Reducing Effects of Childhood Trauma Tied to SD's Juvenile-Justice Efforts
Thursday, January 12, 2023
South Dakota has been looking at ways to improve the state's juvenile-justice system. Recommendations could be considered in the new legislative session, with mental health serving as one of the overarching themes.
Proposed solutions began to surface in recent months following the work of a task force last summer. One idea calls on the state to set aside $20 million to fund scholarships for those considering the mental-health field.
State Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt - R-Sioux Falls - served on the committee and said the state needs to address its shortage of counselors.
She said intervention could help troubled youth overcome Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACES.
"Ninety percent of juvenile detainees reported experiencing one or more traumatic event," said Rehfeldt. "So, how that really links together is that when we have these ACES happen to kids - we're intervening and then in the long term, hopefully, prevent these kids from entering into the juvenile-justice system."
Rehfeldt, also a board member for the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment, said adding licensed counselors is vital because the wait time to meet with a provider is four to six weeks.
The assistant majority leader acknowledged that while South Dakota has a budget surplus, there will be a lot of competing interests for state funding.
Another item that came from the committee was a resolution to continue researching childhood mental health and services available to kids across the state.
Rehfeldt said they've barely scratched the surface. For example, she said educators are being asked to juggle a lot with more students showing a need for mental-health intervention in a school setting.
"Not that they don't want to help kids when they can," said Rehfeldt, "but when they're bogged down with all of those mental-health needs, it's really hard to be an effective teacher and then also have your kids in your classroom be effective learners."
She said the state needs to strike a balance in helping kids in and out of school when they're in need of counseling while making sure staff members aren't vulnerable to burnout.
Researchers who provided testimony suggest delaying action could create more ripple effects, with nearly 20% of South Dakota children having two or more Adverse Childhood Experiences.
get more stories like this via email
Programs intended to reduce the chances that someone will end up back behind bars are working, according to a new analysis of California state data…
Arizona is gearing up for its presidential preference election that takes place in less than a month, and registered Democrats and Republicans were …
You might say "every day is 'bring your child to college day'" at New Hampshire's Manchester Community College. On-campus childcare programs are …
By Elizabeth Ouzts for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Shanteya Hudson for North Carolina News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism…
The number of Black mothers in Ohio who die during or following pregnancy continues to climb and health advocates said they hope to shine a light on t…
It's been an uphill battle for childhood nutrition advocates to advance meal access policies in the South Dakota Legislature. However, organizers say …
A cooperative effort has seeded more than 26,000 acres in eastern Nevada. It's all in an effort to increase desirable grasses, forbs and shrubs while …
Texas postal customers, especially in rural areas, are experiencing delays in mail delivery, and some letter carriers feel it could get worse…