Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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September 7, 2007

September is Kinship Appreciation and Awareness Month
in South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D.With many children and elderly individuals residing with or being cared for by other family members, both formally and informally, it is important to recognize those kin for the love and support they provide. Therefore, Governor Rounds has declared the month of September 2007, as the first-ever Kinship Appreciation and Awareness Month in the State of South Dakota.

“Families serve as the primary source of love, identity and support,” stated Deb Bowman, Secretary of the Department of Social Services. “They are the foundation of our communities and of this state. It is important to recognize the family members who have opened their homes and hearts to provide love and support to kin in times of need.”

This is the first time the State of South Dakota has declared a Kinship Appreciation and Awareness Month. The month of September will continue to be a time to honor and recognize kinship care, promoting awareness to those who play a valuable role in supporting children and elderly individuals in South Dakota.

“Kinship care is a significant and rewarding opportunity that helps children as well as elderly individuals in South Dakota,” concluded Virgena Wieseler, Director of the Division of Child Protection Services. “Family members play a vital role in helping everyone remain strong and connected.”

Recognition for kinship care has also been sought by the Collaborative Circle. The nine different tribal governments have signed a similar proclamation declaring the month of September as a time to raise awareness about kinship care. The tribes include: Sisseton-Wahpeton, Flandreau, Yankton, Lower Brule, Crow Creek, Rosebud, Oglala, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock.

About the Collaborative Circle: The Collaborative Circle was created to achieve better outcomes for Native American children who come into the care of the Department of Social Services’ Division of Child Protection Services. This group consists of 38 members who collaborate and work together on all areas concerning Native American children. There are 18 tribal members, 9 staff from the Division of Child Protection Services, 6 Native American family members and 5 providers from social services organizations.

Media Note: View Governor's Executive Proclamation