Oyate News - News For The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Community

Child Protection Program – Debra Divine, Program Manager


Last updated 3/8/2021 at 11:29pm

Program Name: Child Protection Program – Debra Divine, Program Manager

Function/Mission Statement (what you do as a program to provide services to the community):

The purpose of the SWO Child Protection Program is to provide a tribally administered social services

delivery system. Standards of child placement practices are in accordance with the standards of the

State of South Dakota and the Child Welfare League of America.

The Child Protection Program offers six (6) categories of services. The following services are available

through the program: child protection services, (abuse, neglect and exploitation), child placement

services (foster care), adoptive services, licensing activities for adoption and foster care, parenting

classes, and preventative services to families identified as “at risk”.

The goal of the Child Protection Program is to re-enforce and strengthen family values and stress

management in those families experiencing dysfunction. By providing the identified services, we help

such families cope successfully with stress so they are able to provide a nurturing home environment for

their children. Program success is not measured by those children who are able to adjust well to out-of home placements but by the number of parents who are able to successfully undertake the responsibility

of parenthood. In this undertaking, we rely on the strengths of each other, of the extended family and of

the tribe as a community concerned about our future.

Data for the month (this data should show how your services contributed to the community you

serve) as follows:

The SWO Child Protection Program has legal custody of 95 children. Following is the breakdown on

type of placements:

Foster Care: 39

Group Care: 12

Boarding School 04

With Parents 09

With Relatives 31

For the month, two children was returned to the legal custody of their parent(s)/caretaker.

For the month, the Child Protection Program received 43 referrals. These numbers reflect up to

02/27/2020. Following is the breakdown:

Neglect 11

Neglect/Drug 06

Physical Abuse/Drugs 02

Physical Abuse 03

Sexual Abuse 08

Infant positive for meth 01

Pregnant/Drugs 03

Truancy 07

Clothing Orders 03

Financial Assistance 07

Youth Behavior 01

Domestic Violence 01

For the month the SWO Child Protection Program received 230 ICWA notices. Sixteen (16) of these

were SWO members and ICWA eligible.

For the month we had one person apply for foster care licensure.

The SWO Child Protection Program has an on-going need of recruiting and retaining foster parents, this

has been a continuous challenge for not only the tribes but a statewide need. The SWO Child Protection

Program along with the State of South Dakota continue its efforts in recruiting Native American foster

families for those children who cannot remain in their homes due to safety risks.

The SWO Child Protection Program is in need of funding for additional staff. This would allow the

client/caseworker ratio to decrease allowing for more effective case management. Our request to

council has been denied, we laid off one employee effective 10/01/19. We will go through the Bureau

of Indian Affairs and request additional administrative funding.


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