fbpx Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center and Medical University of South Carolina Receive Grant Support for Project BEST’s Next Phase - Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center

Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center and Medical University of South Carolina Receive Grant Support for Project BEST’s Next Phase

January 25, 2024

The Duke Endowment Fund awards $3,390,000 in a 5-year grant to support Project BEST creating a centralized resource or intermediary for trauma-informed practices.

The Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center is excited to announce that The Duke Endowment has awarded a 5-year grant in the amount of $3,390,000 to support Project BEST’s next phase as a centralized resource or intermediary for trauma-informed practices. Project BEST (Bringing Empirically Supported Treatments to South Carolina Children and Families) is a partnership between the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center and the Medical University of South Carolina that has been funded by The Duke Endowment since 2007. Project BEST is a state-wide collaborative effort that uses innovative dissemination, training, and implementation strategies to increase the capacity of communities in South Carolina to deliver evidence-supported trauma-focused practices to every abused and traumatized child who needs them.

The goal of Project BEST is to ensure that all children in South Carolina who have experienced abuse and resulting trauma symptoms, receive appropriate, evidence-supported mental health assessment and psycho-social treatment services. The new five-year grant award aims to establish Project BEST as an intermediary, or a centralized resource for trauma-focused evidence-based practices to reduce the negative impact of trauma and abuse on children and families in South Carolina.

“At Dee Norton, we believe all children in our community deserve trauma informed, evidence-based treatment,” says Beverly Hutchison, Executive Director at Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center. “Through the generosity and confidence of The Duke Endowment and partnership between the Medical University of South Carolina and Dee Norton, Project BEST will continue to do our best in expanding the availability, and sustainability, of care in our community and our state.”

This phase of funding will allow Project BEST to increase knowledge and awareness of trauma and its impact amongst professionals, resource families, and caregivers to build broad support for child victims. It will assist in building the workforce through training and education while infusing a cultural equity lens into training and discussions. Even more, it will support sustained evidence-based practice implementation across the state through policy work and advocacy.

“We are very thankful for The Duke Endowment’s generous and ongoing support of Project BEST and for the opportunity to continue our efforts to improve the lives of children and families who have been impacted by abuse and other traumatic events. The Project BEST team remains steadfast in our commitment to promote collaboration across the many different professionals and systems that serve these families to ensure that every child across our state who needs services receives the best quality of care possible,” says Dr. Rochelle Hanson, Co-Director of Project BEST.

Dr. Carole Swiecicki, Co-Director of Project BEST, adds there is a recognized public health crisis in youth mental health, which she finds evident in mental health services in South Carolina. “Like many sectors, the mental health workforce has seen unprecedented need despite attrition among staff. Those staff that remain helping youth need high quality training. Our state’s youth also need advocacy and education at the state level to inform policies that support their well-being and recovery after experiencing trauma.  By expanding our role as an intermediary, the Project BEST team can continue to support our workforce, and as a result, traumatized youth across the state.”

“The Duke Endowment is proud to continue to support the work of Project BEST,” said Phil Redmond, Director of the Child and Family Well-Being program area at The Duke Endowment. “Dee Norton is a nationally recognized leader in evidence-based, trauma-informed practices and programs. We are excited about their partnership with MUSC to ensure children across South Carolina have access to the supports they need.”


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