The South Carolina NYTD Team

The Center for Child and Family Studies (CCFS) and The South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) and are partners in The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD). Together, we make sure that our state's youth successfully move from foster care to independent living — we collect information, track your progress, recommend services, and design programs and policies to make your transition easier. Remember that being independent does not mean being alone. The SC NYTD Team is here for you!

 

Your Team at The Center for Child and Family Studies (CCFS)

 

Toni Jones
Project Coordinator

Toni Jones’s goal as the South Carolina NYTD Project Coordinator is to give youth the opportunity to be heard. She keeps in touch with youth in care, foster parents, group home staff, and caseworkers.

You may receive a phone call or email from Toni soon after your 17th, 19th, or 21st birthday to make sure you received the NYTD survey. She’ll also encourage you to send the survey back to the SC NYTD Team within 45 days of your birthday. And then she’ll send you a gift card!

Toni graduated with a master’s degree of social work from the University of South Carolina in 2002.  Before working on NYTD, she ran the Education Coach Program in Columbia, SC, and served as an educational coach. The program matched youth living in group homes with an education coach to work with one-on-one. Through this program, Toni learned about the challenges that youth in care face.

Toni welcomes your questions, concerns, and comments about the NYTD survey. You can reach her at Toni.Jones@sc.edu.

 

Louisa Vann
Research Associate

Louisa Vann is a research associate on the SC NYTD Team. That means that she records, monitors, and tracks data for NYTD. You may hear from Louisa if you are eligible to take the NYTD survey.

If you decide to take the survey over the phone, you’ll likely be talking to Louisa. She serves as a liaison for the youth we serve.

Louisa has an extensive background in working with youth at MUSC Children’s Hospital in Charleston, SC and USC’s Healthy Lifestyle Clinic in Columbia, SC. She graduated with a master’s degree of public health from the University of South Carolina in 2012 and is a certified health educator. She believes NYTD is a powerful way to let youths’ voices be heard.

Misa Alquicira
Research Associate

Misa Alquicira is a recent graduate from the Arnold School of Public Health with a Master’s degree in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior. Most recently, she served as a Graduate Assistant with the department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the University of South Carolina working on a qualitative study for childhood obesity prevention. Misa also spent a semester working with at risk youth between the ages of 7 and 14 for a community-based after school program in Columbia, South Carolina. As part of this program, she worked to empower youth through skill-based learning . Misa is passionate about fostering the physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth and is excited to be part of the SC NYTD team.

 

NYTD Graduate Assistants

Each semester, several graduate students at the University of South Carolina devote time and energy to NYTD. They enter data from the surveys, research resources, participate as youth advocates, and reach out to the community on behalf of youth in foster care.

The graduate assistants are at USC to study various topics, including social work, public health, English, and biomedical engineering. They are an important part of the SC NYTD Team.

 

Your Team at the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS)

 

Latoya Reed
Independent Living State Coordinator/Supervisor


LaToya Reed serves as the state coordinator for the Independent Living Program at the SC Department of Social Services (SCDSS).  She is a former employee of the Department of Juvenile Justice, where she served over 9 years in several different capacities; assistant chaplain, youth specialist, spiritual development volunteer coordinator, and director of volunteer services. 

LaToya enjoys working with youth and has over 15 years of experience.  She has developed programs and assisted young people in various settings, such as church youth groups, youth dance ministries, after-school programs, and mentoring programs, serving at-risk youth in communities and in the juvenile justice system.  She has over 10 years of public speaking experience and has conducted trainings on topics such as “breaking bad habits, self-esteem, and why faith matters.”

Her mission is to inspire and motivate youth to become better than their circumstances, recognize their greatness, and make the impossible possible.  LaToya believes there are two decisions in life: Allow your strengths to become your weaknesses or your weaknesses to become your strengths.

She completed her undergraduate studies in Youth Ministry and Bible at Columbia International University (CIU) and obtained her master’s degree in Human Services-Marriage and Family from Liberty University. You can reach LaToya at LaToya.Reed@dss.sc.gov.


Terri D. Pope
NYTD Services Specialist

Terri serves as the South Carolina NYTD Services Specialist at the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS). Terri tracks, monitors, and reports on Independent Living services for youth in foster care.

If you have questions about the types of services offered by the Chafee Independent Living Program and how to get those services, Terri is happy to help. She can help you find out what services you may be eligible for and identify any barriers that are keeping you from getting the services you need.

Terri loves working with the Independent Living Program because she makes needed services available to all youth in foster care in South Carolina. She believes that "if we can conceive it, we can achieve it."

The goal of the SC NYTD Team is to help youth identify their interests, develop skills, build self-confidence, and learn self-advocacy so they can gain education, employment, and independence. Terri's job is to develop policies and programs that help youth make this successful transition to independence.

Terri received a Bachelor's of Social Work Degree from Columbia College and a Master's of Social Work Degree from the University of South Carolina. You can reach Terri at terri.pope@dss.sc.gov

 

A Message from your SC NYTD Team!

Independent Living does not mean being left on your own. In fact, true independence means finding a balanced life where you can flourish to be the best you can be. This means knowing how to take care of yourself, being responsible, working towards your goals, and most importantly, knowing where you can turn for help. You are not alone. We are here for you!

You are important!
You deserve happiness!
You were born to be the best you can be!

 

 

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