Teen After-School Centers
The hours between the end of the school day and when parents return from work is a risky time for young people, and research has demonstrated that serious and violent crime committed by youth increases between these times. Teen After-School Centers (TASC)are daily after-school programs based in local churches, community centers, and other public buildings across the state, and are staffed by employees and volunteers with a heart for youth. Often supplementing the normal supervision that DJJ provides, TASC are also designed to reduce the likelihood that program participants will be incarcerated.
T.A.S.C. enhances coping skills, increases academic, vocational & employability skills, and builds upon competencies of youth and their families. Among the most important outcomes of youth involvement in TASC is how the program demonstrates a reduction of recidivism (i.e. not receiving additional criminal charges), decreases of absences and out of school suspensions, increases in school attendance, performance, and grade point averages.
Youth Participation in TASC
Serving a record 4,279 students in 2014-15, thirty-eight TASC sites are currently in operation across the state of South Carolina. The TASC program is designed to serve non-violent male and female youth ages 12-17, who are at-risk of incarceration. Youth can be referred to a TASC program by different sources including the Family Court, law enforcement, local school resource officers and school staff, DJJ staff or their parents. Local DJJ offices help each TASC program screen applicants to verify that they meet the criteria for admission to the program, and special emphasis is placed on youth currently involved with DJJ.
TASC provide youth with many opportunities including:
- Attending sporting events and visiting state parks,
- libraries, and colleges;
- Educational support and after-school tutoring;
- Development of employability skills and job placement;
- Contact between youth and positive adult role models;
- Spiritual development and recreation;
- Community service and victim restoration;
- Parenting groups and youth life skills development;
- Conflict resolution and anger management;
- Gang prevention and intervention;
- Computer Labs and instruction.
Funding & Support
It costs about a dollar a day to serve a TASC youth, compared to $426 a day to incarcerate him/her. Additionally, Department of Juvenile Justice Office of Community Justice provides to each TASC participant at no cost guidance, training, and other needed resources.
The 2012 South Carolina Rural Summit Partnership Award was presented to the City of Laurens, City of Walterboro, and the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice in recognition of the combined efforts to enrich the lives of teens through the successful implementation of the Teen After-School Centers.