Programs for Sexually Abused Children

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Gateways Program

Jacqueline Cherry, Assistant Vice President, Gateways Program

Margarita Carson, Director, Gateways Program

To make a referral, contact:
Rose Druyan, Intake Coordinator

Youth who have experienced commercial and sexual exploitation are highly traumatized. These young people often have been victims of repeated physical and sexual abuse, with deeply fractured relationships. Gateways is an intensive, specialized residential treatment program for girls, ages 12 16, who have experienced Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and domestic trafficking, that works to address trauma, rebuild lives and forge paths to positive futures.

Gateways is funded through New York State, and is contracted through ACS and DSS. To place a youth, parents can contact their field office and request information for placement. If there is known abuse, please contact the New York State Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-342-3720. If you are a mandated reporter, please call 1-800-635-1522. For guidance on how to identify and address possible abuse, see JCCA’s Child Abuse Alert or contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.

ABC7 Here and Now: Sex Trafficking

Janmarie Brown, Director of our Gateways Program on the Pleasantville Cottage Campus, was featured in a compelling and informative segment of Here and Now. JCCA and our clients are fortunate to have Janmarie and her team leading this healing effort in what can only be described as incredibly challenging circumstances with young people who are truly desperate for our help. Read more >


JCCA has been at the forefront of treatment for sexually trafficked girls. The operative philosophy of Gateways is family centered, trauma informed and permanency directed. The program works closely with the young women and their families to develop treatment plans that move the young women from “victims” to “survivors.” It helps girls to recognize their trauma, heal, rebuild their self-esteem and reconnect to healthy, positive peer and adult influences.

Distinct Programming and Short-Term Residential Services

Gateways houses 13 girls, and each completes a 6- to 12- month stay in the program. A girl graduates Gateways when she has achieved physical and emotional safety, an understanding of the dynamics of CSEC, has a reconnection with supportive significant adults and a sense of positive youth development. Our team of highly trained professionals completes initial and ongoing social, psychological, trauma, psychiatric, educational and medical assessments. The program’s enhanced staffing allows for smaller staff caseloads and an intensive level of work between child, therapist and family. Each girl receives tailored individual, group and family therapy, and a therapeutic range of recreational activities.

Intervention and Strategic Engagement

Gateways treatment centers on a unique four-phase model of “4Rs”— Readiness, Recognize trauma, Rebuild self-esteem and Reconnect to healthy and accessible community resources. Upon entry into Gateways, girls are given a special charm bracelet, and the accomplishment of each phase is marked by adding a charm to it. The Gateways 4R model uses a cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach and is delivered within the larger framework of the Sanctuary model of trauma-informed treatment, in order to help girls move towards enhanced social and emotional growth. Gateways girls receive education on CSEC as part of a larger national issue, and in the final phase, mentor other girls and participate in advocacy. Upon completion of the Gateways program, each girl participates in a validation ceremony to acknowledge her work in the program, celebrate her value in the world and launch her into the next phase of a positive, healthy future life. Most young women graduate the program and are reunited with their families. They return to the community and thrive in school and at work.