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Waccamaw Youth Center is a private, non-profit agency committed to providing comprehensive residential services for up to 16 abused, neglected, and abandoned youth ages 12-21. It is the first and only low management group home in Horry County. Our objective is to allow the adolescents in our care to remain in the community while receiving the long-term therapeutic services they so desperately need. The organizations goals are to provide opportunities for the development of a positive self-esteem, assist with the advancement of academic/vocational abilities, and teach the life skills necessary to become productive, contributing members of society. In addition, we strive to help the adolescents in our care grow past their painful experiences and discover the happiness and security that can be reached through healthy, nurturing relationships. The programs success is largely measured by how well our residents are able to surround themselves with a caring network of community supporters demonstrating that the community does not hold them responsible for their own child abuse and neglect. It is only then that they will acquire a sense of belonging and value within the community The Waccamaw Youth Center strives to reflect a spirit of equality and acceptance by providing quality services to children regardless of race, creed, or religion.
Statement of Need: In 1974, South Carolina became the first state to enact legislation establishing a statewide case-study review program, which states that DSS has the responsibility of investigating reports of child abuse and neglect. According to the 2000 Annual Fifty State Survey conducted by the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse, child abuse reports have maintained a steady growth for the past ten years, with the total number of reports nationwide increasing 45% since 1987. The Foster Kids Count report for 2003 recognized that in 2002: 1) There were 275 children in out of home placements in Horry County alone. 2) The average child who left care had lived in 3.8 different placements. 3) Children age 16 or older experienced the most changes in placement on average, 7.2 placements compared to 3.1 placements for children between ages 6 and 15, and 3.1 placements for children 5 years of age or younger. Before WYC was established, there was no long-term residential placement in our area to address the needs of adolescents in the custody of DSS. Currently, the Center is the first and only low management group home in Horry County, the largest county in South Carolina.
- Cierra Larrimore
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