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Sen. Deb Soholt Receives Award for Working to End Child Abuse and Neglect in South Dakota

Sen. Deb Soholt holding her Outstanding Service Award from the CPCM with Rep. Tim Reed next to her. They are both smiling at the camera. Sen. Deb Soholt receives the CPCM Outstanding Service Award from CPCM Advisory Board Chair Rep. Tim Reed, R-Brookings, Sept. 29 during the 21st Annual Community Response to Child Abuse Conference held virtually and in person at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. (Photo by Jeremy Waltner, Waltner Media)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Sen. Deb Soholt, R-Sioux Falls, was given the Outstanding Service Award from the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (CPCM) during the 21st annual Community Response to Child Maltreatment Sept. 29.

Each year the center recognizes a community partner or advocate working in the field of child maltreatment prevention who continues to go above and beyond CPCM’s mission to stop all child abuse and neglect in South Dakota by protecting its greatest asset – children.

Soholt chaired CPCM’s advisory board from the center’s inception in 2017 to 2020. Rep. Tim Reed, R-Brookings, serves as the current advisory board chair and presented the award to Soholt, who first took action to help prevent child sexual abuse in South Dakota by listening to the stories of her constituents’ struggle to find a cohesive response to child maltreatment. From 2014-2016 Soholt led the Jolene’s Law Task Force that identified ways South Dakota could create a system to better know about, respond to and prevent child maltreatment. She presented the group’s strategic plan to then-Gov. Dennis Daugaard in 2016 and advocated for the creation of CPCM at the University of South Dakota.

“Sen. Soholt’s continued dedication to making our state stronger, safer, and more resilient has led to where we are today – all of us working together for our children and families,” Reed said. “Thank you, Sen. Soholt, for your service to our great state.”

Prior recipients of the award include CPCM Advisory Board member Cameron Corey of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, Carole Cochran of South Dakota Kids Count who used data to create a picture of childhood wellness, and former South Dakota Supreme Court Justice David Gilbertson.

The conference is designed to provide professional training and educational opportunities for teachers, medical professionals, school officials, dentists, law enforcement, social workers, mental health providers, youth service providers, the legal community and other community members and child advocates. This year’s event included virtual and in-person components attended by more than 600 people.

Hurdle Life Coach Terry Liggins presented a keynote entitled “Hurdles, Help and Hope: Becoming the Hurdle Life Coach,” detailing his experiences growing up in a violent sector of Omaha, Nebraska. Jim Holler, trainer and consultant on crimes against children and safety, gave another keynote titled, “Vicarious Trauma: The Silent Killer,” discussing the impact of investigation crimes against children. Lundy Bancroft, an author, consultant and workshop leader on domestic abuse and child maltreatment, spoke on “The Batterer as Parent,” confronting the myth that children’s problems are solved once their mothers leave their batterers.

Special pre-conference sessions were conducted on child advocacy issues affecting education, domestic violence, community collaborators, medical professionals, multidisciplinary teams, and court improvement programs.

The Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (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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