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Community key to supporting families, ending child abuse and neglect

Community key to supporting families, ending child abuse and neglect

PIERRE – South Dakota communities play a key role in supporting families and ultimately in ending child abuse and neglect.

“Child abuse in any form is entirely unacceptable, and preventing it requires an all hands on deck commitment to protecting our children,” said Department of Social Services (DSS) Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “Supportive and connected communities are vital to providing an environment where children and families can flourish.”

April has been named Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month and DSS is asking schools, faith-based organizations, businesses, and community groups to consider how they can partner with families to safeguard child health and well-being.

Some ways communities can make meaningful engagement with families a priority include:

  • Promoting access to positive parenting resources;
  • Endorsing messages that reduce the stigma around seeking and receiving help;
  • Creating parenting mentorships or support groups;
  • Looking for opportunities to give parents a voice on supports they need; and,
  • Sharing the warning signs for child abuse and neglect as well as prevention tools.

“We all share responsibility for the well-being of children,” said Gill. “The health of our communities is tied to the health of our families. Parenting can be tough and it is ok to ask for help.”  

DSS offers services including free parenting classes all across the state, and resources to help parents struggling with mental health, drugs or alcohol to help prevent abuse before it starts.

To report child abuse or neglect, please call 1.877.244.0864. Intake Specialists are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. If reporting an emergency situation outside of normal business hours or on the weekend or holidays, please contact local law enforcement.

To learn more and to find resources, go to dss.sd.gov/childprotection/nationalchildabuse.


About DSS

The South Dakota Department of Social Services is dedicated to strengthening and supporting individuals and families by promoting cost effective and comprehensive services in connection with our partners that foster independent and healthy families. For more information, please visit dss.sd.gov.