By William Cameron, Program Director, South Carolina Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.
Working in behavioral health in a small community has many rewards. The biggest is running into former clients. Not long ago, I happened to see Victoria, an 18-year-old who was in treatment a few years ago. I told her I’d heard she just finished high school and is off to college. It was true. She plans to major in nursing.
I work for South Carolina Youth Advocate Programs, Inc., also known as YAP, Inc. We serve as an alternative to institutional placement, delivering behavioral health services in individuals’ homes. While half those in our program in 2017 were in residential treatment facilities when they enrolled in YAP, after completing the program, 97 percent were safely back in our communities with family or close friends. YAP, Inc. has a 40-year history of effectively serving as an alternative to out-of-home placement.
I joined YAP, Inc. 12 years ago when the organization’s primary goal in South Carolina was to help young people disassociate from gangs. Prior to joining YAP, Inc., I worked in group homes, independent living programs and a high management locked facility. I knew there had to be a better way. I am happy and proud to say that YAP, Inc. has proven me right.
Providing individual community-based behavioral health services allows our counselors to see how the individuals we serve live -- how they interact with family and friends – and how they cope with their everyday challenges. We’re caring for the whole person while learning firsthand how we can connect our clients and their loved ones with services that strengthen their foundation.
Since the late 1990s, YAP, Inc. has delivered these holistic community-based behavioral health services in Greenville, Pickens, Spartanburg, Anderson and surrounding counties. Our program is comprehensive, offering diagnostic assessments, psychotherapy, psychosocial rehabilitation, behavioral modification, family stabilization and crisis management. As the state’s behavioral health services needs grow, South Carolina YAP, Inc. is expanding to care for more adults who, like the youth we serve, benefit from our model of care. For us, it’s a natural extension of our comprehensive continuum of family care. It’s our obligation as an outcomes-based organization to address our communities’ evolving challenges, including adults with a mental health diagnosis or drug addiction, young adults aging out of foster care and individuals who have been exposed to trauma or are struggling with LGBTQ-related issues.
Aware that it takes a special kind of therapist to provide YAP, Inc. services, we are taking care to ensure that those who make up our growing team of professionals are people who possess those qualities that make our program a favorite among the agencies that refer people to us in our state and the 22 others where YAP, Inc. operates.
Another beauty of working for South Carolina YAP Inc. is that many people we serve stay connected to us – informally and formally. When I saw Victoria a couple of weeks ago, I told her I knew that she was one of dozens of candidates for the 2018 YAP Tom Jeffers Endowment Fund for Continuing Education scholarship. Named after YAP, Inc.’s founder and funded primarily by YAP employees, the $1,000 awards go towards helping individuals and family members of those we serve turn their professional hopes and dreams into reality. Since the day I saw Victoria, the YAP, Inc. family learned she is among this year’s scholarship winners. We could not be prouder of her.
South Carolina YAP, Inc. is recruiting licensed professional counselors who believe in home-based care. The jobs are part-time, requiring a few hours a week to work with families in the community or office setting. If you have a South Carolina license in counseling or social work and would like to join the team, please let us know. We’re especially interested in professionals with a background in trauma, abuse or neglect and are licensed to provide the CALOCUS assessment. For more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals in need of mental health services may contact our offices at (864) 232-7532 to schedule an appointment at their convenience.