The Orlowitz-Lee Children’s Advocacy Center opened in March 1999 with the help and support of the Department of Children and Families and the State Attorney’s Office. Following the national model, Kristi House operates the Children’s Advocacy Center responsible for all of Miami-Dade Country, and coordinates the seven partner agencies who handle the legal, medical and emotional needs of child victims of sexual abuse.

Kristi House Chronology & Milestones
  • Task Force organized around the issue of child sexual abuse
  • Kristi House incorporated as 501(c)3
  • Challenge grant of $1 million received from Mr. Ellis Kent Orlowtiz at the suggestion of his daughter, Sheri Orlowitz
  • Ground broken for new center
  • $3 million raised for capital campaign, Orlowitz-Lee Center opens
  • Children’s Advocacy Center designation received
  • Therapy program launched
  • Kristi House receives full NCA membership accreditation
  • Operating budget is $1 million
  • 600 children served per year
  • New Executive Director and new Program Director named
  • Kristi House and FIU hold Multidisciplinary Conference on the Investigation of Child Abuse with a focus in mental health best practices for 150 professionals throughout South Florida and southeast U.S. region.
  • Kristi House receives accreditation from the Council on Accreditation.
  • Kristi House is chosen by Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc. to provide Comprehensive Assessments for all children in dependency care where there are allegations of sexual abuse.
  • Kristi House and FIU hold 2nd Annual Multidisciplinary Conference on the Investigation of Child Abuse for 200 professionals throughout South Florida and southeast U.S. region.
  • As Kristi House completes its first decade of service, the Board of Directors completes a planning process and adopts a 3-year Strategic Plan for growth.
  • First satellite office is opened in South Miami-Dade at 15321 S. Dixie Highway.
  • Kristi House receives the highly coveted Sapphire Award from The Blue Foundation for outstanding health services to underserved communities, including a $100,000 award.
  • Medical examinations of children under 12 are moved to Kristi House from Jackson Hospital Rape Treatment Center, a long-sought goal for minimizing the child’s trauma.
  • Second satellite office is opened in North Miami-Dade at 18441 NW 2nd Avenue.
  • Kristi House wins the NOVO Award for Non-Profit Innovation from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
  • Kristi House begins providing intervention and prevention services for commercially sexually exploited children.
  • South satellite office is expanded.
  • Kristi House receives three major grant awards from National Children’s Alliance, the only CAC in the country to be awarded in all three categories.
  • Kristi House chosen as one of 15 delegates from the United States to join nearly 3,000 people from five continents in Brazil for the World Congress III against the Sexual Exploitation of Children, November 2008.
  • Trudy Novicki named by Miami Today “Best of Miami” Civic Leader, May 2008
  • Kristi House is one of three Urban Initiative sites named by National Children’s Alliance for its ground-breaking work with commercially sexually exploited children.
  • Kristi House opens its drop-in center for the commercially sexually exploited children’s program at the Miami-Dade County Coordinated Victims Assistance Center at 2400 S. Dixie Hwy.
  • Therapy program grows to serve more than 400 children annually.
  • The volunteer-driven Kristi House Touch a Heart Dinner celebrates its 10th anniversary and continues to raise 10-15% of annual operating budget.
  • Executive Director Trudy Novicki wins Women Who Make a Difference Award 2009 from Junior League of Miami
  • One of just three awarded in the country, Kristi House begins its major, multi-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for its Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children project. Prevention, collaboration and treatment are supported, along with a statewide dissemination plan. As a result, Kristi House would go on to train more than 7,500 service providers and other adults in CSEC and assist five Florida cities create a CSEC response plan.
  • Kristi House receives two major grants from National Children’s Alliance toward its therapy program; one for Haitian specialist and another to provide services in Homestead.
  • Awarded the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships grant for Project GOLD for four years, with local funders matching the national award for $1 million total toward CSEC.
  • Awarded the only Urban Initiative grant in the country by the National Children’s Alliance, a $100,000 award for piloting a best-practice, front-end clinical assessment process to streamline intake and serve more children with therapy faster.
  • Kristi House receives a four-year U.S. Department of Health and Human Services SAMHSA grant to enable the creation of a Community Treatment and Services Center, C-START, to 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.
  • Awarded two major grants from National Children’s Alliance, securing the most funding for the year among CACs nationwide and marking six consecutive years of expansion and improvement funding from NCA.
  • Legislation authored by Kristi House, the Florida Safe Harbor Act, becomes law on January 1, 2013, forever changing the way Florida views and treats child victims of sex trafficking, and providing for safe houses in the state.
  • • Awarded a program improvement grant from National Children’s Alliance for creation and dissemination of a statewide trauma education program in partnership with Florida International University.
  • Purchased and renovated neighborhood home to for Project GOLD that would later become the Drop In Center dedicated to commercially sexually exploited girls.
  • Awarded one of four U.S. Department of Justice, three-year grants given in the United States to expand Kristi House’s Project GOLD with a strong mentoring component.
  • Only Children’s Advocacy Center among 777 in United States to receive eight consecutive years of National Children’s Alliance grants for program improvement and expansion.
  • Board President Nelson Diaz wins the National Children’s Alliance’s highest honor, the Bud Cramer Award, for Safe Harbor advocacy work.
  • Awarded one of nine U.S. Department of Justice grants from the Office of Victims of Crime to add Project BOLD to serve sexually exploited youth in the LGBTQI community.
  • Kristi House Executive Director Claudia Kitchens named “Best of Miami” Non-profit Leader by Miami Today.
  • Project GOLD Director Maria Clara Rodriguez wins Attorney General Pam Bondi’s 2015 Distinguished Victim Services Award, one of 7 winners chosen in Florida.
  • Kristi House successfully completed its four-year federal SAMHSA grant, entitled Miami C-START, which had two goals: to improve community capacity to provide evidence-based treatment and to ensure traumatized children get better. The project provided training and practice with national master trainer faculty in two evidence-based interventions involving 172 therapists, case workers and senior leaders from 17 agencies. Dr. Amanda Jensen-Doss of the University of Miami Department of Psychology evaluated the C-START approach and concluded that participants found it to be useful and effective, were highly satisfied, and felt their practice was more trauma-informed. More than 1,200 children were served.
  • In another independent study of the emotional outcomes for the children who received treatment under C-START, the evaluation team from University of Miami Dunspaugh-Dalton Community & Educational Well-Being Research Center found clinically and statistically significant improvement in symptoms among children who completed treatment, including post-traumatic stress symptoms, anxiety, depression, anger, dissociation, and sexual concerns, among others.
  • Awarded a second SAMHSA grant for five years, $2 million total to continue and expand C-START, with a particular focus on child sex trafficking and substance abuse intervention.
  • Earned re-accreditation with high marks by Council on Accreditation.