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Governor Noem proclaims September as Kinship Appreciation and Awareness Month

For Immediate ReleaseThursday, September 2, 2021
DSS Media Contact: Steve Long, steve.long@state.sd.us, 605.773.5465

Governor Noem proclaims September as Kinship Appreciation and Awareness Month

PIERRE – Governor Kristi Noem has proclaimed September 2021 as Kinship Appreciation and Awareness Month in South Dakota. Kinship care is an arrangement in which children live with and are taken care of by a family member or people who have an emotionally significant relationship with the children.

In the Executive Proclamation, Governor Noem shares her appreciation for the “enduring and valuable contribution of kinship families who reflect the core values of family shared by all citizens of South Dakota.”

“The Department of Social Services (DSS) works alongside South Dakota’s families, tribes, and public and private agencies to help ensure children have the support they need to be successful,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill.

“Kinship care is a key strategy in helping children and their families at a time they need it most.

Kinship care improves children’s well-being, preserves sibling ties, promotes permanency, and helps preserve the child’s identity as well as family and cultural connections. It is the preferred placement for children who must be removed from their families to be safe. 

In South Dakota more than 500 children each month who are in the temporary custody of DSS or tribal courts live with and are cared for by other family members or close family friends. Some kinship families have chosen to become licensed foster parents, although licensure is not a requirement to provide kinship care through DSS.   

The goal of foster care is for families to make changes so the children can safely return home. When that is not possible, adoptive kinship families are needed. Adoptive kinship families provide consistency and stability in a child’s life. They maintain and support a child’s life-long connections, and cultural identity.

“By offering a helping hand to other families in our communities, we can build ‘Stronger Families Together,’” Gill said. “We always need more foster and adoptive families in South Dakota.”

To find out more about becoming a foster parent or helping support foster parents in your community, visit https://fosterone.sd.gov/ and fill out the online “Commit to know more” card.

To view the Executive Proclamation issued by Governor Noem please visit: https://dss.sd.gov/childprotection/fostercare/ .