Family Resources in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties
Picking up from one place and moving to another is always a hassle, especially when kids and pets are involved. Knowing whom to call or where to find information can help make the transition easier.
American Red Cross
The Red Cross helps members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to, the challenges of military service.
The American Red Cross offers confidential services to all members of the military, veterans, and their families by connecting them with local, state and national resources through the network of chapters in communities across the United States and offices on military installations worldwide.
Local Red Cross offices develop and maintain relationships with key community partners. Military families rely on the Red Cross to help them identify their needs and connect them to the most appropriate Red Cross and community resources. This key Red Cross service includes responding to emergency needs for food, clothing, and shelter, referrals to counseling services (e.g., financial, legal, mental health), respite care for caregivers, and other resources that meet the unique needs of local military members, veterans and their families.
The American Red Cross Emergency Communications Center is available to help 24/7. Call 877-272-7337 or submit an online request at https://saf.redcross.org/css.
Armed Services YMCA
The ASYMCA is made up of 13 branches and about 20 affiliate locations at local Y’s and on some DOD facilities across the U.S.
It makes military life easier by providing programs and services to the young men and women of all five armed services: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
ASYMCA programs, services and events are designed to help the family come together, stay together and have the ability to adjust, bounce back and thrive wherever the services send them — with a particular focus on junior-enlisted men and women, the individuals on the front lines of defending our nation. Programs are offered at low cost and require no dues or membership fees.
Signature programs include Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala, Art and Essay Contest, Military Family Month, Operation Hero, Operation Holiday Joy, Operation Kid Comfort, Operation Outdoors, Operation Ride Home, Parent and Me, Teddy’s Child Watch and YMCA/DOD Military Outreach Initiative.
Find ASYMCA locations by visiting www.asymca.org/locations.
Child Care Aware
Improving access to affordable, quality child care is one of Child Care Aware of America’s top goals. Search the site’s “State by State Resources for Families” to connect with national organizations and associations that provide information for families regarding child development, parenting, and child care concerns and questions.
The site has information on the different types of child care and how to choose the right child care for your family. Financial resources include a child care budgeting calculator and information on federal and state fee assistance. There’s also a special section for military and DOD families with links to military child care fee assistance. To speak with a specialist about military and DOD child care programs, call 800-424-2246, option 6.
Military OneSource is your central hub and go-to-place for the military community. Get to know your benefits and prepare for the big stuff — deployments, reintegration, moves, parenthood, retirement and more. Browse by topic or search for that strangely specific question you want to know the answers to. No matter where military life takes you, with Military OneSource you will always be in the loop.
Operation Homefront assists military families during difficult financial times by providing food assistance, auto and home repair, vision care, travel and transportation, moving assistance, essential home items, and rent-free transitional housing for wounded veterans and their families.
Helping military families gain long-term stability is a specific concern for Operation Homefront. Homes on the Homefront awards mortgage-free homes, impacting veteran families for generations to come. The caregivers for wounded warriors also need help and that is why Hearts of Valor was formed.
Operation Homefront’s annual gala recognizes extraordinary military kids. The organization also hosts multiple Homefront Celebrations, Star-Spangled Baby Showers, Back-to-School Brigades and Holiday Meals for Military events each year to show appreciation to military spouses.
Visit Operation Homefront online for more information.
South Carolina Department of Social Services
Charleston County Office
3366 Rivers Ave.
North Charleston, SC 29405
Berkeley County Office
2 Belt Drive
Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Dorchester County Office
216 Orangeburg Road
Summerville, SC 29483
The South Carolina Department of Social Services provides protective services for children and vulnerable adults as well as adoption and foster care services. It has offices in each county and regional locations to handle cases of abuse and neglect, adoptions, clinical services, child support enforcement, disaster response and more. Additional assistance programs include food and nutrition aid, child care vouchers and work programs. Visit the website for additional information and for emergency hotline numbers for reporting abuse; Medicaid assistance; the Women, Infants & Children program (WIC); and more.
United Service Organization
Since 1941, the USO has kept our military men and women connected to their families, home and country no matter where they are or under what conditions they serve. Programs for military families include Couples Seminars: Stronger Families, Comfort Crew for Military Kids, Operation That’s My Dress, United Through Reading, Baby Showers: USO and What to Expect Present Special Delivery and The Sesame Street/USO Experience.
The USO also provides transition services to support Americans’ return to civilian life after completing their military service. For more information, go to www.uso.org/programs/uso-pathfinder.
Visit the USO’s website to find a location near you.
