Partnership Will Train School Staff In Crisis Response

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A new partnership between the University of South Dakota and the state Department of Social Services will train more personnel in elementary and secondary schools on crisis prevention and response.

The training will help mental health providers in schools to identify children who are in need of services and how to meet those needs.

“We know the impact of the pandemic and natural disasters in South Dakota has been hard on all of us,” said Kari Oyen, program director and assistant professor of school psychology at USD. “We want to focus on giving educators the tools to respond to a child who may be struggling.”

It will also help personnel identify children who might be at high risk and in need of help outside the school setting, the Argus Leader reported.

“The mental and physical health and well-being of children is paramount,” DSS Secretary Laurie Gill said. “This partnership will support the skills and resources our schools in South Dakota need to help protect children.”

The program is part of the South Dakota Natural Disaster Response grant awarded last year to DSS by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. i