Avalonia Group Homes, Inc. was founded in 1989 to serve the most severely emotionally disturbed adolescent males by a family-based small business. Avalonia became a corporation in 1991. The hallmark of its service population was children who were in the care of the State. Originally, it was an eight bed facility and was operated in a house-parent environment.
Over the next seven years, it grew to 16 beds and remained committed to the recovery of the most behaviorally disturbed youth in South Carolina. The operating system evolved as the population disturbances became more aggressive. Many of the methods developed during this time by Dr. M.J. Short at the home were new to the field of adolescent recovery in group homes and have since become ubiquitous in the response to behaviorally disturbed children.
During the late 1990’s two additional structures were added to the Avalonia campus. The growth of the facility originated in the recognition that South Carolina needed a recovery system for severely emotionally disturbed youth, who suffer with mental illness. The part of the development of South Carolina system created a hybrid facility called a high management group homed, which provided both treatment of mental illness and long term residential care. Avalonia’s place in the system was as a high management group home with a high staff ratio in a secure environment, which totaled 55 beds by 2000.
In 2001 Excalibur Youth Services, LLC was formed to integrate severely emotionally disturbed males into the community. Using the high management group home concept of treatment combined with residential care, it developed an organization, focusing on educational and work success in a variety of secondary education environments and actual work experience, both in and out of the facility. It’s capacity was 42 beds and was composed of 4 distinct units within the facility. The transition of older youth into the community occurred by moving clients from on-site school to traditional public school. If public school was not a good fit, then various community based GED and Greenville Tech programs were offered, including job skills, such as welding and carpentry. Many of the clients worked in actual public jobs in the community, as well as on-site structure work settings.
Because Avalonia Group Homes, Inc. and Excalibur Youth Services, LLC were organizations committed to treatment of mentally ill youth, they diversified their operations. Based upon an opportunity granted by the State of South Carolina, each organization established a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility. Also, the population served diversified in the group homes, which removed treatment elements from their operations, but retained the remaining parts of their core operations. In October 2008 a male PRTF was opened and on January 15th of 2009 a female facility was opened and both provide psychiatric treatment for ages 5-21.