About Us


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.

Quick Facts

  • 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.

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

Our Team

Rochelle Hanson, Ph.D.

Project BEST Co-Director

Carole Swiecicki, Ph.D.

Project BEST Co-Director

Ben Saunders, Ph.D.

Co-Founding Director

Libby Ralston, Ph.D.

Co-Founding Director

Rachael Garrett, LMSW

Director of Community Programs, Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center

Kathy Quinones, Ph.D.

Director of Grants & Program Evaluation, Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center

Heather Weimer, LMSW

Project Coordinator, Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center

CJ Akins

Program Coordinator, Medical University of South Carolina

Our Partners

Dee Norton Center

Collaborating Center

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MUSC National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center

Collaborating Center

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The Duke Endowment


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