Where We Serve
The mission of the Caroline Youth Development Center is to empower and equip our community’s most vulnerable children by providing a safe environment, educational support, and career readiness, in collaboration with families and community partners. They believe that all children will have loving and stable families and a nurturing community empowering them to lead successful lives. The Carolina Youth Development Center is an important part of Charleston’s historic and cultural heritage, a direct descendant of the Charleston Orphan House, America’s first publicly-funded orphanage. Today, CYDC provides programs reaching over 1,200 children, youth and their families locally each year. They care for young people who are victims of physical and sexual abuse, neglect and abandonment, as well as providing resources and support to area families at risk of having their children removed from their home. Of the 1,200 children and families they serve, our Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program provides caring adult role models to 182 local children from single-parent families last year.
Founded in 1790 as the Charleston Orphan House, Carolina Youth Development Center’s mission is to empower and equip our community’s most vulnerable children by providing a safe environment, educational support, and career readiness, in collaboration with families and community partners. Our vision is that all children will have loving and stable families and a nurturing community empowering them to lead successful lives.
Originally located at 160 Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston, the multiple programs of the Orphan House included an educational system, believed to have been one of the first in South Carolina; a kindergarten, the first in South Carolina and one of the first in the nation; and early efforts at foster family care.
The Orphan House was world renowned as a childcare institution. Distinguished visitors included George Washington, Generals Pierre de Beauregard and Robert E. Lee, and Presidents James Monroe, Grover Cleveland and William Howard Taft. Hundreds of children were served over the years, with a peak enrollment of 334 children coming shortly after the Civil War.
In 1951 the Commissioners of the Orphan House purchased 37 acres in North Charleston, known as Oak Grove Plantation, to relocate the children to a more home-like setting.
For the next 27 years, the Charleston Orphan House operated as an agency of the City of Charleston. In 1978 it became an independent non-profit organization known as Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC), and continues to serve children through six residential and outreach programs.
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If you would like to donate any of these items, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them online at cydc.org today!