Child Services: Safe, Positive, Caring
At Cheyenne River Indian Outreach, our Child Services staff works to create an environment that is positive, provides safety, and encourages youth to be respectful and caring, not only to others but to themselves.
“We serve children 10-17 years old who have been removed from their home environment due to abuse or neglect,” said Leah, Director of Child Services. “Because each child we work with has experienced some level of trauma, we are constantly working with staff to increase training and skills to help meet each child’s needs to the fullest extent possible.”
Communication is key, not just among staff, but also with the youth.
“Everyone has strengths,” said Leah, Director of Child Services. “It’s our responsibility to help our students recognize what their strengths are and build upon them. To do this, we must get to know them, understand their situation and help each student find the tools and resources they need to find their way in the world.”
Some recent training is helping Child Services Staff accomplish this.
“Essentially, we have training at every staff meeting,” said Leah. “Training is either provided by an outside agency, such as Catholic Social Services, or it is done in house with staff who have been trained or licensed in specific areas.”
Some training topics include:
- Proactive versus Reactive — helps staff learn to identify potential behaviors early. This allows staff to take measures to shift or prevent the behavior, rather than waiting to deal with consequences.
- Setting Priorities — helps staff working with youth recognize if intervention is needed immediately (in the case of a physical confrontation, for example) or if something can be returned to later (in the case of talking to a child who seems sad or out of sorts).
- Prevalence of Trauma — all students at the center have experienced some form of trauma in their life. As a result, they have many needs. Staff must keep this in mind at all times and constantly work to further understand trauma and its effects.
- Safety Crisis Management — this training provides strategies for de-escalation, intervention and responding to aggressive behavior. The State of South Dakota requires employees to be certified in Safety Crisis Management. Currently two staff are certified instructors who can train the staff and provide them with the necessary certification.
“We work hard to provide our staff with a ‘toolbox’ full of positive interventions and strategies to meet the unique needs of our youth,” said Leah. “By creating a nurturing, healing and welcoming atmosphere, we promote emotional and social growth for each of the youth we serve.”
Thank you for supporting Cheyenne River Indian Outreach! We are grateful for your partnership as we encourage youth who have been impacted by trauma and assist them in finding their personal strengths to overcome such trauma.
Learn more about our Child Services Program.