• Thursday, September 27, 2012

Responding to unmet needs in schools expected to improve academic performance

A child is brought to Dorchester Children’s Center (DCC) with evidence of abuse or neglect. DCC provides a vast array of services that help reduce trauma for the child, stabilize the family and promote healing in the child that, in turn, facilitate improved academic performance.
In rural Dorchester County, where services are stretched thin, a powerful new collaborative among Dorchester Children’s Center, Dorchester 4 School District and Trident United Way could help identify children in need of these services who otherwise may not receive this help.
In an effort to reach children where they are – in the schools – DCC will coordinate Trident United Way’s Links to Success initiative at Harleyville Elementary/Harleyville-Ridgeville Middle School. This will allow DCC to reach hundreds more children who need their services. Their efforts will also address unmet needs in the schools and help Trident United Way increase high school graduation communitywide.
“The ACES study, a long-term study of adults who were abused as children showed a shocking increase in poverty, poor health, academic failure, crime and other social pathologies,” said Kay Phillips, executive director of Dorchester Children’s Center. “When kids don’t feel stable they aren’t able to concentrate on things they need to do emotionally and educationally.”
Trident United Way has invested $240,000 over the next three years in DCC’s efforts to coordinate Links to Success at Harleyville Elementary/Harleyville-Ridgeville Middle School. Links to Success is a research-based initiative that helps all children acquire the academic and life skills to graduate high school and be successful in life.  DCC will also provide other services at the school, including “body safety” classes for younger children, Internet safety classes for older ones, anti-bullying, Darkness to Light training for parents and staff, parenting classes, and training for school staff to recognize and respond to abuse and neglect.
Previously, DCC had provided services funded by Trident United Way, but not connected to the Links to Success initiative in the schools. “DCC has demonstrated strong collaborative relationships, expertise in research-based intervention that enhances outcomes for children, families and the community and true alignment with TUW's goals,” said Eileen Rossler, Vice President of Education and Program Evaluation. We are very excited to partner with them in this new way, adding the strength of their knowledge base to the Links to Success initiative.”
Trident United Way has committed to achieving the community’s three goals: increasing the high school graduation rate to 88%, increasing the number of people who are financially stable by 30% and increasing the number of people living healthy lifestyles by 25%. All of its work is centered around them.
Dorchester Children’s Center serves abused and neglected children and their families from Dorchester County and parts of Berkeley and Charleston Counties.

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