The South Carolina Youth Advocate Program (SCYAP) is South Carolina’s premier provider of foster care and community-based services.
We are a private, non-profit, 501(c)3 child-placing and family-serving organization. SCYAP has served children and families in South Carolina since 1990.
SCYAP programs promote individualized treatment, flexible programming, case and cause advocacy, community-based services, and a positive approach to treating children and working with families. We have a comprehensive array of programs and services to children and families dealing with serious emotional, behavioral, psychological and/or development issues.
History and Background
SCYAP was established in 1990 to provide out of home, specialized foster care for youth with special needs. Services began in Charleston, SC and quickly spread up the state’s coastline. As the number of foster homes and youth and families being served by SCYAP continued to increase, the State Office was relocated to Columbia and regional offices were opened throughout the state.
Since our inception, SCYAP has grown in our scope of work and service spectrum. While our largest program continues to be foster care services, a significant part of our array of services now includes non-residential, community-based services.
Today, SCYAP offers a comprehensive array of programs and services to youth and families dealing with difficult issues and crises. Creativity and flexibility in our programming and service delivery are the mainstays of our approach to working with youth and families, placing their needs at the forefront of everything we do.
Who We Serve
SCYAP serves both males and females and does not discriminate by race, color, religious creed, ancestry, gender, gender expression, national origin, sexual orientation, or the seriousness or complexity of disability or need.
The primary target population served by SCYAP is considered to be at-risk or special needs children. We serve children with a broad spectrum of emotional, behavioral, mental, and medical needs and their families.
Typically these children are in need of out-of-home therapeutic care, community-based programming, and/or in-home intervention services. Depending on the service(s) provided, SCYAP is able to serve children ages birth to twenty-one and their families.
The treatment philosophy behind all SCYAP programs is grounded in the mission of the organization.
The basic beliefs that drive our programs are (1) all children deserve a permanent home and family and (2) children should be served in the most normalized and least restrictive environment possible.
As the framework for therapeutic interventions, SCYAP works under the tenets of Positive Youth Development. Interventions centered with the concepts of Positive Youth Development focus on giving children the chance to build skills, leadership and to be involved in their community.
Our Mission and Ideals
SCYAP believes that every child has the right to a permanent home and family; that a child’s family and community are valuable resources for promoting positive growth and overall development.
SCYAP promotes the use of community-based alternatives to institutional care, provided within the least restrictive environment appropriate for meeting the needs of every individual and family member receiving company services.
SCYAP develops and provides a wide range of therapeutic services to meet the needs of children and their families. SCYAP collaborates with the family, community and other agencies to provide individualized care and family services that promote stability. SCYAP strives to help children and their families reach their potential.
In dealing with very troubled youth and their families, SCYAP has established strong ideals to keep our mission at the forefront of our operations. These ideals include:
Our commitment to our youth and families is steadfast and never ending. We will persevere with them, even when the barriers appear insurmountable and solutions obscure.
Our success as an organization is intrinsically tied to the success of our youth and their families.
We will provide flexible, adaptable, and innovative programming to best meet the needs of our youth and families and we will advocate for the creation of modified and/or new programming when the available service array is inadequate for meeting their needs.
We will be open-minded and inclusive in our approach to working with children and families and be respectful of the culture and heritage of our youth and families.
We are committed to the growth and development of our staff and foster parents. Only through their continued learning and increased abilities are we best able to meet our mission.
Openness and Transparency
SCYAP recognizes that building an organization committed to the highest ethical standards demands more than just following rules, regulations and law; it also requires fostering practices that create an environment of transparency, accountability, and integrity. SCYAP is committed to providing our services and business practices in an open and transparent manner that earns and sustains trust through honest, truthful, and responsible transactions, partnerships, and relationships with individuals, communities, providers, businesses, donors, funders, and government entities.
SCYAP is incorporated as the South Carolina Youth Advocate Program, Inc. within the State of South Carolina. The general management of the company is vested in the authority of the company’s Board of Directors. The Board assigns responsibility for the day to day operations of SCYAP to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
We believe that quality staff is essential to the quality of services. Managerial, administrative, program and support staff positions are identified to meet the company needs. Front-line or direct care positions are assigned to programs/services according to staff to client ratio requirements and needs, contractual or other regulatory requirements, and educational and experience requirements.
