USC Upstate’s Child Protection Training Center Benefits From More Than $500,000 in New Grants

July 13, 2018 at 2:57 pm

Spartanburg, S.C. –  The Child Protection Training Center at the University of South Carolina Upstate will enhance training opportunities for child protection professionals in the Upstate region thanks to a series of new grants, including a three-year, $345,000 grant from The Duke Endowment to provide hands-on training for child protection workers in Spartanburg County. Additionally, the Center—one of just four of its kind in the nation—will benefit from grants from the Fullerton Foundation, Spartanburg County Schools, Mary Black Foundation and Spartanburg Regional Foundation.

“USC Upstate’s Child Protection Training Center is providing critical support for this community and beyond, serving as a national model for addressing child welfare,” said Dr. Meredith Brunen, vice chancellor for University Advancement. “These grants underscore the quality of care the center provides through education and training to ensure frontline professionals recognize and respond to signs of child abuse and maltreatment.”

Dr. Jennifer Parker, executive director of the Child Protection Training Center at USC Upstate, said The Duke Endowment grant will allow the center to continue to develop, deliver and evaluate training sessions that will help Spartanburg County Department of Social Services caseworkers and investigators strengthen their case management, investigations and multi-disciplinary team effort to improve outcomes for children and families in Spartanburg.

“This will serve as an extension of the training they receive from DSS,” Parker said. “We will work with case managers and investigators to develop protocols to assist them in effectively communicating the needs of the child they are representing and the trauma they may have experienced.”

Parker noted that Spartanburg County and the Upstate of South Carolina have high rates of child maltreatment resulting in lifelong negative outcomes for the child and the community. Many child protection professionals simply lack adequate training in recognizing maltreatment and appropriate responses, she said.

 “We have an opportunity to strengthen the team of caseworkers at DSS,” Parker said. “We will offer training at least eight times per year and by focusing on Spartanburg, we have an opportunity to evaluate our sessions and to see what is making the biggest impact in our community.”

The Child Protection Training Center also received $14,450 from the Gaffney-based Fullerton Foundation to work in partnership with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and Cherokee County Schools to provide intensive training in childhood trauma-informed approaches. Similarly, a $75,000 grant from Spartanburg County Schools will support schools aspiring to build a trauma responsive infrastructure.

The Mary Black Foundation recently awarded the Child Protection Training Center a $35,000 capacity-building grant and an additional $30,000 from CONNECT, an adolescent health initiative of the Mary Black Foundation, to develop a continuing education certificate for youth serving professionals.


Lastly, a $10,800 grant from the Spartanburg Regional Foundation was awarded to Spartanburg Regional Health System (SRHS) Medical Education to support Child Protection Center training for employees of SRHS.


 “The need for trauma-informed education and training is critical,” Parker said. “It changes mindsets and effects our responses to many costly social and public health issues. This leads to stronger, healthier and more resilient communities.



About The Child Protection Training Center

The USC Upstate Child Protection Training Center provides exceptional training for child protection workers both locally and nationally. The Child Protection Training Center is unique to the southeast region and one of only four of its kind in the country. Comprised of both a mock house and a mock courtroom, the Child Protection Training Center offers participants hands-on opportunities to improve their skills in detection of and response to child maltreatment. For more information, visit


About USC Upstate

The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional comprehensive university offering more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and education. Located along the I-85 corridor in Spartanburg between Greenville and Charlotte, USC Upstate is ranked by U.S. News & World Report at #2 among Top Public Schools. It serves as a major talent producer for the region, with more than 6,000 students, approximately 1,300 new graduates a year, and nearly 30,000 alumni, many of whom live and work in the state. The USC Upstate Spartans compete in 17 NCAA Division 1 sports as a member of the Big South Conference. For more information, visit



Jennifer Parker, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Child Protection Training Center

USC Upstate



Jessica Blais

Associate Vice Chancellor

Strategic Communications and Marketing

USC Upstate



Carolyn Farr-Shanesy

Communications Officer

USC Upstate