PIERRE, S.D. (KELO-AM) – The month of April is designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month nationwide. In South Dakota, the Department of Social Services (DSS) encourages people in communities across the state to work together to keep children safe and offer the support families need to stay together.
“All children in South Dakota have the right to be safe and secure,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Lynne A. Valenti. “The South Dakota Department of Social Services is committed to protecting children from abuse, neglect and exploitation.”
Individuals can be a part of the prevention process by:
- Learning about the signs of child abuse and neglect. Educate yourself on the signs of child abuse and neglect, and be prepared to recognize them. Learn more about the common signs of abuse and neglect at www.dss.sd.gov/cps/protective.
- Asking for help if you need it. As a caregiver, there are many resources available to provide support. Common Sense Parenting classes are held throughout the state and cover topics ranging from reducing family stress to enriching relationships with young children. For more information on this program, visit www.dss.sd.gov/cps/parentingprogram.
- Offering a helping hand to friends and neighbors. Let parents know you are available and willing to talk, or offer to give parents a rest by taking care of the children. Volunteer your time to local community programs that provide support for families, such as after-school programs, athletic or church activities.
- Reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. If you have reason to believe a child has been harmed or may be in danger, report it by contacting your local Department of Social Services office or local law enforcement agency.
- Wearing a blue ribbon. Throughout the month of April, citizens are asked to wear blue ribbons or tie them to their vehicle antennas to spread the message of child-abuse prevention.
The Department of Social Services’ Division of Child Protection Services has 20 offices across the state and serves every county. In addition to receiving and assessing reports of child abuse and/or neglect, the division connects parents with the needed resources to help increase their ability to keep children safe. For more information, please visit http://dss.sd.gov/cps/.