PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Social Services (DSS) in Rapid City is hosting a special art exhibit in partnership with the Rapid City Arts council at the Dahl Arts Center. For the second year, children in foster care have the opportunity to display their art work during the entire month of April.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, the Department of Social Services encourages individuals and organizations to play a role in making Rapid City a better place for children and families.
“April is a time to celebrate the important role that our community plays in protecting children and strengthening families,” said Child Protective Services division director Virgena Wieseler. “By ensuring parents have knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children and families in our community.”
When law enforcement removes children from an unsafe home, the ultimate goal is to have children reunited with their family; however, some children may need placement with relatives or foster families. In order for children to stay connected to their family, community, school and culture, it’s important for a community to have foster families available.
“Children who come into foster care may have medical, emotional or behavioral needs,” said Wieseler. “The Rapid City area has a need for families to care for children of all ages, and a significant need for families who are able to care for children with special needs, sibling groups and for American Indian families to care for American Indian children.”
In Pennington County 356 children are currently in foster care. There are 91 licensed foster families in Pennington County. Over 80 percent of the children who come into care return home to their families within the first 12 months of placement.
The Foster One program was established in 2013 with the help of First Lady Linda Daugaard. The goal of Foster One is to raise awareness of the need for foster families in South Dakota. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent please call 605-343-2598, or visit our website at www.fosteronesd.org.