United Way Spotlight

United Way Spotlight An agency which received funding from United Way of Vermilion will be featured in this spotlight each week. The United Way of Vermillion Board of Directors wants the people of Vermillion to know more about the agencies that receive United Way funding and the services which they provide to the Vermillion community.

This week's featured agency is the Clay County Child Protection Team.

In 1980, the South Dakota Legislature enacted a statute which authorized the secretary of Social Services to appoint child protection teams to assist in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. This statute gave rise to the Clay County Child Protection Team which was organized later that same year and has been serving the needs of Clay County children ever since.

The team is comprised of local medical and health professionals, law enforcement officials, the state's attorney, mental health professionals, representatives of the Wakonda and Vermillion School Districts, case workers with the Department of social services and representatives of the general public.

All members of the team provide their expertise on a volunteer basis and sign a confidentiality agreement which is strictly adhered to. These individuals work toward the common goal of improving the life situation of children who are abused or neglected. The team also evaluates community needs, values, and standards in regard to child abuse and neglect.

In addition to staffing select abuse and neglect cases, the team seeks to raise community awareness of abuse and to provide education opportunities regarding the prevention of abuse and effective parenting techniques. In this aspect especially, the team is grateful for the funding it receives from the United Way.

The United Way enables the team to offer "Common Sense" parenting classes twice a year. The parenting classes and materials are offered at no cost. The team also provides a free baby-sitting service for participants during the classes.

"Common Sense" parenting is a method involving unconditional love and respect while utilizing a logical, workable approach to discipline. The classes consist of six two-hour training sessions. There are two classes conducted each year, one in the fall and the other in the spring.

This year, the fall class addresses parenting skills of pre-school through middle school age children. The spring class will address parenting skills for upper middle school through high school age kids. The instructors for the parenting classes are certified trainers thorough the Boys Town program in Omaha, NE.

With the help of United Way funding, the Clay County Child Protection Team has made a difference in the lives of countless area children.

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