Children with Problematic Sexual Behavior

Pathways for Stronger Families: A Treatment Program for Families with Children with Problematic Sexual Behavior

Some sexual play between young children close in age, such as playing doctor or looking at private parts, is considered normal. However, some children display intrusive, aggressive or coercive sexual behaviors. This is inappropriate and potentially harmful to these children and their peers. The Assessment and Treatment Program for Children With Problematic Sexual Behavior serves families with children who have demonstrated inappropriate sexual behavior.

Any child can be affected. Both boys and girls display problematic sexual behavior and sexual abuse isn’t necessarily a factor. In fact, most children who have been sexually abused do not exhibit these problems. However, research suggests that many factors can contribute, including:

  • Family sexuality patterns
  • Exposure to sexual material
  • Exposure to family violence
  • Physical abuse
  • Other non-sexual behavior problems

This pioneering program is nationally recognized for its success in treating children.

Help begins with a phone call

Many youngsters who exhibit inappropriate sexual behavior can be helped with outpatient treatment from 12 to 32 weeks. They can live at home and attend school and other outside activities without jeopardizing the safety of other children. Most do not continue to have sexual behavior problems into adolescence and adulthood. Kristi House is providing a program for children ages 7 to 12 years and their caregivers. Behaviors for which children are referred include:

  • Repeatedly exposing themselves to others
  • Excessive masturbation
  • Failure to recognize socially acceptable physical boundaries
  • Aggressive sexual acts

Who can refer to this program

Kristi House’s assessment and group therapy services are provided without cost to the family, except for parking fees. Contact us if you know a child who might benefit from this program. We accept referrals from parents and guardians; DCF; mental health, medical, school and other professionals; law enforcement and State Attorney’s Office; and Miami-Dade Juvenile Services.

Group Treatment

The first step is an assessment to determine of the group treatment program is a good fit for the child and family. If accepted into the program, children will learn:

  • Guidelines for appropriate sexual behavior
  • Privacy and boundary rules
  • social skills

Caregivers (parents, foster parents, grandparents) also must participate in the weekly program. They learn:

  • To distinguish normal from problematic sexual behaviors in children
  • Appropriate responses to children’s sexual behaviors
  • Ways to prevent sexual behavior problems
  • Effective responses to other behavior problems

Children and their caregivers attend separate meetings once a week in the early evening. In joint sessions, children and caregivers can practice new skills.

All Pathways sessions will be held at Kristi House’s main location.

For more information, contact the Project Coordinator, Therapist Michelle Hernandez, LMHC, or Therapy Supervisor Ricardo Rubiales, LCSW. Via phone call: 305-547-6800

This program is funded in part by National Children’s Foundation.

Download Pathways brochure (139 KB)