Award expands Kristi House’s C-START community collaborative for child sexual-related trauma to encompass trafficking interventions


Kristi House, Inc., the not-for-profit Children’s Advocacy Center serving Miami-Dade County that provides services and coordination of cases for children victimized by sexual abuse and sex trafficking, has been awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The five-year grant will continue Kristi House’s Community Treatment and Services Center, named C-START, to build agency and community-wide capacity to deliver evidence-based, culturally competent interventions for child victims overcoming trauma, especially related to sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation.

“This grant award – a testament to the excellence of our staff – will continue to expand our expertise to serve traumatized children in our community,” Kristi House’s Board President Kara Zeder said. “We trained 172 professionals at 17 agencies over the past four years as a result of SAMHSA funding. We are honored to be able to continue this work.”

C-START, which stands for Child Sexual-related Trauma Advocacy, Response and Treatment, will focus on children and youth who have experienced sexual abuse trauma, trafficking and co-occurring disorders. The project will work closely with model developers and master trainers on effective intervention and treatment for survivors of child sex trafficking.

“We are excited about the expertise we will be bringing to our community and look forward to inviting other service providers to participate in our learning collaboratives,” Kristi House CEO Claudia Kitchens said. “This project will be a huge benefit for children in our care throughout Miami-Dade County.”

Major faculty partners in the project include master trainers and model developers from the Medical University of South Carolina’s National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Allegany General Hospital’s Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents, and the University of Miami Department of Psychology Child Division.

“Our faculty partners on this project and our MDT agency partners who are the backbone of the Child Advocacy Center provide us with great support,” Ms. Kitchens said. “They are enabling us to advance our work and the field of understanding around child sex abuse and exploitation treatment.”

With this award Kristi House continues as a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the preeminent national body for collaborating professionals dealing with child trauma, affording significant resources for Miami-Dade County.



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