A Brief History of Carolina Youth Development Center’s Callen-Lacey Center for Children

Carolina Youth Development Center’s (CYDC) Callen-Lacey Center for Children was established in response to a critical need identified by the 1992 Trident United Way Needs Assessment The assessment identified several critical areas of focus for the community including supporting children in crisis. As a result, members of the community came together to form the Give Me Shelter Committee which would focus on addressing this important issue.

As a result of CYDC’s history and success serving the Lowcountry through its residential care and community-based programs, the Give Me Shelter Committee, Berkeley County office of the Department of Social Services (DSS) and Trident United Way asked CYDC to establish a shelter in Berkeley County to serve children in crisis.

With the support of individuals and businesses in the Berkeley County community including, Trident United Way, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, the Housing Trust Fund of SC and the Duke Endowment, funds were raised to build a new residential, group home in Moncks Corner that would provide a safe and nurturing environment to help youth and families reach their full potential.

Since its opening in 1998, CYDC’s Callen-Lacey Center for Children has been home to more than 900 children ranging in age from newborn to 17 years old. The center’s doors stay open to serve children and youth 24-hours a day 365 days a year.

The center is dedicated to the memories of Dr. William H. Lacey and Mrs. Maude E. Callen. Dr. Lacey was a renowned, local, family practitioner who served the Berkeley County community for decades. Mrs. Callen, a nurse-midwife who served the Berkeley County community for much of her life, was also a member of the Berkeley County Department of Health as a public health nurse. Because of their legacy of over 50  years  of selfless giving and caring for the citizens of Berkeley County, Callen-Lacey Center for Children, strives to maintain their legacy by ensuring that each child in care is nurtured by that same spirit.

Today, CYDC’s Callen-Lacey Center for Children remains an integral part of the Lowcountry community.

Residential Services

In close partnership with DSS, CYDC assists in the transition of the child back to home or to a more permanent home environment.  At capacity,12 children ages birth to 21 years old can be cared for  at the Callen-Lacey Center for Children. The length of stay is typically decided by DSS and a dependency/juvenile court judge, with stays ranging from a few days to a few years. In 2019 the average stay was 143 days per child. CYDC’s programs have been continuously accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) since 1980.

Teaching-Family Model 

In all of our residential programs, we use the Teaching-Family Model (TFM) , an evidence-based and trauma-informed best practice treatment approach. TFM is a philosophy and practice of care and treatment that prioritizes therapeutic relationships with caregivers as the primary conduit of effective treatment in supportive family-style settings. 

Family-style relationships are seen as essential to healthy development of social, relational, and interpersonal skills. The TFM is a strength-based, comprehensive, and trauma-informed model of care that builds positive change while remaining focused on the holistic development of the person served. 

The model is rooted in cognitive behavioral theory and can be used with children, youth, and adults with a range of diagnoses and symptoms, as well as with those who have experienced significant trauma, maltreatment and loss.

Community-Based Programs

Community Based Prevention Services 

CYDC’s Community-Based Prevention Services team provides critical home-based support services for families in crisis, serving over 100 families managed by eight case managers and two supervisors. CYDC case managers complete face-to-face visits, link families to community resources and service providers, and provide essential prevention services such as parenting skills, education, and goal development.

Teen After School Center

CYDC’s Teen After School Center delivers robust afterschool programming to youth in residence at CYDC in both Charleston and Berkeley Counties. In addition to daily enrichment and educational programming, participants in the Teen Afterschool Center build critical life and resiliency skills through the ARISE Life Skills and Success Highways Resiliency Skill Building curricula.

ARISE Life Skill Building, Casey Life Skills Assessments and other tools and resources are specific to the needs of youth in foster care and focused on teaching life skills that range from cooking to resume building and interviewing to financial management and building positive relationships.

Success Highways Resiliency Skill Building Curriculum is a science-based, standards aligned curriculum proven to build the six resiliency skills students need to persevere and succeed in school. The program has been proven to improve attendance, grades and graduation rates.

Strengthening Families Program 

CYDC offers the Strengthening Families Parenting Program through our Callen-Lacey Center for Children. The Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is an evidence-based family skills training program for high-risk and general population families that is recognized both nationally and internationally. Parents and youth attend weekly SFP skills classes together, learning parenting skills and youth life and refusal skills. Participants start sessions with a family meal then have separate class training for parents and youth the first hour, followed by a combined  family practice session the second hour.