Positions that form the Executive Team of the company include the CEO, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Associate Executive Director, and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Other key management positions include the Human Resources Director, the Director of Community-Based Services, the Special Projects Director, Regional Directors, Program Directors, Director of Admissions, and the Director of Governmental Relations. Vital direct care positions at SCYAP include (but are not limited to): Treatment Coordinators, Independent Living Coordinators, Licensing Coordinators, Therapists, and Wrap Advocates.
SCYAP provides services on a statewide basis, unless geography limited by contractual standards. The SCYAP State Office is located in Columbia, South Carolina. Regional offices are strategically placed throughout the State in Columbia, Charleston, Florence, Greenville, and Myrtle Beach, and a satellite office of the Charleston Region is maintained in Beaufort. Having regional and satellite offices throughout the state allows us to become intricately involved in the local communities that we serve and to maintain youth as close to their home community as possible, when out-of-home placement is necessary.
Partners And Affiliations
SCYAP has been nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) for Family Preservation & Stabilization Services (FPS), Foster Care (FC), and Kinship Care Services (KC) since 2002. COA is the accrediting body for behavioral healthcare and human service organizations. Accreditation by COA is valued and formally recognized across the United States. The achievement and maintenance of COA accreditation indicates that SCYAP complies with nationally recognized standards of best practice at all levels of the organization and shows our commitment to excellence, continuous quality improvement, and dependable service delivery.
SCYAP is a member of the Foster Family Treatment Association (FFTA), a nationally recognized organization of treatment foster care providers established in 1988. FFTA’s membership is composed of agencies throughout North America currently operating treatment foster care programs. FFTA has standards for treatment foster care that member agencies voluntarily commit to following. FFTA is assisted by recognized researchers and policy-makers in the fields of child welfare and mental health.
SCYAP is a long-term member of the Palmetto Association for Children and Families (PAFCAF). Formally known as the South Carolina Association of Children’s Homes and Family Services, PAFCAF was created in 1986 to unite private child serving agencies and give them a place to exchange ideas, gain knowledge, and work to address issues related to the care giving to children and their families. PAFCAF promotes the best care possible for children and their families through advocacy, training, and quality improvement initiatives.
SCYAP encourages individual staff membership in the South Carolina Youth Worker’s Association (SCYWA), which exists as a forum for professionals and other concerned citizens. SCYWA’s membership includes legislators, professionals and others who have shaped policy in South Carolina over the years, as well as front-line workers and concerned citizens. SCYWA provides professional development as well as advocacy for legislation related to child welfare and children’s policy.
Established as a 501(c)(3) in 2008, Ticket to Dream is dedicated to providing hope and opportunity for foster children across the nation, so they can just be kids. The Ticket to Dream Foundation starts with joining forces with businesses and local communities to ensure foster youth of all ages have the school supplies, holiday gifts, properly fitting clothing and shoes that all children need to thrive. Ticket to Dream provides and funds enriching life experiences like trips to the zoo, sport team registration and fees, music lessons, and registrations for summer camp, with the understanding that such experiences teach important life skills, create normalcy, friendships and bring joy to childhood.
Since 2016, SCYAP has partnered with the Mattress Firm Foster Kids program, which is designed to make a positive impact on the lives of foster children in need by providing both in-kind and monetary contributions to non-profit foster care organizations. Participating Mattress Firm locations hold year-round donation drives to collect clothing, pajamas, shoes, school supplies and holiday gifts and also fundraise at all store locations to help fund essential items foster children. Annually, the program’s Dollar Drive collects funds to help foster children join in on extracurricular activities, such as music lessons, team sports, dance lessons and summer camp.
Referring Agencies and Public Partners
SCYAP is licensed as a child-placing agency through the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) and each of our individual foster homes are licensed by SCDSS to care for children and youth. We are funded from purchase of service contracts with a wide range of referring agencies, including SCDSS, the Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the Governor’s Office Continuum of Care for Emotionally Disturbed Children (COC), the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN), the State Department of Education (DOE) and local school districts. In addition, we have a Memorandum of Agreement with the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB) to provide emergency placements for children who attend this school during the week and for various reasons are unable to return home during scheduled or emergency school closings.
South Carolina Department of Social Services
South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice
South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs
South Carolina Department of Mental Health
South Carolina State Department of Education
The Governor’s Office Continuum of Care for Emotionally Disturbed Children