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Foster youth voices matter in South Dakota

For Immediate ReleaseMonday, October 24, 2022
DSS Media Contact: Steve Long, dssmedia@state.sd.us, 605.773.3165

Foster youth voices matter in South Dakota


PIERRE – In South Dakota, we value the voices of youth and young adults who are or have been in foster care. Their lived experience is important and can have a positive impact on their own lives and the lives of future children in foster care.


This October, South Dakota Child Protection Services and Young Voices, a youth advocacy group with Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, have joined youth councils in 34 other states in a national awareness campaign. This campaign is led by Selfless Love Foundation, a non-profit organization. Its purpose is to increase awareness of the value of foster youth voices.


The Department of Social Services (DSS) actively works to help every foster care youth reach their full potential and live safe, healthy lives. Youth and young adults with lived foster care experience can provide insights into policies and processes that no one else has. Those currently in foster care should be aware of and play an active role in the decisions that impact their lives.


“We welcome any input that makes our foster care system the best it can be. We understand the impact young voices of experience can have.” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “Who better to advocate for positive and healthy foster care changes than those who are or were living that life firsthand.”


For youth in foster care, the foster family plays an integral role in the life of that child. Recognizing this, through Governor Kristi Noem’s Stronger Families Together initiative, South Dakota is recruiting, preparing, and supporting foster and adoptive families. Foster families are needed to care for children and support their families when they are experiencing challenges making it unsafe for children to be at home. The goal of foster care is for families to make changes so children can safely return home.


To learn more about becoming a foster parent, visit www.StrongerFamiliesTogether.com.