Keeping Kids Safe: Mandatory Reporters

Are you a mandatory reporter? 

There are over 25 professions listed in South Dakota Codified Law who are mandatory reporters. To see the full list, visit the South Dakota Legislative Research Council website.

But ANYONE can report suspected instances of child abuse.

To report child abuse or neglect, please call 1.877.244.0864. Intake Specialists will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. If reporting an emergency situation before 8 a.m., after 5 p.m., on the weekends, or during a holiday, please contact your local law enforcement.

Keeping Kids Safe: Child Advocacy Centers

Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) are child-focused centers that coordinate the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse, while helping abused children heal.

CACs have professionals specially trained to interview a child or provide a medical exam for the child.

South Dakota has three nationally accredited CACs:

Oglala Lakota Children’s Justice Center in Pine Ridge also serves as a CAC.

Keeping Kids Safe: Building Trauma-Informed Communities

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is the term given to describe abuse, neglect, and other traumatic experiences that occur to individuals under the age of 18. The landmark CDC-Kaiser Permanente ACE Study examined the relationships between adverse experiences during childhood and reduced health and well-being later in life. The study found a person’s risk for long-term health complications increases as the ACE score increases.

Adults with an ACE Score of 4 or more are:

  • 12.2 times more likely to have attempted SUICIDE
  • 7.4 times as likely to consider themselves ALCOHOLIC
  • 5.5 times as likely to report missing 14 or more days of work in a month due to mental illness.
  • 4.7 times as likely to have used ILLICIT DRUGS

Compared to adults with an ACE Score of zero.

The Center for Disease Control estimates the national, lifetime costs associated with child maltreatment at $124 billion, with the largest areas of cost in health care and in lost productivity.

While the statistics are harrowing, South Dakotans can use education and prevention efforts to help stop the cycles of abuse and to foster resiliency for those with high ACE scores. We are pleased to announce that Children's Home Society of South Dakota and the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment at USD have joined together to develop the ACE and Resiliency Fellowship Training Program in South Dakota.

For two days, twenty-five ACE and Resiliency Fellows from across South Dakota trained directly with Dr. Robert Anda, Laura Porter, and Kathy Adams. ACE Fellows learned about the impacts of trauma, the ACE study, and how to support positive change within a community. ACE Fellows now have the tools needed to bring ACEs training into our communities.

Through ACE and Resiliency Fellows, we are excited to offer ACE training to our communities South Dakota. Training is offered at no cost and can be customize based on the demographics of your community group and the amount of time available. If you interact with humans, you need ACEs training!

Click HERE to learn more or to schedule a training in your community!

Keeping Kids Safe: Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is the term given to describe all types of abuse, neglect, and other traumatic experiences that occur to individuals under the age of 18. The landmark Kaiser ACE study examined the relationships between these experiences during childhood and reduced health and well-being later in life.

CDC estimates the lifetime costs associated with child maltreatment at $124 billion.  The largest areas of cost are in lost productivity and health care.

Compared to those with 0, those with an ACE Score of 4 or more are:

  • 12.2 times more likely to have attempted SUICIDE
  • 7.4 times as likely to consider themselves ALCOHOLIC
  • 5.5 times as likely to report missing 14 or more days of work in a month due to mental illness.
  • 4.7 times as likely to have used ILLICIT DRUGS

People with 6 or more ACEs died nearly 20 years earlier on average than those without ACEs.

Source: Adverse Childhood Experiences: Looking at how ACEs affect our lives and society, VetoViolence

Click HERE to learn more about what South Dakota is doing to bring ACEs awareness throughout the state.

Keeping Kids Safe: Reducing Screen Time

“We now know that those iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug. Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way that cocaine does.
Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic — as much as sex.”
- Dr. Nicholas Kardaras

 Source: “It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies” by Dr. Nicholas Kardaras

Keeping Kids Safe: Building Safety Through Communication

Child safety discussions are crucial.

Children’s Home Society of South Dakota offers the “What if?” Card deck. The 160-card set opens a subtle, yet intentional dialogue with children in the areas of sexual abuse, physical abuse, bullying, morals, stranger danger, peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, internet safety, home safety, promises and secrets, and every day issues.

Visit the Children’s Home Society webpage for more information.

Source: “What If” Card Deck, Children’s Home Society of South Dakota      

Keeping Kids Safe: What to do if a child discloses abuse

 Do you know how you would react if a child discloses abuse to you? Proper handling of the situation will help the child heal.

If a child discloses abuse to you, the most important things you can say are:

  • "I believe you."

  • "This isn't your fault."

  • "We are going to get help."

For more tips on how to respond, visit the Children's Home Society webpage.

Source: What to do if a child discloses, Children’s Home Society of South Dakota

SD Crafts Strategic Plan to Eliminate Child Abuse | Public News Service

PIERRE, S.D. - Childhood trauma that includes emotional, physical or sexual abuse can cause huge life impacts, but these can be minimized through awareness events such as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, through the end of April.

In South Dakota, agencies and law enforcement field about 16,000 calls concerning child abuse or neglect each year. Carrie Sanderson, director of the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment, is helping lead the state's 10-year strategic plan, which includes six goals and 48 objectives.

"Child sexual abuse and maltreatment knows no boundary," she said. "It is not a socioeconomic problem. It is not a race issue. It happens in every community and in every type of household."

Kids Count data shows that 46 percent of South Dakota children report having experienced at least one "adverse childhood experience" by the time they're 17. Research shows such events have been linked to increased risks of drug use, depression, heart disease and other health effects.

Sanderson said a key to reducing child abuse includes enlisting not only law enforcement but also critical adults within the school system, church, mental-health agencies and the courts.

"Truly, this a national issue," she said. "Child maltreatment is never a child's problem; it's always an adult's problem. But what we're seeing is that it's something in our culture that is hard to discuss and hard to manage appropriately."

One early objective in the strategic plan is to make South Dakota a "trauma-informed state," she said, "meaning that every professional and every citizen in our state have had training to identify trauma in our children and are supporting the response system to make resilient families for South Dakota."

The Watertown area and its communities are the first to establish a multidisciplinary team to help abuse victims and their families navigate the response system. The goal is to have at least five regional teams statewide.

More information on the plan is online at sdcpcm.com.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD

Keeping Kids Safe: Teach Body Safety

Always remember that child abuse is an adult problem.

Children should be taught proper words for their private parts and be taught that nobody has the right to touch or look at their private parts. Children should not be expected to stop abuse, rather they should be educated to let an adult know if someone touches or looks at their private parts, or wants them to touch or look at someone else’s private parts or makes them feel uncomfortable.

Avoid using good touch/bad touch language as this can be confusing for children. It makes them responsible for interpreting the intentions of an adult. A child can just tell a trusted adult, who can then determine the next steps.

 

Source: Teach Body Safety, Children’s Home Society of South Dakota