Oyate News - News For The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Community

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


Last updated 9/13/2021 at 9:06pm

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-ofhome 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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