Project BEST is a state-wide collaborative effort to use innovative community-based dissemination, training, and implementation methods to dramatically increase the capacity of every community in South Carolina to deliver evidence-supported mental health treatments (ESTs) to every abused and traumatized child who needs them. The long-term goal of Project BEST is to ensure that all South Carolina children and their families, who are identified as having experienced abuse and resulting trauma symptoms, receive appropriate, evidence supported mental health assessment and psycho-social treatment services.
Many children in South Carolina have been victims of violence and abuse and suffer from mental health problems as a result. Consequently, service organizations need to be able to deliver effective, evidence-supported treatment to these children. Project BEST involves teaching clinicians how to do ESTs and enabling brokers of mental health services to identify and refer appropriate children for treatment, incorporate ESTs into their treatment planning, and monitor treatment progress. Project BEST provides the training and ongoing consultation needed to build the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver ESTs and do Evidence-Based Treatment Planning and Case Management. Participating Community Change Teams work to identify and overcome barriers to implementing and sustaining the use of ESTs in the community. The initial treatment implemented by Project BEST was Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Project BEST has also done training initiatives on Problematic Sexual Behaviors Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (PSB-CBT), and Alternatives for Families Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT).
Project BEST is coordinated by the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center and the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center of the Medical University of South Carolina, both located in Charleston, SC.
- There were 15,821 children with founded maltreatment in SC in FY2020-2021.
- 1,572 professionals have been trained through Project BEST!
- Project BEST began in 2007!
- 1 in 5 children experience abuse before age 18.
- Project BEST Clinicians have completed over 1,572 training cases!
- Project BEST has offered trainings on TF-CBT, AF-CBT, and PSB-CBT!
Community-Based Learning Collaborative
A Community-Based Learning Collaborative (CBLC) is a 10-12 month intensive training, skill building, and structured community implementation process for Evidence Supported Treatments (ESTs). In a CBLC, professionals from several communities work together to build and sustain their community capacity to provide an EST.
- A CBLC includes mental health treatment providers, brokers of mental health services (i.e., those who identify and refer abused children to treatment providers), senior leaders, and other community stakeholders. Providers learn to deliver the EST, while brokers learn Evidence-Based Treatment Planning, and Case Management skills related to the EST.
- Each community forms a Community Change Team (CCT) comprised of professionals committed to learning, building skill and competence, and delivering the EST to every child that needs it in their community. Agency senior leaders, supervisors, frontline therapists, and caseworkers are involved in all aspects of the CBLC to promote thorough community implementation and sustained use of the EST.
- The CBLC approach includes multiple intensive and advanced training events, action period activities, ongoing case consultation, consultation about implementation barriers, and other types of technical assistance.
- The faculty is composed of nationally known experts in the EST and community implementation challenges. Participants in the CBLC work together collaboratively and “share relentlessly” to maximize the impact of the training experiences, solve barriers to implementation, and share materials, ideas, and experiences.
- Progress is measured using relevant individual, agency, and community metrics.
Approximate Timeline of a CBLC
- Months 1-2 Application process, form CCTs
- Months 2-3 Pre-Work Phase
- Month 4 Learning Session 1
- Months 5-7 Action Period 1
- Month 8 Learning Session 2
- Months 9-11 Action Period 2
- Month 12 Evaluation
Project BEST Co-Director
Project BEST Co-Director
Director of Community Programs, Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center
Director of Grants & Program Evaluation, Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center
Project Coordinator, Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center
Program Coordinator, Medical University of South Carolina