South Dakota State News
Building Stronger Families Together
By: Governor Kristi Noem
July 8, 2022
Strong families are the foundation of our communities and the backbone of our state. We must continue to work together to support families across the state to ensure a brighter future for all of South Dakota. Since taking office, I have prioritized the defense of South Dakota families, recognizing that stronger families will build stronger communities.
Foster care is a key way to create stronger families, and in particular by recruiting more foster families. Unfortunately, we have many needy children across our state, and we need to make sure there are loving homes available for each of them. Children go into foster care because their own families are in crisis, and foster families come into contact with children who need a safe, stable, and loving place to stay. We need foster parents in every community across the state so that children can stay close to what is familiar to them, especially their family and school.
In May 2021, I launched our “Stronger Families Together” initiative and set an ambitious goal: to recruit 300 new foster families each year in South Dakota. Thanks to the hard work of the Department of Social Services and South Dakota Kids Belong, we achieved this goal in our first year and licensed 304 new foster families statewide. We’ve also partnered with 71 businesses and 31 churches who are committed to helping provide the community support that makes a real difference in the lives of these children and their families.
These are great achievements, but we still have work to do. Our goal is to recruit an additional 900 new approved foster and adoptive families in South Dakota over the next three years and to engage with even more business partners and faith leaders. Achieving these goals will take a lot of work and we will need your help.
We currently have 13 Wrap Around teams across the state made up of 177 Wrap members helping families by running errands, providing transportation or helping with meals. These Wrap members provide support to foster families while they support these children. It saves our foster families from being overwhelmed or burnt out, and it sends the message that our communities are committed to helping these children, together.
Growing up, I had a brother who joined our family through foster care, so I understand how important and challenging it can be to serve as a foster family. As a mother and grandmother, I also understand that a support structure is essential. We need to make sure host families know they are not alone.
Please ask yourself: How can I help you? There are so many ways anyone can help a host family succeed. Check in and really ask them how they are. Call them. Send an SMS or an email. Bring them a meal. Let them know you are thinking of them and praying for them. Find out what you can do to make their life easier. And this is not just a call to individuals, but also to faith and business communities.
To learn more about participation opportunities, please visit www.StrongerFamiliesTogether.com. We have a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our state through our children. Let’s work together to make it happen.