This locally based program improves accountability and coordination by enabling girls to be more quickly moved into treatment. Programs focus on girls’ unique developmental and relational needs and families are engaged in repairing conflict and participating in aftercare services.

Each of the programs and opportunities currently offered by Letot Center through its short-term residential program, from the Charter school to yoga to sports, have been adapted and are provided at the Girls’ Residential Treatment Center. Treatment plans and clinical services will address specific issues such as abuse, exploitation, anger management, parenting skills, sexually transmitted diseases and life skills for independent living, among other issues. Volunteers provide opportunities for spiritual growth and development.

Program Comparison

Program Component
Letot Center
Letot Girls’
Residential Treatment Center
Serves Boys and girls ages 10 – 17 Serves girls ages 13 – 17
Program Focus First-time, non-serious offenders who have run away from home, been truant or committed class B misdemeanors such as driving while intoxicated or possessing marijuana or shoplifting Girls’ unique developmental and relational needs, especially those who have run away from home or have been prostituted
Length of stay 1 to 60 days 6 – 9 months
Maximum capacity 32 beds – 8 for boys and 24 for girls; plus 8 emergency beds 48 initial beds, can accommodate 96 beds
Program Content Individual, group and family counseling and experiential groups build competency in making healthy decisions, building positive relationships, managing stress and anger and developing character Individual, group and family counseling and experiential groups will focus on issues unique to girls:  extreme abuse, prostitution and abandonment as well as healthy decisions, building positive relationships, managing stress and anger and developing character
National Status Largest and most comprehensive provider for youth intervention in the US Larger of two gender-specific, therapeutic programs in the US. The only preventative program in the US
Staff 45 professional staff 65 professional staff
Staff Expertise Case managers
Supervision officers
Psychologist
Principal & assistant principal
Teachers
Probation officer
Case managers
Supervision officers
Psychologists
Nurse
Principal
Teachers
Court Directives Voluntary participation of youth
Voluntary participation of parents
Majority of girls are court ordered
Parents can be court ordered to participate
Workforce Training N/A Garden and horticulture, culinary arts and computer programs
Letot Center &
Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center
Educational Opportunities Charter school followed by reintegration to an appropriate school environment or GED program
Source of Annual Operating Funds Dallas County Juvenile Department / Dallas County Commissioners
Community Partnership & Fundraising The Letot Center Capital Foundation Board, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization
Family Involvement Families are re-engaged in treatment and aftercare services supported by a network of more than 136 community-based partners
Program Structure Intensive and highly structured
Activities Journaling, yoga, visual arts, creative writing, sports, exercise and spiritual guidance education
Identification of Youth Dallas County law enforcement agencies

The goals for the Letot Girls’ Residential Center are to:

  • Identify girls within the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Systems who need long-term residential treatment outside their homes,
  • Effectively provide clinical, educational, medical, recreational and case management services,
  • Teach girls skills to deal with stress and challenging situations so they do not resort to dysfunctional and delinquent behavior and
  • Develop intensive aftercare and on-going community services with monitoring designed to successfully re-integrate invisible girls back into the community.

As a result, girls and their families will:

  • Be engaged in making decisions about treatment plans,
  • Be empowered to stay involved with specialized community services,
  • Experience an environment that values, respects and trusts girls,
  • Experience girls discovering their strengths, becoming self-aware, resilient and courageous – all of which provide insight into potential for happiness and success.
  • Learn responsibility, self-respect, self-motivation and respect of authority,
  • Learn how to apply learned skills and values to their homes, schools and community, and
  • Prepare for successful re-integration into their community.