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CACSD Visits Washington

With summer comes warm weather, blues skies, South Dakota construction and – for CAC professionals – the National Children’s Alliance’s annual Leadership Conference. This year, Lindy Bare (Family Advocate, Central South Dakota Child Assessment Center), Arlana Bettelyoun (Executive Director, Oglala Lakota Children’s Justice Center) and I traveled to Washington, D.C. with over 500 other colleagues to learn, discuss and advocate for the protection, justice and treatment of victims of child maltreatment.

ThuneThis year’s keynote speakers included cultural anthropologist Nat Kendell Taylor, CEO of Frameworks Institute; survivor and advocate Sasha Joseph Neulinger, Co-Founder of Step 1 Films; and Former Vice-President Joseph Biden, the original author of the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA). A screening of ‘Digging Through the Darkness‘ was also held on Monday evening. Educational sessions ranged from topics on legislative advocacy to prevention/community education, best practice/innovative service provision techniques and cultural competency and equity.

Between sessions, South Dakota’s delegation was able to meet with each of our United States Legislators on Capitol Hill. Here we provided updates on CACSD and its partners’ state of affairs, funding opportunities, CAC-military partnership and CAC service of child maltreatment in our State. We were also very pleased to thank Senator Thune and Senator Rounds for their support for the re-authorization of VOCAA for a proposed $25 million.

Orioles (2)

With what time was left over, we had time to explore our Nation’s capital, visit family members, enjoy excellent (although expensive) food and even catch a ballgame in Baltimore. Needless to say, this year’s Leadership Conference was a success, setting the bar even higher for next year.

Nick Bratvold

CACSD Chapter Coordinator

The Child Advocacy Centers of South Dakota

CACSD is a network of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient – and put the needs of child victims first.

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Reporting abuse or neglect can protect a child and get help for a family – it may even save a child’s life. Learn more about reporting child abuse here.