SC NYTD 2016-2017 Survey of 17-Year-Old Youth Begins October 1!

The SC NYTD (National Youth in Transition Database) survey of 17-year-olds begins on October 1st!  The NYTD federal data collection requires all states to collect information from youth in care who turn 17 between October 2016 and September 2017 and invites youth to share their experiences and feedback about independent living.  If you turn 17 during this time, we look forward to hearing from you! 

The federal government is interested in youth’s thoughts and experiences related to the independent living services they have received. The survey will include questions about Independent Living Services, and you will have an opportunity to share how you are doing in the areas of education, employment, finances, housing, access to health care services, and social support.

Your contribution is valuable! Your input will be used to improve services for all youth in foster care. Your participation will help create lasting and meaningful change. And after you complete the survey, you’ll receive a $50 gift card!

If you are turning 17 between October 2016 and September 2017, the SC NYTD team will be contacting you soon to ask you to add your thoughts and experiences to this exciting project! The youth transitioning after you will benefit because of all of the information you have shared with us. Thank you!

The SC NYTD team can’t wait to hear from you!

Register to Vote!

“Voting is the right upon which all other rights depend” - Thomas Paine

Can you believe we’re about to elect the 45th president of the United States? It’s amazing that we have a government that allows us to pick who we want to represent us. It’s not that way in all countries; people in places all over the world have actually given their lives in the struggle to win the freedom to vote. It is one of the many privileges of living in America. And we don’t just get to elect the president—we have a voice in who gets to represent us in all factions of government—from the President of the United States to County Treasurer. The importance of voting is the one thing that everyone can agree on—from Jay-Z and Beyoncé to Taylor Swift and 50 Cent.

How to Register to Vote in South Carolina

Registering to vote in the state of South Carolina couldn’t be easier. It can be done completely online, or you can do it in person. All you need is a SC Driver’s License or DMV-issued state ID card and a reliable Internet connection.

If you’d like to register online simply follow this link to the South Carolina Election Commission’s website. It takes less than five minutes and helps guarantee that you will be able to participate in the 2016 election which will be held on Tuesday November 8, 2016.

If you don’t want to register online, then there are two additional ways to register to vote in South Carolina. The first is to register in person at your county board of voter registration. The second is to download a voter registration form, complete it and return it to your county board of voter registration by mail, fax, or email. 

Act Fast

Do it quickly! Voting registration closes on October 8. It takes less than five minutes and is one of your fundamental rights as an American citizen.

Every election is an important opportunity to exercise your right to vote as an American citizen. And this election is just as important as the ones in 2008 and 2012. And it’s just as important in 2016 as it will be in 2036 and beyond. Please make sure that you register to vote and then go out and vote on Election Day 2016.

Stay Connected (and register to vote!)


Class of 2016 Honored at Graduation Celebration!

On Friday June 10, 2016, the South Carolina Department of Social Services Independent Living Program hosted the 4th annual Graduation Celebration. The ceremony officially acknowledged youth who have received their high school diploma, GED, a vocational or educational certification, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree.

Susan Alford, Director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS), kicked off the festivities with an encouraging message for the graduates: “Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish your goals because you can. Surround yourself with great friends, mentors, and adults; it will make your journey to success a lot easier. Congratulations again . . . You did it!”

Tessa Adams gave a warm introduction to members of GOALL and SC NYTD Youth Voice. Then GOALL and SC NYTD Youth Voice shared inspirational poetry and encouraging messages for graduating youth. It’s easy to see why GOALL and SC NYTD Youth Voice members represent youth in foster care throughout South Carolina.

Next up, TerQuieshin “Tee” Pringle honored us by serving as this year’s keynote speaker. Tee is a motivational speaker whose life motto is: “Motivate. Teach. Inspire.” and she brings her passion to her church, Truth Church and Ministries, where she ministers through the word and the power of dance and drama. Thank you for sharing your powerful messages with our youth, Tee!

Then LaToya Reed and Mari Squire presented the Class of 2016 to the guests in attendance. Mari proudly announced each graduate’s accomplishments as the conference center thundered with applause. This year’s class is impressive! Later, one of the graduating youth told us “I never thought I would graduate, and then I’m the first to graduate from my foster family and my real family. So I feel like I have [set] a high standard.”

