October 20, 2021

Data Initiative Launches Survey to Assess Availability of Information

A grant from the Department of Education will make it possible for the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (CPCM) to conduct a gap analysis of data needs in South Dakota and work with partner organizations to craft solutions.

The initiative supports development of a data dashboard for all data currently being collected on the welfare of South Dakota’s children. This includes recommendations for new surveillance mechanisms to help study the overall health of children. Three publications of the State of Wellbeing of Children reports are included in the grant funding.

CPCM has hired Tracey McMahon as data manager. The project will span two years and aims to make data on the general well-being of children more consistently collected. CPCM works to reduce the risks and increase protective factors for children suffering from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which can have long-term effects on brain development, mental and physical wellness and the ability to succeed in the workplace.

The Data Initiative is currently conducting a survey to gain a better understanding of the accessibility and gaps in data regarding the health and wellness of children and youth in South Dakota.

“COVID-19 brought many of the challenges to light that child advocates across the state have been concerned with for some time,” said Carrie Sanderson, CPCM director. “Our partner organizations in state government and the private sector rely on data to determine needs and understand the effects of traumatic experiences children may be enduring. We need data to determine where to best place resources for healing and prevention.”

Sanderson said there is a plethora of data available, but each agency has its own way of collecting and storing that information. The proposed database is a key component in bringing a holistic approach to understanding what data exists and where those who need it can go to get it.

“Our state and local agencies do an outstanding job of managing a large amount of information as well as spending many hours collecting it,” she said. “Our ability to create a database of what’s available will allow service providers, researchers and policy makers to access that data quickly and use it effectively.”

The grant project began in August and will continue through 2024. Sanderson said the positive impact this could have on South Dakota’s children and families is almost immeasurable.

“We want to thank the Department of Education for their support in awarding this grant to CPCM and working with us to help create a safer, healthier South Dakota for children and families,” Sanderson said.

The Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment (CPCM) is the first organization to join local, tribal, state and federal efforts in the fight against child sexual abuse and other forms of maltreatment in South Dakota. CPCM was born out of the work of Jolene’s Law Task Force, established through SDCL 2-6-31 and its comprehensive 10-year plan to help South Dakotans know of, respond to and prevent child sexual abuse.