Pee Dee Resiliency Project works to prevent the long-term impact of poverty, mental health and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by using schools as a resource and support for families.

Schools serving as the gateway to community support

Children’s Trust has teamed up with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, University of South Carolina School Behavioral Health Team Department of Psychology), and Pee Dee Mental Health Center in a three-year project funded by the BlueCross BlueShield Foundation of South Carolina to prevent childhood adversity. Community-based partnerships between teachers, principals and community health professionals – specifically trained in supporting families and children – work to help student and their families prevent, cope and recover from emotional and behavioral challenges that interfere with a student's success. The project focuses on increasing understanding of adversity, updating school policies to better support students and their families, and improving school connections to community resources.

Addressing a targeted need in the Pee Dee

59%

of adults report ACEs

13%

experience mental illness in the household during childhood

48%

of kids in Marion County live in poverty

Delivering impact

  • Increased student well-being and achievement with improved access to mental health services, resources and compassionate school model
  • Increased family well-being with greater access to mental health services, community training and resources
  • Increased consistent and quality caregiving
  • Safer and more supportive communities through collaboration, training and meetings

What they’re saying

“I’ve always thought services in elementary schools should be somewhat unique and tailored to meet the specific needs of children and families. The earlier we can get involved, the more impact we can have in the long run when children get to middle and high school. This is an excellent opportunity for us to develop a model and look at those best practices and evidence-based practices that need to occur that will truly impact the lives of children and families in the communities.”

LOUISE JOHNSON
director of children’s services at S.C Department of Mental Health’s Division of Children, Adolescents and Families

Participating schools

Darlington County School District

North Hartsville Elementary, Thornwell School for the Arts, West Hartsville Elementary

Florence County Districts 1, 2 and 4

Hannah-Pamplico Elementary, North Vista Elementary, Brockington Elementary

Marion County School District

Marion Intermediate, McCormick Elementary

Innovative partnerships addressing childhood adversity

The project is part of the South Carolina Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Initiative to prevent childhood adversity by building child, family and community resilience. It is the result of an innovative partnership between several organizations and businesses. The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.