Finally, this year’s My Guiding Light award was presented to Lydia Martin for her work as a cottage parent at Connie Maxwell Children’s Home. Lydia was nominated by a youth in her care. This youth said “not only is she my cottage parent but she is a mentor and mother figure for me.” Congratulations, Lydia! And thank you for being a Guiding Light to our youth!

After the ceremony graduates and their guests adjourned to the lobby to enjoy refreshments and a complimentary photo booth.

As they prepared to go out into the world as graduates, some of the youth shared their reflections on their experiences serving with SC NYTD Youth Voice and GOALL:

“Serving, for me, was cool. I got to do so much stuff. I got to meet the Governor, speak at stakeholder’s meetings—they actually listen to you, you know? “

“It changed my views on foster care more than my first year. Because I actually like, talked to more youth, and I experienced more and I did more to help better myself while in care.“

“It was very interesting. It was a life-changing experience, really. I got to go to different places, meet different people, talk to different people, learn different stories and, you know . . . It was really great. It was almost like having a second little family. Like I don’t feel normal if I don’t see my GOALL members at least once a month. I really enjoyed it.”

Thank you for serving as a voice for youth in foster care across South Carolina and beyond. We wish all the graduates success in the upcoming years. Whether you’re entering the workforce, serving our country or continuing your education—we are proud of you and your accomplishments!    

Stay Connected!

Why Should I Register for the SC NYTD Listserv?

Did you know that twice a month the SC NYTD team creates articles with unique content for your enjoyment? Our Listserv articles provide updates and information on a wide variety of topics. Listserv campaigns have included topics like resume preparation, healthy lifestyle tips, goal setting strategies, and SC NYTD updates, to name a few. Registering for the SC NYTD Listserv is a great way to Stay Connected with the SC NYTD team.

In addition to these opportunities for personal growth, registering for the Listserv will automatically qualify you to win a $50 EMPOWER card. EMPOWER cards are Walmart gift cards that can be used  to purchase a new outfit for that job interview, kitchen items for a new apartment, or school supplies! We choose four winners from our subscription database every month to receive EMPOWER cards.

If you are a youth in foster care in the South Carolina foster care system ages 13-21, register now! If you were in foster care in the South Carolina foster care system at age 17 and you’re currently 21 or younger, you’re also eligible to enter the EMPOWER Card drawing.
The SC NYTD listserv is a great way to Stay Connected. By signing up, you’ll receive the SC NYTD newsletter as well as useful updates, news, and events. Your personal information and email address will always be kept completely confidential.

Register for the SC NYTD Listserv here. If you’d like more information, please feel free to contact us at or call us at 1-800-692-7021.

Stay Connected!

You’re Invited to the 2016 Independent Living Graduation Celebration

On Friday June 10, 2016, the South Carolina Department of Social Services Independent Living Program, in partnership with the Center for Child and Family Studies at the University of South Carolina, will host the 4th annual Graduation Celebration honoring the achievements of the Class of 2016.

The Graduation Celebration acknowledges youth who have received their High School Certificate of Completion, GED, High School Diploma, Vocational School Certificate, Technical College Degree, Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or Master’s Degree in the 2015-2016 school year. It’s free to participate in the celebration, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to be recognized for your success!

Additionally, we will announce the winner of this year’s My Guiding Light award. The My Guiding Light Award honors an adult who helped guide a graduating youth in (or formerly in) foster care. It’s a chance for youth to honor the adults who have supported, inspired and advocated for them across the state of South Carolina. 

If you are graduating this year, please consider joining us at the Graduation Celebration. For more information about the Graduation Celebration and to register, please contact your case manager or the Independent Living Program at  The registration packet can also be accessed by clicking here. If you are planning to attend, please register before May 31, 2016.

The Graduation Celebration will be held at the Columbia Conference Center, which is located at 169 Laurelhurst Avenue, Columbia, SC 29210.

We hope to see you at this exciting, inspiring and fun event!

Stay Connected!

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