Tonight's special guest is Renee Encinias from Austin, Texas, Program Director at Hope Rising Ministries, committed to the long term care and recovery for minor girls who have been rescued from human sex trafficking and exploitation. Their mission is to provide hope and a future to these girls and to foster wholeness and healing to at-risk families and children. Renee's interest in the field came after a 'temporary' job she took in a small town children's home. With her Criminal Justice degree, she'd thought her career would involve being a probation officer. "I quickly knew that working with children in the foster care system, those children who had 'come from hard places,' was something that I enjoyed and was good at." More than 20 years later, she says the most exciting thing to have happened in child welfare during her tenure is Trauma Informed Care. "Children in care deserve for us to realize that the work never ends, we never arrive at being the best we can for them, we always need to improve on something." Hers is, of course, a faith based organization. Hope Rising goes beyond therapy, and provides life skills training and mentors for each child in order to prepare them as they heal, grow and mature into a life of independence. They focus on character building and strengths development for each child. Prevention is a huge priority for their program. Hope Rising also provides foster care homes for children that have not been trafficked, but are in need of intervention because of their vulnerabilities due to abuse and neglect. They can license basic and moderate foster care homes as well homes required for trafficking victims. "Our goal is to provide hope and a future for all of the children who are placed in our care."
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