For immediate release: Monday, April 4, 2022
DSS Media Contact: Steve Long, [email protected] or 605.773.5465
Governor Noem calls for prevention of child abuse and neglect
STONE — Governor Kristi Noem has proclaimed April Child Abuse Prevention Month to help end abuse and neglect in South Dakota. The Department of Social Services (DSS) asks everyone to be vigilant by watching for signs of trouble and reporting anything suspicious.
“Child abuse or neglect is never acceptable,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill.
“We can all play a role in prevention by watching over children and supporting families.”
Ending child abuse and neglect requires the teamwork of families, friends, neighbors, child protection professionals, schools, medical facilities, community and faith-based organizations, businesses, law enforcement and the public.
In the 2021 state fiscal year, DSS’s Child Protective Services (CPS) Division received more than 16,000 reports of child abuse and neglect. CPS strives to work with parents to resolve issues and ensure their children can stay safely in their homes. When it is determined that children cannot safely remain in their homes, they are placed with a parent and, if a parent is not available, in foster care.
“DSS has resources to help parents develop skills to prevent abuse or neglect before it happens,” Gill said. “Parents can learn healthy ways to deal with stress, mental health, substance abuse issues, and other factors that can lead to child abuse and neglect.”
To report child abuse or neglect, please call 1.877.244.0864. Hospitality Specialists are available 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you are reporting an emergency outside of normal business hours or on weekends or holidays, please contact local law enforcement.
To learn more and find resources, go to dss.sd.gov/childprotection/nationalchildabuse.
To learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, please call 888.201.5061 or visit www.StrongerFamiliesTogether.com and complete the online “Pledge to Learn More” card.