Children’s Home Society of South Dakota commemorates 125 years of helping families

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. The Children’s Home Society strives to foster successful families in the state.

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Established in 1893, the Children’s Home Society is South Dakota’s oldest human services nonprofit organization. They recently celebrated 125 years of helping children and families.

The Sioux Falls campus was the first location. Then in 1972 the Black Hills location began serving families West River.

The Children’s Home Society strives to foster successful families in the state. And with November being National Adoption Awareness Month, they hope locals will consider fostering a child.

Nestled on 80 acres of land off South Rockerville Road is the Black Hills Children’s Home. Over 1,200 South Dakota children are in the foster care system each year, and this facility serves as a safe haven, providing family-type living until the children receive permanent care.

Bill Colson, executive director of the Children’s Home Society, says, “Our philosophy really is that we want to have the essence of home here … most of them, in fact, all of them are troubled in some way. If they haven’t been abused and neglected, they’ve got severe emotional behavioral problems. Mom and Dad are having a difficult time giving them what they need, and so they spend the time with us. The hope is to get them home if we can.”

What began as an orphanage many years ago now has a focus on residential treatment. The children, ages 4-14, attend school daily on campus, have structured schedules and are guided to foster healing and loving relationships. With 53 beds available, the children here stay about 14 to 16 months. That’s the average time it takes to find that child a stable place to live.

“Many of our kids are abused, so clearly those kids can’t go home. So then we try to find a good foster home and good permanent home, maybe with a kinship family, who is mom’s sister, mom‘s brother, or somebody like that. And if that’s not possible, try to find an adoptive home for the kids, and we got a great program for adoptions, so we are really, really proud of that as well.”

The nonprofit also works closely with the Dave Thomas Foundation, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, to help make adoptions possible. Since 2009, they placed 74 kids in adoptive homes in the Rapid City area. They help to find a home for the kids who are most difficult to place, older kids,  or those who have behavioral or emotional issues.

“Kids who don’t find permanency when they age out of the system at 18 really struggle. They struggle with unemployment, they struggle with substance abuse, they struggle with homelessness – all of those things are a big deal. So our goal, if we can’t get them back with their biological family, then we want to find and adoptive family for them.”

If you are interested in helping with the needs of kids at the Black Hills Children’s Home, click here.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News