The home plans to open to girls referred from probation and child welfare officials in the third week of August.
The organization was founded to help girls and women "heal from their trauma and to provide opportunities for them," said Williams, "because, honestly, there haven't been a lot of opportunities for them."
"We want them to become economically self-sufficient and, of course, we want them to encounter the love of Christ, which gives meaning and direction to all of our lives, and eternal life," she said.
The Refuge works out of a home in San Diego County.
It can house up to six girls who may stay for up to two years "so that they can have the best opportunity possible for healing and healthy integration into society," the organization's website said. The home provides targeted mental health treatment, family relationship building, life skills development like self-care and job readiness, and individualized academic coursework.
For Williams, the Catholic faith brings a deeper vision to helping victims.
"Catholic organizations are the most equipped for service," she added, saying the Catholic understanding of human dignity can combine with professional training.
"We just have so much to offer," said Williams, who co-chaired the San Diego Board of Supervisors' Human Trafficking Advisory Council Victim Service Committee from 2015 to 2019.
Though there are increasing questions about difficulties for Catholic organizations operating under U.S. law, Williams had advice.
"It's really a question of 'do not be afraid.' I think a lot of Catholics avoid doing anything in the public square because it's hard," she told CNA.
"We're going to be misunderstood, we're going to be judged, people are not going to want us around," she said. "However, we have everything to offer, and nothing to lose."
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"Maybe the cultural milieu is not on our side, but the constitution is on our side, which is why we felt comfortable filing the lawsuit," she added. "In the end, we didn't even have to finish it in court."
The Refuge project was backed by San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. In a 2017 letter to state officials, she called Children of the Immaculate Heart a "strong partner" and a "constant presence in the fight against human trafficking." She urged officials to issue the license, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The organization has a housing and rehabilitation program for adult women survivors of sex trafficking who have children. As of December, it was serving 13 women and their 18 children.
Officials' feedback to the group's application for the young girls home questioned how the charity would serve non-religious youth.
Licensing officials voiced concern that the organization did not detail how it would ensure transportation to LGBTQ programs or would ensure procedures for "gender transition" medication. The state said the nonprofit did not provide an explanation or a procedure to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
Children of the Immaculate Heart said its nondiscrimination policy is adequate and that there is no rule requiring caregivers to administer medication in transgender procedures.