CARTE – Child Abuse Resolved through Education, a 501C3 non-profit organization was established for two reasons; to educate the public about the devastating generational effects of child abuse; and to provide a cutting-edge self-esteem program for high-risk teenage girls, ages 14-18, and women and children victims of domestic violence, called the STARR Program. STARR stands for Succeed through Accountable Responsible Resolve.

Child abuse can range from sexual or physical abuse, abandonment and neglect to psychological abuse. According to Childhelp USA, three million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States. Since many cases go unreported it is estimated that the numbers may actually be three times greater.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) states that “commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) involves crimes of a sexual nature committed against juvenile victims for financial or other economic reasons” (IOM and NRC 2013, 401). Commercial sexual exploitation of children is both a domestic and international problem. One count estimates sex trafficking to victimize more than 200,000 children in the United States annually (Bryan 2014;The Polaris Project 2012).

An additional 244,000–360,000 children in the United States are at risk each year of being trafficked and sexually exploited (Bryan 2014; Adams, Owens, and Small 2010). In the United States, children are most likely to be sexually exploited by their families or family friends for monetary gain (National Institute of Justice 2007).

According to Gavin DeBecker, author of the Gift of Fear, as you are reading these words at least one woman in America is being beaten by her husband – and now another, for it happens every few seconds.  One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. 85% of domestic violence victims are women. Females who are 20-24 are at the greatest risk of non-fatal intimate partner violence. Most cases are never reported to the police. CARTE is committed to breaking the cycle of domestic violence, and protecting the children, by supporting the women in rebuilding their lives… turning their scars into stars.

Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. One out of every six females has been a victim of a rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. Many of the girls participating in our program have experienced various forms of abuse and multiple perpetrators. Without an intervention such as STARR, and their lack of self-esteem, the abusive events will haunt them throughout their lives. Many of victims of these high-risk teens are less likely to complete their education, and more likely to be of high-risk abusive relationships, become pregnant and depend on welfare. As child abuse is a generational issue, today’s victims will often expose their children to abuse. By saving one girl, we will be saving many other children to come. That is the STARR and starfish story.

CARTE designed and produced the STARR Program, specifically for teenage girls who have been abused or abandoned. Girls are referred to CARTE by various agencies or parents who want to provide a forum for healing and personal growth for their children. This dynamic two-part experiential program provides the girls with tools and practices that will serve them in leading successful lives. While traditional forms of therapy alone (lengthy talk therapy) seem to have little impact on the teens, an accelerated group dynamic such as STARR empowers them to move out of the darkness and shame of their abusive pasts into the light of their true beauty and positive convictions.