Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $600,000)
Epworth Children’s Home proposes to build upon its current model for addressing the needs of at-risk and high-risk youth, a program that has operated for two decades. The program will take a strengths-based, youth-driven, trauma-informed, and individualized approach to care that incorporates several evidence-based practices to ensure the best possible outcomes for youth transitioning out of care. The program will offer a robust array of services consisting of professional, vocational, behavioral health, and assessment services, as well as transportation, linkage to community supports, and assistance with concrete needs.
The primary goal of the program will be to promote self-sufficiency, well-being, and independent living skills for youth served while reducing risk factors, increasing adaptive coping strategies and social supports, and addressing maladaptive behaviors to promote prosocial functioning and improved clinical outcomes. Outcomes will be measured through objective assessments and completion of individualized service plans that target financial literacy and asset building; vocational and educational goals; clinical treatment; and self-sufficiency.
The program will serve young adults ages 18-25 who have a history of foster care involvement, child poverty, child abuse or neglect, human trafficking, juvenile justice involvement, substance use or misuse or gang involvement. A requirement of participation in this program is youth commitment to pursuing higher education, vocational training, or youth who are pursuing employment. The program will be housed in one of Epworth’s 14-bed cottages located on its Trenholm Road Campus located in Columbia, SC which is located on a private 19-acre campus. The cottage has two separate wings that are connected by a shared common area with a kitchen attached. The privacy of this campus serves to create a safe space that helps to reduce risk factors and behaviors that can be associated with youth living in public communities when transitioning directly from care or a more secured environment. The facility is located on a campus with other youth transitioning from foster care, juvenile justice, or who are privately placed.
The program will utilize several evidence-based practices and will consist of three stages: the orientation and assessment stage, the action stage, and the aftercare stage. Progression through the program stages will be driven by on-going evaluation of progress and mastery of self-sufficiency skills and completion of goals and objectives established in the individual service plan. Aftercare programs will continue to provide support and assistance to program participants as they begin to live independently in the community.