Just in Time: Making Waves in The Community
From San Diego to Washington D.C., JIT is Advocating for transition age foster youth
December 16: JIT Identity Theft & Fraud Summit
December 16: Internship/JITernship Info Session
December 25-26: OFFICE CLOSED HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Just in Time Associate Director of Advocacy and Community Empowerment, Simone Hidds-Monroe was recently awarded a Community Partner award by the San Diego County Juvenile Justice Commission. She was nominated for the award by Director of San Diego Child Welfare Services Kim Giardina. The Award is in recognition of Simone’s deep devotion to serving youth and families in San Diego.
Simone has been relentless in advocating for “lived-experience” voices to inform and influence foster care policy. In addition to her work at Just in Time, Simone sits alongside Supervisors Nora Vargas and Nathan Fletcher on the Child and Family Strengthening Advisory Board in San Diego and is the Co-Founder and now Chair of the Foster Alumni and Youth Community Empowerment Subcommittee (FAYCES), which she co-created with The County in response to the recent challenges surrounding her alma mater, San Pasqual Academy (SPA).
“I think this award speaks volumes about lived-experience’s growing value at the table and what that means for the future.”
Simone Hidds-Monroe, JIT Staff
Caitlin Goes To Washington
In December, Just in Time Community Outreach Partner, Caitlin Radigan and JIT community partner Polaris Project visited D.C. to meet with Senator Diane Feinstein and House Representative Lou Correa.
For Caitlin, a former foster youth and survivor of human trafficking, the visit was an important opportunity to educate legislatures and, more urgently, an opportunity to influence future policy related to the decriminalization of sex work – a topic that has found increasing traction in parts of the nation, including Maine and Massachusetts both of whom put forth decriminalization bills for sex workers in 2019.
“I can speak for youth that are of a vulnerable population; that were groomed and then exploited, and then criminalized. What we’re pushing for is for sex crimes to be treated like domestic violence. The victim is never criminalized; it’s the person who is exploiting them or doing the abuse who gets criminalized. That is the model that we were presenting.” said Caitlin.
For Polaris Project, a national nonprofit focused on reducing, preventing and, ultimately, ending sex and labor trafficking, Just in Time is a natural partner and ally in San Diego – a border city highly impacted by human trafficking issues. A lack of family support and guidance, and limited access to resources, make transition age foster youth easy targets for exploitation. The self-sufficiency resources offered by Just in Time act as “exit” resources for those youth – resources that would either prevent someone from entering the sex trade or allow them to get out of it.
“As a survivor of human trafficking and a leader in advocating for former foster youth, especially their relationship with the juvenile justice system, I can tell you there’s a lot of overlap between the youth JIT serves and the people Polaris serves. In D.C., we shared our stories as survivors to highlight the realities of the sex trade for legislatures. It’s not glamorous or liberating. And I think our message was well received,” said Caitlin.
Fostering Hope Comes to San Diego
Just in Time is all about building relationships – this includes learning and collaborating with partners all over the nation to provide community-based care for transition age foster youth. Earlier this month, we had the privilege of hosting Fostering Hope Foundation, all the way from Colorado, at our JIT offices. The four-day site visit was a shared learning experience that culminated in JIT’s My First Home For the Holidays celebration.