FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


What is the shelter?

The Nancy K. Perry Children’s Shelter, Inc. is a residential program for the temporary, emergency care of children who have experienced physically or sexually abused, neglected, abandoned, exploited or caught in the midst of family crisis. The Shelter operates twenty-four hours a day, year-round to care for children from birth to 18 years of age. The youngest child we served so far was 8 hours old. The Shelter uniquely blends diverse children in a family like setting with house parents providing nurture and love.

The Shelter is the oldest facility of its type in South Carolina and serves approximately 85 to 100 children annually. Since the Shelter was opened, it has cared for more than 5,000 children. Children, from all areas of the county and all socioeconomic settings, are placed at the Shelter by public agencies. While in placement, children attend public school, receive counseling, medical care, recreational, cultural, social, and religious opportunities, as well as lots of love.

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How did the shelter begin?

Where is a child to go when he or she cannot be properly cared for at home? Prior to 1972, in Lexington County and most other places in the country, many children who needed protection were kept in jail cells because there was nowhere else for them to go. Then, through a concerted effort of Lexington County Citizens, the Shelter, originally known as Welcome Home, opened its doors. After later being known as the Lexington County Children’s Shelter, its name changed in 1992 to honor Ms. Nancy Perry, a volunteer, houseparent, and eventually executive director. Ms. Perry formally worked with the Shelter from its beginning in 1972 until 2002, when she resigned as executive director. Still an active volunteer, Mrs. Perry died in 2007.


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Are volunteers needed at the shelter?

Yes. The Shelter needs volunteers to do all kinds of service to the children. Needs range from supervising children, taking them on field trips, giving parties, helping with homework, and many other activities. The Shelter’s philosophy is that if you can volunteer your time or special skills, we will find a way to ensure that you make a meaningful impact in the lives of the children.

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How does the shelter operate?

As a private, not-for-profit corporation, 501 c (3) where costs are kept to an absolute minimum, with only two full time employees.

Licensed annually by the SC Department of Social Services. Directed by Trustees appointed by the Lexington County Council and administered by an executive director.

Each council appoints one trustee,creating a child-centered environment in which children are nurtured and guided by adults who serve as positive role models.

With gratitude for support and funding from individuals, civic, and religious organizations, the County of Lexington, and state agencies that place children in the Shelter’s care.


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What are the requirements for admission and how long do the children stay?

There are no requirements for admission other than a child is in care of a state agency and has no other place to live, and is not harmful to self or others. This means that the admission is open and we are reluctant to remove a child because of behavioral problems. Our Board of Trustees firmly believes that children should not have to leave the Shelter because of an arbitrary length of time (3 months or 6 months). Children stay as long as they need to, until something more permanent is found. Their stays range from a few days to over a year.


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Can I make gifts to the shelter?

Yes. We raise a significant portion of our operating expenses and would deeply appreciate in-kind gifts as well as cash donations. As a 501 c (3), all donations are fully tax deductible. You may want to make a donation in honor or memory of someone, which we will acknowledge and provide receipts. We are thankful for all the people who have designated their United Way pledge to The Nancy K. Perry Children’s Shelter. In addition, we would be happy to help your club or organization develop and operate a fundraising activity for the Shelter.


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What are the management goals of the shelter?

Our goals are three fold as follows:

  1. To provide quality care for children who are in crisis. We provide a safe, loving, nurturing, and structured family setting with house parents as role models.
  2. To keep the community of Lexington County involved in supporting our activities which has been our legacy for more than 30 years.
  3. To operate as cost effectively as possible. We keep overhead and administrative cost to a minimum so that the maximum amount of our funds is spent on the children and their needs.


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Do the children go to church?

Yes, we encourage religious activities. Although we would not force a child to attend or participate, almost all our children regularly worship with the house parents on Sunday, have regular devotionals provided by local churches, return thanks at meals, and say prayers at bedtime.


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Where do the children go to school?

We transport the children to the local public schools for which the Shelter is zoned.


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How is the shelter changing?

Although there have been many changes over the years, love, concern, and high quality care have been consistent and, the need for the program is stronger than ever. We provide a valuable service to our community and we invite you to invest in our children’s futures. You will meet a lot of wonderful people, gain publicity for your club or organization, and be able to see your efforts make a real difference in the lives of children here in Lexington County . Together, we can help these children’s see past their difficult pasts and experience promising futures.


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