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Brookings County Awarded Resilient Community Designation

The SocialNetWorks group standing together. They are all wearing masks and blue clothing. The Social NET Works group (from left): Heidi Gullickson of Brookings United Way, Chad Adamson, Daniel Scholl of SDSU, Darla Biel of Brookings County Youth Mentoring, Nikki Eining of Avera Behavioral Health, Carrie Sanderson of the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment, CPCM Advisory Board Chair Rep. Tim Reed, R-Brookings; Haifa AbouSamra, USD School of Health Sciences and Brookings County State’s Attorney Dan Nelson

VERMILLION, S.D. – 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,” Sanderson 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, Ph.D., 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,” Samra 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,” said Samra.

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,” Reed 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,” said Nelson.

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 health care, behavioral health, government, nonprofits and education, the Resilient Community group meets monthly to analyze Brookings County’s current strengths that help children and families deal with and recover from traumatic experiences, 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.

Learn more about becoming a Resilient Community at sdcpcm.com/resilient-communities-south-dakota/. CPCM is hosting a webinar on April 28 for any South Dakota community who would like to learn more about the Resilient Communities framework. Contact cpcm@usd.edu to register.

The CPCM is the first organization to join local, tribal, state and federal efforts in the fight against child sexual abuse and other forms of maltreatment in South Dakota. CPCM was born out of the work of Jolene’s Law Task Force, established through SDCL 2-6-31 and its comprehensive 10-year plan to help South Dakotans know of, respond to and prevent child sexual abuse.

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Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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