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Advocate for PACE

PACE champions causes, policies and issues affecting women and girls in today's society.

Download our 2015-2016 Legislative Priorities Here:


 

 

During Session, we will post our current Legislative Updates here:


PACE Legislative Agenda FY 2015-2016

PACE  advocates for legislation that develops comprehensive systems of care for girls at risk for delinquency, dependency or sexual exploitation; provides access to physical and mental health services; and removes barriers to education and employment for girls. 

IMG 1551A Comprehensive System of Care for Girls 

PACE Center for Girls supports a comprehensive system of care for girls at risk for delinquency, dependency and sexual exploitation. It is imperative that quality programs and services that recognize that girls need a different set of services than boys in response to the trauma they have faced.

  • Close to 75% of youth in contact with the juvenile justice system have experienced trauma
  • More than 80% of the girls in some states’ juvenile detention centers suffered sexual or physical abuse before they were detained

PACE also advocates for legislation that increases the criminal penalties to traffickers and buyers, provisions addressing the demand and tools for investigation and prosecutorial work.

  • Florida has the third highest number of reported human trafficking cases in the nation. 
  • More than 100,000 children are victims of sex trafficking every year.
  • The average age that a girl becomes a trafficking victim is 12 to 14 years old.

MIndful 2Expansion of Mental Health Services for Girls

PACE Center for Girls advocates for a system of care that effectively evaluates the mental health needs of girls and supports legislation that increases prevention and intervention services to girls with mental health needs, increases access to appropriate mental health programs and services, and keep girls with mental health needs out of the juvenile justice system when the safety of the community is not compromised.

  • 65-70% of youth in contact with the juvenile justice system have a diagnosed mental health disorder, and of those youth, over 60% have a co-occurring disorder, such as substance abuse or trauma-related symptoms
  • During FY14, Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice found that 26.8% of girls during intake, 29.2% on probation and 50% in commitment had a prior history of mental health problems

PACE Center for Girls also supports and actively participates in specialized courts (ex. Girls Courts) to stem the tide of girls in the juvenile justice system and urges the Florida Legislature to support the establishment and expansion of these courts.

 

flower photoshoot 2013 girls lined upRemove Barriers to Education and Employment

Juvenile civil citations have proven to be effective in removing barriers to education and employment, in part because they divert young people out of formal adjudication, thereby avoiding the negative, collateral consequences of criminal records.  PACE Center for Girls supports the equal and intended application of civil citations and advocates that the practice of civil citation be adopted in the same manner by all counties and consistently implemented.  From June 2014 to May 2015, 8,459 girls in Florida were eligible to receive a civil citation upon coming in contact with law enforcement; however, only 42% were issued a citation, while a majority (4,873 girls), were arrested as first time non-violent misdemeanants.