The Refuge for DMST suspends license due to issues with Texas DFPS

The Refuge for DMST, a facility to care for girls recovering from sex trafficking, announced it has voluntarily suspended its license.

The facility said "an intractable regulatory climate and pattern of hostility rather than collaboration from the Texas Department of Family Protective Services [that has] made it unsafe to fulfill its mission."

At issue is the agency’s demand for The Refuge to remove armed security made necessary by DFPS carelessness.

RELATED: The Refuge for DMST cleared of wrongdoing after misconduct allegations, activists speak against reopening

"It has become painfully clear that the Texas Department of Family Protective Services has, for whatever reason, lost its commitment to protect and treat the victims of sex trafficking in our state," said Brooke Crowder, founder and CEO of The Refuge. "By releasing the previously protected address of our facility to the public then forbidding us from protecting our staff and the youth in our care from the traffickers who have used that information to harass and intimidate us, they have made it impossible to continue serving the girls who urgently need our care. Our hope is that while we suspend our license, we can have meaningful conversations with DFPS to find a logical solution to the severe security risks we face."

Founded in 2013, The Refuge won acclaim for its approaches to care, offering young survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation a safe place to heal, complete their education and build a future. 

In March 2022, the Bastrop County nonprofit went under investigation for allegations of misconduct. The ranch was closed for 10 months while the organization cooperated with two special legislative committees and investigations by nine local, state, and federal agencies. In January 2023, it was later cleared of any wrongdoing, and the state restored its license.

For more information, go to