Sept. 29, 2012 – 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 $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The four-year grant will enable the creation of a Community Treatment and Services Center, to be named C-START, which will build agency and community-wide capacity to deliver evidence-based, trauma-informed, culturally competent treatment interventions for child victims of sexual abuse and children with sexual behavior problems in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.

“This grant will expand our expertise and capacity to help children in our community who have suffered sexual abuse trauma,” Kristi House’s Board President Nelson Diaz said. “It’s also significant in the resources our community will be able to tap as a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the preeminent national body for collaborating professionals dealing with child trauma.”

The C-START Center (Child Sexual-related Trauma Advocacy, Response and Treatment) will be created in partnership with Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc., the community-based care lead agency for the State’s privatized child welfare system that oversees all the foster care agencies in the two counties. This network will create with Kristi House a coordinated, multi-disciplinary, trauma-informed community response system for child sexual abuse, working with clinicians and caseworkers at the agencies.

“We are extremely pleased to continue our work with Kristi House, which we consider to be our community’s expert in trauma-informed practice for child sexual abuse,” Our Kids CEO Frances Allegra said. “This project will be a huge benefit for our community and the children in our care, and our clinicians are eager to participate in the series of training planned through the learning collaborative.”

Major partners in the project also include master trainers and experts from the Medical University of South Carolina’s National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Oklahoma University’s Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The collaborative will involve service providers throughout Miami-Dade and Monroe who come into contact with children who have suffered sexual-related trauma.

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