Tree House of Tallahassee offers safe harbor from human trafficking

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Children can find a safe space at Tree House of Tallahassee.

January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month and Tree House of Tallahassee is guaranteeing that families in the Big Bend who are experiencing times of crisis have a safe place to call home.

Not every child has a happy home. Children left in situations of abuse, abandonment and other difficult circumstances need a safe space until they can transition to a safe, caring home. They also are particularly predisposed to human trafficking. These children can find a safe space at Tree House of Tallahassee.

A $20,000 grant was recently contributed by a coordinated Medicaid plan, Simply Healthcare Plans, to support the Tallahassee venture in its mission to keep kids safe. The grant allows Tree House to upgrade its facilities, double down on its services and enhance the play and education area for the children and teenagers who call Tree House home. Other funds will be directed toward replacing windows in the 40-year-old facility and making other essential updates.

“Tree House has been home to thousands of children throughout the Big Bend over the past 40 years. Our mission is made possible thanks to the generosity of organizations like Simply Healthcare,” said Ashley Chaney, Tree House of Tallahassee Board president. “Improvements to our facilities will enable us to continue providing shelter, comfort and a sense of stability for children who are facing difficult situations until they can transition to a safe, healthy home.”

Since 1986, Tree House Tallahassee has connected children in need with a safe and loving home during their time of greatest need. One unique attribute of the home is that it keeps sibling groups together, a rare occurrence in emergency placement situations. Keeping siblings together throughout these trying times is a surefire way to ensure some normalcy for children whose lives have been upended.

Tree House is incredibly meaningful because it ensures that children who are either faced with abusive home situations or have a disposition toward a high-risk future can find community and support. Addressing the rising threat of human trafficking for at-risk children in the 10 to 17-year-old age group is a recent shift in the Tree House’s mission.

According to the U.S. Department of State, an estimated 27.6 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking at any given time. Community-based service providers like Tree House offer children who are either at risk of human trafficking or have survived human trafficking a safe place to lay their heads while also providing counseling and a nurturing environment.

Simply has demonstrated steadfast support for individuals at risk of human trafficking. In March 2023, Simply committed to the 100 Percent Club, an anti-trafficking initiative led by Attorney General Ashley Moody and 100% of its associates have been trained in recognizing the warning signs of human trafficking, putting them on the front line of defense for the plan’s members.

The investment made by Simply Healthcare Plans to support Tree House Tallahassee is just one example of the many gifts the Medicaid plan makes to fight human trafficking and address the needs of the most vulnerable citizens in Florida.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.



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