The community of Brookings County became the first Resilient Community in South Dakota April 14.
Representatives from two state universities, local city and county government, law enforcement, child protection services and child advocates gathered in the City Council chambers at 10:30 a.m., to celebrate the award.
Carrie Sanderson, director of the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment, congratulated those in attendance for their commitment to building resources and services to help prevent child abuse.
“Thank you for coming together to provide safety for the children of your community,” she said.
The Resilient Communities’ framework was created by the CPCM and its partner organizations to help address factors in communities that put children at risk for abuse and neglect. It also creates an environment that is trauma-informed, so community members understand the lifetime effects of experiencing childhood adversity. The process also identifies existing resources in the community that can be used to strengthen multi-sector collaborations and prevention efforts.
Haifa AbouSamra, Dean of the University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences, also congratulated the facilitating committee, Social NET Works and its partners, for reaching the Resilient Communities designation.
“This award didn’t happen by chance,” she said. “It is the collective work of many individuals.”
The Resilient Communities framework follows the goals of the School of Health Sciences, which oversees CPCM, in providing a holistic philosophy of care to the people of South Dakota, helping mandatory reporters recognize the importance of their duty and creating greater opportunities for law enforcement, healthcare providers, child protection service and behavioral health and workers collaborate to protect children.
“We are very proud of the work you have done,” she said.
CPCM Board Chair Rep. Tim Reed, R-Brookings, recognized the people of Brookings for their ability to identify a problem and work together to find a solution.
“Today is just another example of that,” he said.
Brookings State’s Attorney Dan Nelson demonstrated the overall goal of Resilient Communities in announcing a new Brookings County program organized by Lutheran Social Services that will help treat perpetrators of domestic violence in the hopes of reducing the subsequent effects on children who live in that environment.
“It’s the work you do in prevention that’s as important as the work you do as a prosecutor,” he said.
Daniel Scholl, Vice President of Research and Economic Development at South Dakota State University said the work being done with the Resilient Community program mirrors the ideal work of the university in sharing best practices, working together and building resiliency that can help serve the community and world.
Led by Social NET Works, a coalition of local stakeholders with representatives from healthcare, behavioral health, government, nonprofits and education met monthly to analyze Brookings County’s current strengths that help children and families deal with and recover from traumatic experiences, thereby aiming to mitigate long-lasting effects, referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The coalition identified gaps that could be filled through a multidisciplinary approach to resource delivery.