WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – The Heart of Texas Behavioral Network has won an award which will benefit victims of youth trafficking.

The Office of the Governor awarded the Network’s Klaras Center for Families (KCF) close to $100,000 to continue operations of its Hope Shelter Program. This is in line with the Office of the Governor’s vision to invest in innovative projects which support survivors of sex trafficking.

The Hope Shelter Program provides emergency shelter services for youth victims of sex trafficking, and is designed to offer 24/7 emergency shelter services to trafficked youth between the ages of 13 to 17 throughout the Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network’s six county region – including Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill, Limestone and McLennan Counties.

Hope Shelter services are specifically geared to provide trauma-informed support to trafficked youth leading to their healing and recovery from the trauma of sex trafficking. Services also include:

· Access to basic needs

· Intensive case management

· Mental health counseling

· Medical screening

· Skills training

· Access to employment support

· Education support

· Aftercare services

Tom Christian is the Grants and Special Projects Director for the Klaras Center for Families. He says the award bolsters the Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network’s commitment to child and adolescent behavioral health in the region.

“Taken together, all of these strategies are in the broad service of providing immediate healing and recovery from sex trafficking in the Heart of Texas Region, to include Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill, Limestone and McLennan counties,” Christian said.

The Klaras Center for Families provides services for the Heart of Texas Behavioral Network’s Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health programs.