The Carolina Children’s Home (CCH) was founded by Reverend Carlisle Courtenay and chartered as the Rescue Orphanage in December, 1909. It began serving children in a rented house on Assembly Street in downtown Columbia.
In June 1910, the orphanage relocated to a sixty-four acre site at the corner of Sunnyside and Trenholm Roads. Throughout the following decade, dormitories, a cafeteria, a barn, a laundry and other buildings were constructed and occupied. The children of the orphanage studied in the local schools and helped with the chores around the campus. Orphans came to the Children’s Home from many counties throughout the state. At its peak, the Children’s Home served over 125 children on its campus. In 1958, the Palmetto Little League was formed at CCH and the home’s field served as the League’s headquarters for over 3 decades.
In 1964, CCH welcomed children from the Richland County Children’s Home and the first psychologist was hired. This hire was in response to the increasing emotional needs of CCH’s children, many of whom were coming from the SC Department of Public Welfare and the court system. Beginning in the mid-1970’s, CCH developed and implemented a number of mental health services that addressed the needs of children and adolescents with behavioral health problems. Some of the innovative programs offered to children in the Midlands included: low, moderate, and high management programs; supervised independent living; an intensive clinical day program, a wrap-around service program for non CCH residents; a temporary de-escalation service; and therapeutic foster care. In addition, an outpatient counseling center provided outpatient therapy to children and families who needed affordable access to these services.
Carolina Children’s Home also provided innovative educational programs through partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which provided on campus learning experiences to prepare clients for post-secondary school academic achievement.
In 2012, Carolina Children’s Home expanded the scope of services offered by opening the Hearth Center for Eating Disorders. At that time, the Hearth was the only comprehensive eating disorders program in South Carolina. The program provided outpatient, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization and residential treatment of girls and boys suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. After three years of program development and aggressive marketing, it was decided that the volume of clients and the payment for services would not create a financially viable clinical service. Late in 2015, the Hearth was closed. The property was sold in 2016 to the Epworth Children’s Home.
Today, Carolina Children’s Home serves the community as a public benefit, non-profit organization. “Rather than through our traditional programs and bricks and mortar services, we will now continue our mission ‘to meet the underserved mental and physical health needs of children, young adults and their families’ through providing financial support and advocacy to children’s initiatives in South Carolina,” states Stephen Creech, Chair, Board of Directors.