(FY17, FY20, and FY23)

Ohio Department of Public Safety, Office of Criminal Justice Services

Improving Outcomes for Child and Youth Victims of Human Trafficking: A Jurisdiction-Wide Approach

The Ohio Department of Public Safety, Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), was awarded FY17, FY20, and FY23 Improving Outcomes grants. For the FY17 award, OCJS partnered with the Ohio Department of Youth Services, the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, and the Ohio Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers. For the FY20 award, OCJS works in partnership with the Supreme Court of Ohio and Advocating Opportunity, a nonprofit providing legal services and advocacy to trafficked and exploited persons.


Through the FY17 grant funding, OCJS funded three state liaisons—one with each of the partnering agencies—to support the development of a unified, statewide strategy that leveraged local county and regional responses to trafficking.


With support from local county child welfare agencies, juvenile courts, children’s advocacy centers, the Ohio Network of Anti-Human Trafficking Coalitions, and the Governor’s Task Force, the three liaisons sought to improve identification of trafficked youth, increase referrals to appropriate services, implement Ohio’s Safe Harbor law in county juvenile courts, and address regional service gaps for minor trafficking victims. Objectives were as follows: (1) increase the expertise of child welfare intake screeners and caseworkers to identify and refer potential victims for services; (2) reduce barriers to service for trafficked children and youth by promoting and implementing screening protocols for identifying and referring victims and addressing local system coverage to ensure proper service delivery; (3) implement a robust screening process for identifying potential minor victims of human trafficking in county juvenile courts; and 4) increase the number of Ohio counties in compliance with the state Safe Harbor legal statute, allowing for enrollment in diversion programs to address delinquency charges of juvenile trafficking victims.


Through FY20 grant funding, Ohio built capacity of its juvenile justice system to better identify and serve minor and youth victims of human trafficking across the state. This included: (1) building capacity of juvenile justice agencies to identify trafficked minors through a partnership with the Ohio Department of Youth Services and the Supreme Court of Ohio, to establish Safe Harbor Diversion programming in two of the state’s counties; (2) developing and delivering tailored trainings regarding how to respond to human trafficking of minors to MDTs of the grant-funded juvenile courts, state juvenile corrections centers, juvenile courts, and other child-serving agencies; and (3) facilitating county-based coordination of child-serving systems through Safe Harbor Diversion programming and by working directly with local service providers to ensure that services for trafficked youth are coordinated and available.


Through FY23 grant funding, Ohio will develop and implement a statewide strategy to build capacity of Ohio’s juvenile justice and child welfare systems to identify and serve minor and youth victims of human trafficking. To increase buy-in at the state and local levels (a particularly key factor given Ohio’s county-administered system), the Improving Outcomes team will partner with multiple other agencies to carry out project activities. The project will leverage a new state-level position within the new Ohio Department of Children and Youth, which will provide an intentional focus on equipping child welfare agencies to improve identification and response of trafficking survivors and serving victims of labor trafficking and foreign nationals The project intends to invest in a new geographic area by funding a Safe Harbor Coordinator at an additional juvenile court.


Ohio State Highlight

The Ohio Improving Outcomes team operates the Governor’s Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force. The Task Force, comprised of juvenile justice professionals, state agencies, and community-based service providers, takes a multidisciplinary approach to identify victims of human trafficking, support prosecutions, and connect survivors to treatment and supportive services. A key outcome of the Improving Outcomes program is the integration of a multidisciplinary response in two of the state’s juvenile courts.

Ohio Resources

The Ohio Department of Youth Services Human Trafficking Screening Tool (ODYS HTST)

In the FY2017 iteration of the OVC Improving Outcomes grant, Ohio developed the Ohio Department of Youth Services Human Trafficking Screening Tool, which is a...

Human Trafficking Screening Tool For Youth

Created for professionals working with high-risk youth, to screen for trafficking indicators. Includes information on preparing for a screening, administering the screening, and the tool...

Identifying and Responding to Juvenile Victims of Human Trafficking in Ohio Training Resource Packet

Resource packet provided to all training attendees to be used in conjunction with the material presented throughout Ohio’s human trafficking training curriculum. The packet contains...

Survivor Advisory Panel Participation Evaluation Form

Created to obtain opinions and feedback from Ohio’s Improving Outcomes Survivor Advisory Panel. The grantee used the information gleaned from these feedback forms to assess...

Ohio Safe Harbor Resource Card

Describes the steps for pursuing safe harbor diversion. Originally developed in the FY2017 iteration of the OVC Improving Outcomes grant, this Safe Harbor resource card...

Delaware County Juvenile Court Safe Harbor Protocol

Ohio’s Safe Harbor law establishes access to juvenile justice diversionary programming for youth who have been charged with an offense related to their trafficking victimization,...

Human Trafficking Resource Guide for Ohio’s Public Children Services Agencies

A comprehensive resource guide for children’s services agencies. Material includes information on federal and state laws, Ohio’s response to human trafficking, considerations for children’s services...

Serving Youth Survivors of Trafficking Training – HT201 Training

The Ohio grant team has been providing a training on identifying and responding to juvenile trafficking victims since the FY2017 iteration of the OVC Improving...