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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

SD Sees Growth with Community Approach to Prevent Child Maltreatment

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Wednesday, June 28, 2023   

The federal COVID-19 public health emergency may be over, but there is lingering concern about the mental state of children. In South Dakota, a pre-pandemic program pulling communities together to prevent youth adversity, is taking flight amid these concerns.

The Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment gives South Dakota communities a framework to improve harmful home environments for kids.

Heidi Gullickson, executive director of the Brookings Area United Way, helps lead her region's Resilient Communities plan.

She said they educate community members about the warning signs of abuse or neglect, and there are conversations about the type of support at-risk households need in order to have stability.

"It's not just one thing happening in a family," Gullickson pointed out. "In a situation, there's usually multiple prongs that are happening, and so, how do we just come around each other and step in when that need is there?"

Added support could include closing transportation gaps, or making sure households have enough food to eat.

Brookings County is the first South Dakota area to successfully implement the program's framework. A grant through the South Dakota Community Foundation means several new communities are expected to begin the process this year.

In trying to establish a shared sense of preventive work, Gullickson noted community members are learning more about how Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as violence in the home or losing a caregiver to COVID, can negatively affect long-term outcomes for kids.

"Getting the word out of what that is, and having the CDC guidelines and all of those kinds of things to back up this evidence-based information, has been beneficial to our community," Gullickson asserted.

Organizers cited research showing people with at least one Adverse Childhood Experience have an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, depression and obesity. Those with an ACE score of six or higher could see their life span shortened by 20 years.

Gullickson added so far, they have trained 625 community members about ACES and their impact.

Disclosure: The Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault, Education, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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