New Focus Areas

June 18, 2015

Human Trafficking Prevention and Education

This spring, the DCFSL Board completed a Strategic Planning process to guide the Foundation's funding for the next three years starting July 2015. The planning process included a careful examination and review of our current focus areas and emerging unmet community needs.

As a result, it was decided to redirect funding from Youth Violence Prevention through Job Training and Employment to support Youth Empowerment with a very specific emphasis on a serious emerging need for Human Trafficking Prevention and Education. St. Louis is one of the top 20 regions for human trafficking in the country. Youth Empowerment through Human Trafficking Prevention aims to prevent human trafficking by reaching vulnerable, at-risk populations before it's too late.

Through education, outreach, public awareness, and early intervention, our youth can be empowered to make positive and healthy decisions about their own lives and take a stand for their own futures. Evidence shows that the average age of entry into the commercial sex trade is as young as twelve, which points to the need to engage youth at younger ages through school-based curriculum and approaches. Funding will focus on prevention programs that through education and outreach will develop an environment that protects children and youth from further exploitation.

Senior Oral Health Literacy

Oral health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic oral health information and services needed to make appropriate oral health decisions, and it is an important component of oral health care for seniors. A lack of oral health literacy can significantly affect oral health care as well as overall health.

Adults ages 65 and older make up the fastest growing segment of the American population, and today's seniors are more likely to retain their dentition, meaning they are at a greater risk for oral diseases. Because of their age, seniors often face a host of conditions that make oral health even more critical. Funding will focus on education and prevention for older individuals and their caregivers about the importance of dental care in maintaining independence and prevent premature illness or death.

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