History

In 1997 the founding board of directors of the 501(c)(3) Children in Crisis in Dorchester County, now known as Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center, met for the very first time. The original vision of the organization was to develop an improved protocol for serving children in the community as they enter the foster care system. The initial goals were to establish a comprehensive evaluation and treatment center, to increase the number and quality of foster care homes, and to establish a temporary safe haven for children taken into emergency protective custody. Through their research, the board of directors changed their initial vision after learning about the Children’s Advocacy Center Model. Instead of opening an emergency shelter for children brought into emergency protective custody, the board of directors determined the need for a Child Advocacy Center in Dorchester County. A child advocacy center helps provide out-patient, evidence-based treatment to child abuse and neglect victims along with forensic services necessary to aid in the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse, to include forensic interviews and forensic medical exams.

2003

  • Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center opens doors for the first time in December in a donated space on Main Street in Summerville, SC

2004

  • Dr. Kay W. Phillips is hired as DCAC Executive Director
  • Senator Mark Sanford signed Senate Bill 500, establishing Children’s Advocacy Centers as the preferred model for providing timely, coordinated, high-quality multidisciplinary services for children suspected of being abused in the state of South Carolina.
  • Hired another forensic interviewer/therapist bringing the total staff to two people including its executive director.
  • Executive director and forensic interviewer/therapist trained by ChildFirst to perform forensic interviews.
  • DCAC moved to a larger space.

2005

  • Staff grows to six full time employees and serves an average of 40 children per month and 441 total by year’s end.

2006

  • DCAC purchased its current home at 303 East Richardson Avenue in Summerville, SC
  • Renovated space to meet the needs of a Children’s Advocacy Center
  • DCAC moved into its current space in June

2007

  • DCAC received full national accreditation from the National Children’s Alliance

  • Began receiving funding from Dorchester County through a referendum.

2008

  • DCAC increased staff once again to 9 total staff to meet the number of new clients served as services and community awareness began to grow.
  • Kay Phillips featured in the Post and Courier which highlighted the important work of DCAC.

2009

  • DCAC implements new campaign to increase awareness, partnerships and donations with the local faith-based community.

2010

  • DCAC continued to implement Trauma Focused /Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Parent-Child Interactive Therapy Programs.
  • Implemented a new individual donor campaign which increased awareness and support amongst community members.

2011

  • DCAC began a fundraising campaign to secure funds for a 6,000 square foot addition and expansion.
  • Community awareness luncheons continue to expand giving the public a chance to learn more about DCAC and the CAC model.

2012

  • DCAC is awarded reaccreditation by the National Children’s Alliance

2013

  • DCAC begins  Sexual Behavioral Problem Groups and provides group treatment for three age groups (Ages 4-6, Ages 7-12, Ages 13-17)
  • Provided, in partnership with Trident United Way, an on-site employee at the Harleyville Ridgeville Elementary and Middle Schools, enabling DCAC to provide many prevention and psycho-educational child welfare services to the upper part of Dorchester County.

2014

  • DCAC receives a $500,000 grant from Roper St. Francis Physicians Endowment as well as a matching grant proposal of $500,000 from the Medical Society of South Carolina. After a successful capital campaign that totals $1.5 million including these grants, DCAC begins construction to expand the center.

2015

  • DCAC finalized construction of  a 6,000-square foot addition. The expansion includes a new Medical Exam Suite to increase forensic medical exam capacity. We also added four new Forensic Interview rooms with improved soundproofing technology, as well as increased Forensic Observation capacity for local law enforcement and child protective service investigative partners.
  • SC General Assembly Women’s Caucus recognizes the work of Dr. Kay W. Phillips as a nonprofit director in SC.
  • DCAC Received the Greater Summerville/ Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce 2015 Business of the Year Award.
  • DCAC received Summerville Journal Scene 2015 Reader’s Choice Award

2016

  • DCAC serves a record-breaking number of children, over 1,300 children served in 2016.
  • Executive director Dr. Kay Phillips receives an appointment from Gov. Nikki Haley to the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children.

2017

  • DCAC launches Alternatives for Families Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT). This therapy is a trauma-informed, evidence-based treatment designed to improve the relationships between children and caregivers in families that experience arguments, frequent conflict, physical force/discipline, child physical abuse, or child behavior problems. AF-CBT promotes the use of positive coping and self-control skills, effective discipline strategies, constructive family problem solving, and communication.
  • DCAC also launches Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). This is A short-term, evidence-based treatment used to treat symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in adults and adolescents 16 and older. CPT is designed to teach how to identify and change unhelpful thoughts that often occur as a result of trauma.

2018

  • DCAC begins offering Risk Reduction through Family Therapy (RRFT) This treatment is designed to address co-occurring symptoms of PTSD, substance use problems, and other risk behaviors that are commonly experienced by trauma-exposed adolescents.
  • DCAC finishes capital campaign renovations and opens its new Intake Hub and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Suite.

2019

  • DCAC is awarded reaccreditation by the National Children’s Alliance
  • DCAC executive director, Dr. Kay W. Phillips, is named the recipient of Trident United Way’s 2018 Nonprofit Leader of the Year Award.

2020

  • DCAC executive director, Dr. Kay W. Phillips is named Trailblazer of the Year for 2019 by the Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce.
  • Began ACES (Adverse Childhood Experience) trainings for Dorchester and Berkeley County to educate the public, business and government of how childhood trauma prevention and treatment is paramount to adults being successful.
  • DCAC adapts to Covid effects by purchasing equipment and implementing tele-health practices to continue to serve clients remotely.

2021

  • DCAC receives two amazing donations to forward the dream of a satellite center.
  • The Cumbie family donates land located in Moncks Corner, SC
  • True Homes USA contacts DCAC to donate construction services. Plans are underway for the construction of the future home of the Berkeley Children’s Advocacy Center, which will be located in Stoney Landing Park in Moncks Corner. Anticipated completion date is late 2022.
  • DCAC serves more than 1500 clients.
  • South Carolina legislature signs into law the Child Abuse Protocol Act which mandates the CAC model as a response to child abuse in the state of SC.