Moves are stressful for everyone — including the family pet. Pets can sense stress and a change in routine can be difficult for them. If possible, keep your pets in a quiet, secure area while movers pack up or unload your belongings. Movers will have your door open while they move boxes and furniture, and a pet may slip out the door undetected. Make sure you keep a collar with an ID tag on your pet at all times. Ensure the tag has your current phone number on it. It is also a good idea to microchip your pets. Remember to keep the microchip’s contact information up-to-date. If your pet escapes during any part of your move, you want the animal shelter that scans the chip to be able to contact you.
Your pet may face many outside dangers in South Carolina, such as alligators, armadillos, bats, beavers, coyotes, moles, raccoons, skunks, wild pigs, woodchucks and more. Keep your dog on a short leash in wooded areas, especially if it starts sniffing or pawing the ground. Avoid allowing your dog to walk around or swim in unknown waters. The area also is home to parasites, including fleas, ticks and ear mites. Outdoor pets can bring these pests into the home, posing a risk to humans since they can transmit disease through their bites. Limiting and supervising your pet’s outdoor activities can help it avoid these dangers.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is the principal advocate for and steward of the state’s natural resources. The department’s website has information on boating, fishing and hunting in the state. The website also offers tips about living with local wildlife.
Charleston County Animal Services
3691 Leeds Ave.
North Charleston, SC 29405
The county’s animal control deputies are specially trained to handle situations involving domestic animals. This includes the removal of stray domestic animals that are unleashed (in or near roadways) and the transportation of injured domestic animals to the emergency veterinarian for treatment (when the animal’s owner cannot be located). Deputies also conduct investigations relating to neglected or abused animals. Deputies have the power to enforce both local ordinances and state laws related to violations concerning domestic animals.
Berkeley County Animal Services
1003 Highway 52
Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Berkeley County’s animal control department responds to animal bites, injured animals or aggressive animals. Other services include general animal control and enforcement of animal ordinances and laws. The county’s animal shelter provides a healthy, safe and loving environment for rescued, abandoned, abused or neglected animals of Berkeley County.
Dorchester County Animal Services
500 N. Main St.
Summerville, SC 29483
The county’s animal control department is responsible for conducting investigations and enforcing county ordinances related to the regulation of animals and animal owners. Animals without identification are transported to Dorchester Paws, the county’s animal shelter. Visit https://dorchesterpaws.org for more information.
Pets for Patriots
Pets for Patriots’ vision is to end animal homelessness in the United States while giving our military veterans and their families the greatest “thank you” of all: the extraordinary love of a companion pet. It makes this happen through its nationwide shelter and veterinary networks, military and veteran organizations, and a public that values the lives of both the vulnerable and heroic among us.
To learn more about adopting a pet, visit https://petsforpatriots.org/adopt-a-pet/how-it-works.
Veterinary services in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties are plentiful; see the Military Buyer’s Guide to connect with local providers. Another source for connecting with a veterinarian is the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians website at www.scav.org.
State of South Carolina
Department of Public Safety
10311 Wilson Blvd.
Blythewood, SC 29016
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Protective Services, the State Transport Police Division and the South Carolina Immigration Enforcement Unit. The department helps ensure the safety of citizens by enforcing the traffic, motor vehicle and motor carrier laws, educating the public on highway safety and administering highway safety and criminal justice grant programs.
Department of Emergency Management
2779 Fish Hatchery Road
West Columbia, SC 29172
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division leads the state’s emergency management program to minimize the loss of life and property from all hazardous events. It handles prevention of and responses to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, thunderstorms, droughts, hazardous material spills, terrorism and more. Visit the department’s website for more information and to view special preparedness publications on hurricanes, earthquakes and other severe weather.
Charleston County’s Emergency Management Department (EMD) provides leadership and assistance to reduce the loss of life and property from a variety of man-made and natural hazards through mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. In 2010, the county’s Emergency Preparedness Division and the Hazardous Materials Division were consolidated under EMD as a single department, centralizing the coordination of emergency preparedness, homeland security and hazardous materials responsibilities.
An EMD duty officer is on call 24/7 to provide assistance to fire, police and medical agencies that respond to emergencies throughout the county. Visit the office’s website for the county’s disaster planning guide and other preparedness information.
Berkely County’s Department of Emergency Management develops and enhances the county’s disaster preparedness and recovery plans for all hazards. Visit the department’s website for its hurricane guide and other disaster preparedness information.
Dorchester County’s Emergency Management Department is responsible for mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery from natural or manmade hazards and managing the county Emergency Operations Center during activations. Visit the department’s website for the county’s hurricane guide and other disaster preparedness information.
Fire and Rescue