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USD, DSS partner to train school personnel in crisis prevention and response





USD, DSS partner to train school personnel in crisis prevention and response

VERMILLION – To help ensure children are psychologically and physically safe before, during and after unexpected negative events, the University of South Dakota (USD) and Department of Social Services (DSS) are working together to train South Dakota school personnel.

The USD School Psychology program and DSS Division of Behavioral Health have partnered to provide crisis prevention and response training to K-12 schools throughout South Dakota.

“The mental and physical health and well-being of children is paramount. This partnership will support the skills and resources our schools in South Dakota need to help protect children,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “From pandemics to natural disasters to news about violence and crises across the globe, our students and school personnel face a lot of uncertainty and stress. They need positive coping skills to deal with what is going on around them and this partnership will help provide that.”

The training will help school-based mental health providers learn how to identify children who demonstrate mental health needs and how to match interventions facilitated by school employees to meet those needs. Training will also help identify if a child demonstrates high risk with intensive needs that require community-based services provided outside of the school setting.

“The School Psychology program at USD is delighted to partner with the Department of Social Services to provide crisis prevention and response training in South Dakota,” said Kari Oyen, program director and assistant professor of school psychology at USD. “We know the impact of the pandemic and natural disasters in South Dakota has been hard on all of us. We want to focus on giving educators the tools to respond to a child who may be struggling.”

The program is part of the South Dakota Natural Disaster Response grant awarded to DSS by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2020. USD supports the program by coordinating the Youth Services and Assessment components of the grant.

For more information, including behavioral health resources, please visit dss.sd.gov/behavioralhealth.

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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.

About the School of Education

USD's School of Education is transformative in preparing students both inside and outside the classroom. Its research- and practitioner-based programs train future educators, counselors, leaders, fitness and sport-related professionals for successful careers. The school focuses on a comprehensive learning experience, lifelong learning and developing professionals grounded in best practice. The school’s divisions include counseling and psychology, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, kinesiology and sport management, and teacher residency and education.

About USD

Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.