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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

DCF and Its Lead Agencies Have Not Resolved Issues Related to Serving Commercially Sexually Exploited Children, Report No. 17-09, June 2017
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  • In 2016, 356 verified commercially sexually exploited (CSE) child victims were identified, more than the 264 identified in 2015. Many CSE children identified earlier—both children in child welfare dependency and those living in the community with family—have since been re-victimized, involved with the criminal justice system, or only attended school intermittently.
  • Issues with how Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) select children to screen as well as the screening tool itself may limit accurate identification of CSE child victims. We recommend DCF and DJJ evaluate triggering criteria to determine their predictive value, gather feedback from users about how to improve the screening tool, and validate it as soon as it is possible to do so.
  • Over half (62%) of CSE children remain in the community and are referred to voluntary, local services; however, no data is readily available on whether the children use these services. Recent legislation will require DCF to maintain information on all CSE children, not just those involved in the dependency system.
  • Group care is being used for dependency children due to the shortage of specialized placements. We recommend that DCF regions and lead agencies actively recruit new providers and foster parents, increase the capacity of existing CSE providers, and direct existing providers not currently serving CSE victims to begin doing so. DCF and lead agencies also should continue to gather data on the availability and effectiveness of placements for CSE children.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Child Welfare
Florida Abuse Hotline
Department of Children and Families

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 18-05 Service Model Slowly Adapting for Community CSE Victims; Limited Progress in Less Restrictive Placements for Dependent CSE Victims,published in June 2018.
  • Report No. 16-04 Placement Challenges Persist for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation; Questions Regarding Effective Interventions and Outcomes Remain,published in July 2016.
  • Report No. 15-06 State and Local Agencies Are in Initial Stages of Addressing Needs of Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation,published in June 2015.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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