The Aiken based non-profit, Children’s Place Inc., just received a $743,000 grant for a program to help at risk-families.
The program is called SafeCare and it has already proven to be successful in 27 states and 8 different countries. Friday marks the first implementation for South Carolina.
Children’s Place Inc. Executive Director Peggy Ford says she has wanted to bring SafeCare to the Palmetto State for almost 17 years. She just needed the money to make it happen and now she has it.
“I have been on the search for a way to implement this program since 2003,” Ford says.
Thanks to a 4 year, $743,000 commitment from The Duke Endowment, Children’s Place Inc. can train staff and clinicians in the SafeCare model to help families in Aiken, Barnwell, Bamberg, Edgefield and McCormick counties.
“It also allow us to have an incentive program for families so it actually incentivises families practicing the things that we are going to be teaching,” Ford explains.
Ford and her team will offer the resource to the families they already serve and anyone can refer themselves or loved ones.
Dr. Shannon Self-Brown is the Co-director of the National SafeCare Training and Research Center at Georgia State University. She visited Aiken to kick off the training on Friday.
“SafeCare is a program that’s delivered to parents 0-5 years and he goal is really to improve the trajectories of children who may have some risk in their lives for one reason or another,” Dr. Self-Brown says.
The SafeCare program focus on three main target areas: improvement of the parent/ child relationship, home safety and management of common child illnesses and injuries.
“The SafeCare curriculum could benefit any parent,” Dr. Self-Brown says. “But generally speaking, around the country, when we’re implemented, it’s with parents who have some sort of risk factor. It could be poverty. It could be that they’re a single parent, that they’re a young parent, that they have numerous children under 5 years of age. It could be that the parent has struggled with some mental health issues or some substance abuse issues.”
Ford says this kind of investment can have a noticeable economic impact also because it improves the pool of people who are job ready.
“Our whole goal is to bring lots of community people together to surround vulnerable children and families and those vulnerable children and families could be any of us at any point in time. We need to have communities that care and wrap and support those children and families,” Ford says.
Another reason Ford believes in SafeCare, she says it is manageable for families. The program is comprised of 18 sessions that are broken into 3 groups of 6 sessions each.
The staff and clinicians who work with Children’s Place Inc. started their portion of the SafeCare training on Friday.