The Early Years
The South Carolina Council on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (SCCAPP) was founded in 1994 by Joy Campbell and a network of grassroots advocates and supporters. Original funding for the organization ($50,000) was provided through the March of Dimes—focusing on four action areas: public awareness, technical assistance, education and advocacy—with a matching grant from the South Carolina Health and Human Services Finance Commission. In 1995, then Governor David Beasley withdrew state funding for the SC Council on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention; however, the March of Dimes increased its allocation which allowed the project to continue.
NOTE: In 1999 the organization officially became the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (SC Campaign) to reflect an ongoing partnership with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
One of the earliest, and still to this day, most notable accomplishments of SCCAPP was its leadership on a three-year grassroots campaign resulting in the South Carolina Legislature allocating $10.5 million to create the South Carolina County Grant Fund for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives in 1998. The grants enhanced the teen pregnancy prevention work in all of South Carolina's 46 counties. Additionally, during Campbell’s tenure the SC Campaign became a national model as one of the first states in the country to utilize surplus Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds for teen pregnancy prevention. The SC Campaign also published South Carolina Speaks, a survey of registered voters regarding comprehensive sex education in public schools; conducted an economic impact study detailing the costs of public services to families begun when the mother was a teen; and hosted its first annual teen pregnancy prevention conference, Summer Institute.
Period of Growth
In December 2001, Dr. Suzan D. Boyd assumed the role of Executive Director at the SC Campaign. Dr. Boyd's prior experience ranged from management and primary care activities at the Brookside Park Family Life Center (Boston), to Vice President of Ambulatory Services at St. Joseph Hospital (Chicago), to Director of the MHA Program at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health. Under her leadership the organization grew significantly in scope and reach to over 20 full and part-time staff, and a budget that increased 500% during her five-year tenure.
The programmatic sophistication of the organization grew considerably as well stimulated by two specific events. First, an intensive advocacy campaign resulted in state line-item funding—through the Department of Social Services—being directed to the SC Campaign, which allowed for programming to expand to all 46 counties of the state. Second, the organization’s first federal funding was secured through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over time, the annual Summer Institute became recognized as one of the best conferences in the country, the SC Campaign's ongoing educational workshops started to serve over 1,000 providers annually, and the organization began providing resources back to local communities through the distribution of mini-grants and resources materials.
A National Leader
In January 2007, Forrest Alton assumed the position of Executive Director, a position renamed Chief Executive Officer in 2010. Prior to this appointment Alton served the organization in multiple capacities including Associate Director and earned a Masters in Public Health from the USC Arnold School of Public Health. In 2010, the SC Campaign secured nearly $15 million in federal funding to support teen pregnancy prevention efforts throughout the state, allowing the organization to start re-granting thousands of dollars annually to community and school-based programs throughout South Carolina to support ongoing efforts in local communities. Alton dedicated over 15 years to teen pregnancy prevention efforts at the SC Campaign.
A new era in leadership began at the SC Campaign in October 2016 when Beth De Santis was appointed Chief Executive Officer. De Santis previously served as Director of Statewide Family Planning and Director of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC), and earned her Master's of Science in Nursing from the University of South Carolina. Having started her career as a nurse practioner, De Santis has focused her path on decreasing unintended pregnancy in an effort to empower young women to develop to their full potential.
Today, the SC Campaign is recognized as a national leader in the prevention of adolescent pregnancy, employs nearly 30 people, has an annual budget exceeding $5 million, and continues to realize the benefits of a commitment to research-proven prevention strategies and an investment in the state's young people. Teen birth rates have been decreasing significantly since the organization began in 1994 and the state now has the lowest teen birth rates ever!
Awards and Recognition
- When Work Works Award (2016)
- Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility (2013)
- Annie Barnes Patient Advocate award from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (2013)
- City Year Ripples of Hope Awardee (2011)
- Best in Class (2010-2011): United Way of the Midlands
- Unsung Hero (2009): EdVenture Children’s Museum
- Contribution to the Field of Adolescent Health (2005): US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Outstanding Contribution to Health Education (2004): SC Association for the Advancement of Health Education
- Outstanding State Coalition (1999): National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
- Outstanding State Contribution (1999): American Association of University Women
- Outstanding State Coalition (1998): National Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention
Learn about our current efforts to prevent teen pregnancy in South Carolina.