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CPS staff committed to helping children and families





For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Media Contact: Steve Long, steve.long@state.sd.us or 605.773.5465

CPS staff committed to helping children and families

PIERRE – Child Protection Services (CPS) staff have tough jobs, but also a passion for helping South Dakota children and families. During Child Welfare Professionals Month, that dedication to keeping children safe and families together is being recognized. 

 

When child abuse or neglect is reported, the Department of Social Services CPS staff respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to ensure children are protected from danger. While families may not realize it at first, CPS is there to help.

 

“CPS staff walk into circumstances that are difficult for everyone – when families are in crisis and emotions are running high,” said Department of Social Services (DSS) Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “CPS staff truly want to make a positive impact and work days, nights, weekends, and holidays if needed, to accomplish that.” 

 

When children need to be removed from a home, CPS staff must find a safe place for them to be cared for with relatives or in foster care. There is a shortage of foster families in South Dakota which sometimes makes quickly matching children with foster families or in their home area difficult. However, staff stay with the children until a safe home is found.

 

CPS staff also help birth parents and families work through the issues making the home unsafe. They actively help parents identify their needs and connect them to resources. Foster care is intended to be temporary with a goal of safely reunifying children with their birth family.

 

“Children are protected, lives are changed, and families are strengthened because of the commitment of CPS staff,” Gill said. “They regularly reschedule their own personal lives to help the families and children they serve because their efforts can improve the trajectory of children and families for a lifetime.” 

 

When safe reunification with birth parents is not possible, adoptive families are needed to provide the love, permanence, support, and belonging all children need and deserve. CPS staff play a vital role in this as well.

 

More foster and adoptive families are always needed. That’s why Governor Kristi Noem launched the Stronger Families Together initiative to recruit 300 foster families per year in South Dakota. Since the launch in May, 203 families have become licensed foster families through DSS and many more have inquired about the process. 

 

To learn more about becoming a foster parent, please call 605.221.2390 or toll-free at 888.201.5061 or visit www.StrongerFamiliesTogether.com and fill out the online “Commit to know more” card.

 

CPS staff see and hear about child abuse and neglect on a daily basis which can be hard to cope with mentally and emotionally. For confidentiality reasons, they cannot talk to their family and friends for support so, often, they learn to take care of themselves and form networks of support with their co-workers. Counseling and other professional support is also available.

 

“Child welfare professionals put themselves at risk physically and psychologically to help children in crisis just like other first responders,” Gill said. “Thank you to all the CPS staff and all child welfare professionals for the hard but incredibly important work they do every day for South Dakota children and families.”