Because the legal system can be difficult to negotiate, and gaining access to supportive agencies and therapy can also be complicated, Kristi House advocates work directly with families to facilitate these processes. They determine the needs of children and families, make referrals for needed services, assist families in accessing those services, and assist in the coordination of services with agencies in the Center, and community, to help reduce system trauma. Kristi House provides a vital support system to victims encouraging them to pursue all avenues of treatment and all legal means to stop the abuse and ensure long-term recovery. Family Advocates provide an avenue for families to work with law enforcement agencies and/or the State Attorney's Office when a criminal investigation process is necessary. They also educate the families about the investigative and prosecutorial process and connect children and families to appropriate service providers in the community.
Therapy is a critical component in helping children overcome the trauma of child sexual abuse. While child sexual abuse has been Kristi House’s specialty since founding, its mental health unit has the proven treatment interventions for many types of childhood trauma including: child sex trafficking, problematic sexual behavior, physical abuse, and substance abuse. Kristi House is one of a very few agencies in Miami-Dade County providing specialized mental health services for child abuse regardless of families' ability to pay. Because untreated child sexual abuse often manifests itself in health, sexual and social problems throughout life, it is vitally important that Kristi House provides abused children with mental health services. Dedicated to protocols with proven results, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) provides the foundation for most interventions at Kristi House. Types of therapy provided include play therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. During intake or at any point throughout the course of treatment, a therapist may refer a child victim for an evaluation to the in-house Doctor of Psychiatry.
Project GOLD provides outreach and services to children exploited in sex trafficking to help them escape dangerous lives at the hands of traffickers and predators. Project GOLD brought the legal and provider community together around the issue of child sex trafficking in 2007, and has been a leader nationally on the issue. The Project GOLD Drop In Center uses a strengths-based, survivor-advised approach to provide health, social and legal services linkages, mental health support and educational enrichment to sexually exploited girls, ages 11-18. Kristi House's Project BOLD, in partnership with Survivors' Pathway organization and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, provides services to LGBTQI youth overcoming trafficking.
Training & Education
With national studies finding 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18, Kristi House remains dedicated to child sexual abuse prevention training and education in its mission focused exclusively on child sexual abuse. We deliver best practice programs for schools, community groups, corporations and faith-based organizations, with different curricula specifically geared for children, parents and providers. In addition, since 2007 Kristi House has grown its practice and training to address a previously overlooked form of child sexual abuse, the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Kristi House offers programs for children, parents/caregivers and the service provider community. Since founding 23 years ago, Kristi House has provided classes, training and education programs to more than 112,000 participants.
The C-START (Child Sexual-related Trauma Advocacy, Response & Treatment) project is Kristi House's federal SAMHSA-funded grant program designed to build community-wide capacity to deliver evidence-based, trauma-informed, culturally competent treatment interventions for child victims of sexual abuse and child commercial sexual exploitation. It began in 2012 and was awarded another five years in 2016. C-START engages multiple stakeholders to ensure that children receive appropriate screening, referral to services, and quality treatment. C-START includes clinicians, case managers, supervisors and senior leaders from agencies who come into contact with children who have experienced sexual abuse and sex trafficking. Major faculty partners in the project include master trainers and model developers from the Medical University of South Carolina, Allegany General Hospital's Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents, and the University of Miami Department of Psychology Child Division.