Working upstream

There is a parable about a villager who finds a baby floating in the river. The villager jumps in and saves the baby. The next day, the villager finds two more babies in the river. He brings the babies into the village and finds families to love and care for these new babies.

While the villagers are figuring out how to provide love, food, shelter for three new babies, they find more babies in the river. While they struggle to cope with their new responsibilities, the wise person in the village hikes upstream determined to get to the source of the problem.

Our approach to making prevention work

Much like that village when children come downstream, our partners immediately stabilize precarious situations through protective services, emergency shelters, medical care, and counseling. For Children’s Trust when we go upstream, we change the story. We focus on proven protections such as building strong support systems and positive family bonding skills, connecting families to resources, understanding child development and helping children handle their feelings and emotions.

Upstream is where we solve the problem by helping families before the crisis of abuse or neglect occurs. It is there that we can bring about lasting, positive change for our children.

We believe

One more case of child abuse is one too many.

Last year there were 16,134 1 children in founded investigations of child maltreatment.

The damage of abuse is too great.

And it lasts long after the danger and hurt have passed. Adverse childhood experiences create toxic stress that can impede normal growth and development. Treating the negative health and social outcomes can be staggering.

Generational cycles of abuse and neglect must be interrupted.

We focus on two-generation strategies, working with extended families to break entrenched cycles of abuse. When we get parents to a better place where they can navigate tough times through resiliency, we bring about lasting change for children through safe, stable homes.

Innovative programs have the power to transform.

We can’t expect better outcomes if we keep doing the same thing. We need new solutions – grounded in research and fueled by collaboration – that focus on sustainable programs to reduce child abuse and neglect in our state.

Prevention is the wise investment.

South Carolina spends approximately $1 billion annually in direct and indirect expenses associated with treatment of child abuse and neglect. Dedicated prevention resources, which are much less costly, would yield a tremendous return on the investment.

1. S.C. Department of Social Services, state fiscal year 2019-2020.

16,134 children were in founded investigations of child maltreatment.

Every child needs a champion

Children thrive when families are strong. Families are strong when communities wrap love and support around them. You can help a family in your neighborhood, volunteer at local community organizations, advocate for prevention-friendly policies or make a donation. Prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

Children need all of us working together.


Our prevention stories

Home visiting program changes lives

Kyleigh Lamb became pregnant in her junior year of high school and had to drop out to help support herself and her infant son. However, she discovered a lifeline in Nurse-Family Partnership, a home visiting program model that provides ongoing home visits from nurses to low-income, first-time moms, who receive the care and support they need to have a healthy pregnancy as well as gain skills and learn about resources related to child health and development, early education, and home safety.

Two years later, she completed the program while also rebounding to receive her high school degree, begin college classes and hold a job. Her young son benefitted physically, socially and emotionally through those two years of guidance from their nurse home visitor.

Read the full story

Families Finding Strength

The evidence-based Strengthening Families Program (SFP) is administered by Children’s Trust with local partners in over half of South Carolina’s counties. It focuses on caretakers with children ages 6 to 11, and over the course of 14 weekly sessions, families learn how to develop positive discipline practices, stay resilient in tough times, improve communications skills, and assist children with social skills, relationships, and school performance.

All of these factors play an important role in keeping families strong while protecting against potential abuse or neglect. This video shares the perspectives of parents and children who have completed the program and what it has meant to their families.

More Visual Content in our Newsroom

View more stories like these and other content in our Newsroom.


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