RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City community has received a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and evaluate a program to promote family strengths and prevent adverse childhood experiences (also known as ACES).
This project will be a collaboration between several agencies and organizations in Rapid City, including Youth & Family Services, who will take the lead in implementing the programming, as well as Children’s Home Society, Working Against Violence Inc. (WAVI), and many others.
ACES include experiencing child abuse or neglect, witnessing violence at home or in the community, children/parent suicidal behavior, and more.
The goal is to build on Rapid City families’ strengths and focus on values that are important for families to have bright and healthy futures.
Research continues to show the concerning rates and negative outcomes of ACES and are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood.
“We know that trauma is a financial impact on every community that experiences it, so whether you are doing social work or law enforcement, or in the medical field or you are a politician, trauma impacts the community in which you live, so it very much is a public health issue, and should be treated as such,” said Tifanie Petro, the Director of Advocacy & Prevention at the Children’s Home Society.
The grant funding the Rapid City Family Project is one of three grants that were awarded, nationwide.
This community-led project will be spearheaded by a diverse group of individuals living in the Rapid City area to ensure the programming is culturally and contextually relevant.
Researchers and prevention specialists from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and Bennington College in Vermont, will work alongside community members to help develop and evaluate the program.
Trauma and stress that we feel as young children affects our health as we age and will affect health care in the future. Trauma as a child impacts children as they grow into adults – many factors, inducing parent divorce, physical or mental abuse or not living with biological parents.
With this Rapid City Project, they want to get education out to the public that there is hope to help families learn and address their own experiences, but also empower them to make better choices moving forward.
“There’s been an increased awareness about ACES over the past decade, and I think there is such a commitment in the Rapid City community to address ACES,” said Katie Edwards, Principal Investigator. “There is already a lot happening with education and intervention piece, so I think people are really excited about can we actually create a program that can help prevent ACES from happening.”
Everyone in Rapid City is invited to attend a community meeting on Friday, September 25 from 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. via zoom. To sign up for the community meeting, please send an email to RCFamilyProject@unl.edu.