South Carolina

2629 Ion Avenue
Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482
(843) 412-6706

Elizabeth Ralston, PhD was the founding director of the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center, Inc. (DNLCC) an accredited Children’s Advocacy Center located in Charleston, South Carolina and, since her retirement in 2012, has served as their Director Emeritus.

Dr. Ralston is on the clinical faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Medical University of South Carolina. She has served on the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) Board of Directors and the NCA mental health standard revision committee, and participated in the partnership between NCA and NCTSN to develop the CAC Director’s Guide to Mental Health services. She currently serves as the vice chair of the South Carolina Children’s Justice Act Task Force.

Dr. Ralston served as the project director when DNLCC was designated as a Level III Center 2008, and implemented a community-based learning collaborative in the Charleston area in the provision of evidence-supported treatment for children with sexual behavior problems funded through SAMSHA. She has served as the co-director of Project BEST since 2007. This project, funded by the Duke Endowment, is a partnership between MUSC and NCVRC, and has developed and utilized a community based learning collaborative coordinated through Children’s Advocacy Centers.
The goal of Project BEST is to increase the availability of evidence-based treatment to the children of South Carolina by training community mental health professionals in the delivery of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy with fidelity, and training community treatment brokers to do evidence-based treatment planning and case management.

In 2013, Project BEST was expanded to the South Carolina Trauma Practice Initiative, a partnership between the Duke Endowment, the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center, the National Crime Victims Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, and the South Carolina Department of Social Services. The goal of SCTPI is to increase to 100% the number of professionals trained through PB by training the majority of clinicians, supervisors, and senior leaders within the public mental health system, as well as caseworkers, supervisors, and senior leaders within the child welfare system. This project is expected to significantly increase the availability of evidence-based practice to the children of South Carolina and also to increase the collaboration between mental health and child welfare professionals, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for abused/traumatized children and their families in South Carolina.

Medical University of South Carolina, Program on Adolescent Traumatic Stress

Funding Period: 
[2012 - 2016 and 2003 - 2007]

The Program on Adolescent Traumatic Stress (PATS) will further adapt, develop, evaluate, and disseminate evidence-based, culturally relevant, trauma-informed interventions and resources for traumatized adolescents; and will increase access to and build capacity nationally for the delivery of these interventions and services for this population. To achieve these goals the program will: 1) develop Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents (TF-CBT-A); 2) adapt and develop NCTSN products that support delivery of effective, trauma-informed services for adolescents involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems; and 3) evaluate, disseminate, and implement Risk Reduction through Family Therapy (RRFT)—an intervention designed to reduce substance use risk and trauma-related mental health problems among abused adolescents. The target population area is the Southeastern United States (which has high rates of youth victimization and a disproportionate number of youth involved in the child welfare system) to increase the capacity of and access to evidence-based, trauma-focused interventions. PATS will train 960 practitioners across six states through 12 additional Learning Collaboratives and Community-Based Learning Collaboratives.

Rochelle Hanson
(843) 792-2945

Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center

Funding Period: 
[2009 - 2012]
The Dee Norton Lowcounty Children’s Center (DNLCC) is a children’s advocacy center serving Charleston and Berkeley Counties in South Carolina. As a Category III site, the original project aimed to increase access to treatment for children and their non-offending caregivers traumatized by abuse who exhibit or who are at risk for exhibiting sexual behavior problems (SBPs). The goal was to reduce the negative impacts of SBP by increasing the number of direct services provided by clinicians and community partners trained in evidence-supported treatment interventions for 252 children and their non-offending caregivers. The children and caregivers DNLCC serves come from diverse ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. DNLCC implements the SBP treatments developed by the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, as well as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, parent-child interaction therapy, and risk reduction family therapy. The Center trains mental health professionals and provides evidence-based treatment plans, case management, and monitoring for children and their families through weekly CAC multidisciplinary team case reviews.
Carole Swiecicki, Ph.D
(843) 723-3600
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