Residential Services

When children arrive at Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) they are in need of a safe, stable place to call home. CYDC has become that home for thousands of children and youth over its 230-plus years of providing services and support for children who have experienced trauma in our community.

Known for its reputation as a leader in the state of South Carolina for providing comprehensive treatment for children and adolescents who have experienced emotional, physical and sexual trauma, CYDC continues serving the community with various programs. CYDC’s programs include three residential care facilities to provide temporary and/or long-term care for children and youth suffering from the impact of emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse.

There are two facilities housed on our North Charleston Campus including Charleston Emergency Shelter (CES) and the Ledford House.

While at CYDC, children are provided with a safe and supportive environment that helps introduce normalcy and consistency in their daily lives and activities. They also receive important trauma-informed assessments and support services designed to address each child’s individual educational, emotional, physical and social needs. 

In close partnership with the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS), CYDC assists in the transition of the child back to home or to a more permanent home environment.  At capacity, 49 children ages birth to 21 can be housed in four CYDC facilities (including Nu House and our 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 median stay was 143 days per child.  CYDC’s programs have been continuously accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) since 1980.


Opened in Fall 2018, NuHouse is a residential group home located on CYDC’s North Charleston campus providing transitional housing for youth aging out of foster care. Young adults ranging in age from 17 to 21 years old live in a supportive environment that focuses on helping young adults transition, with skills and confidence, to living independently.

NuHouse is run with a house parent model. Two sets of married couples trade off living in the home around the clock for one week at a time. This model is designed to provide stability while also exposing youth to healthy adult relationships. Houseparents assist the youth with everyday skills including budgeting, cooking, buying and maintaining a vehicle, gathering documents such as birth certificates and licenses, all of which are geared towards independent living.

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.

Family Support Center

CYDC’s Family Support Center, located in the George Williams building on CYDC’s North Charleston campus, is focused on providing Lowcountry families with the support and services they need to remain intact and thrive. Services include

  • Community-Based Prevention Services delivered in-home to increase a family’s ability to parent and handle everyday stressors, help build a support system for the family and build a parent’s confidence to care for and raise their children.
  • Family Therapy as a way to address trauma as a family or open lines of communication in ways that benefit the family as a unit. 
  • Individual Therapy to address individual trauma, well-being and mental health.

Services are provided by master’s level human services clinicians, therapists and group facilitators.

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 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.

Freedom Schools

CYDC is a partner of The Children’s Defense Fund and offers a summer Freedom Schools program to provide enrichment through a model curriculum that supports children and families around five essential components: 

  • High-quality academic enrichment; 
  • Parent and family involvement;  
  • Civic engagement and social action;  
  • Intergenerational leadership development; and 
  • Nutrition, health and mental health. 

The Freedom Schools program boosts student motivation to read, generates more positive attitudes toward learning, and connects the needs of children and families to the resources of their communities.