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Helping People in Crisis

Your support provides food for children for the weekend, shelter for women and children escaping violence, and tools for individuals and families to secure safe and permanent housing. Below are all of the programs Sioux Empire United Way funds that help people in crisis.


Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center’s Avera Family Wellness Program focuses on early intervention with children in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Students and their families are connected with a family health coordinator to build family connection and stability while identifying and treating the family’s mental health needs. Last year, 299 children and their families took part in the program, attending over 1,500 therapy sessions, resulting in fewer missed days of school, fewer behavioral events and less tardiness.

Bethany Christian Services’ Safe Families for Children helps families and children in crisis by providing a network of volunteer host families who help parents who need temporary care for their children as they face unmanageable or critical circumstances. Last year, 122 children were provided safe care through the program. At the end of the crisis that precipitated the hosting arrangement, 94% return to their families.

Bright Start Nurse Home Visitation program serves low-income, at-risk, first-time moms during pregnancy, after delivery, and through the child’s third birthday. The program provides prenatal, maternal, infant/child health assessments and education, parenting education, mental health services, and assistance with education and transportation. Last year, 85 families were provided with 2,449 nurse home visits and therapy sessions. Of these mothers, 100% received prenatal care and children had a 91% immunization rate by age 2. Research has shown programs that utilize the nurse family partnership model show improved prenatal health, improved school readiness, reduction in arrests for the mother, and reduction in child abuse and neglect.

The Crisis Intervention program of Children’s Inn serves the community with a crisis hotline, in person crisis counseling, crisis day care, outreach to emergency rooms, arrest interventions, and more. Last year, 2,732 individuals were served through 16,827 different points of contact. Research shows that crisis intervention decreases distress and improves problem solving.

The Crisis Shelter of Children’s Inn provides women and children fleeing abuse with immediate safe shelter when they are ready or able to leave an abusive situation. Last year, 968 individuals sought shelter for a total of 17,200 shelter days. Of those women staying in the shelter, 92% indicated they developed options for continued safety for when they depart from shelter. Seeking help at the time of a crisis and leaving an abusive relationship will lead to a more positive life for the victim due to the fact that the effects of staying in an abusive relationship include: physical health problems, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and negative economic effects.

The Community Outreach’s Crisis Care program provides information and referrals to local agencies and emergency financial assistance for basic needs items including shelter, utilities, and employment related transportation. Last year, 1,811 individuals and families received financial assistance and 461 individuals and families received case management support.

The Community Outreach’s Genesis mentoring program pairs volunteer mentors with homeless or near homeless families and individuals to help stabilize them and educate on financial literacy. Last year, 84 households were served through Genesis. Of those served, 93% achieved or maintained permanent housing one year after entering the Genesis program.

The Compass Center’s Education & Prevention program strives to decrease the incidence and prevalence of sexual assault and domestic violence in our region. Last year, 37 trainings and sessions were held, educating 2,129 people. The goal of prevention education sessions is to prevent first-time perpetration of victimization by improving knowledge and attitudes that correspond to the origins of sexual assault, the impact of gender roles, healthy relationships, consent, conflicted resolution, respecting personal boundaries, and skill building for these topics.

The Compass Center’s Counseling Services addresses the psychological, emotional, and physical effects of rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence by providing services to any primary or secondary victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, and/or stalking. Last year, 557 individuals were helped.

The Compass Center’s Victim Advocacy provides for needs victims have outside of counseling. This includes making connections to other resources available in the community, providing safety planning, assisting victims navigating the court system, helping file protection orders, and attending hearings. Last year, 247 received advocacy services.

EmBe’s Dress for Success program promotes economic independence of women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and career development tools to help them strive in work and life. Last year, the program provided 99 interview suitings, and had 150 career center clients. In total, 316 individuals benefited from the program and 79% of clients attained employment.

Family Services’ Counseling program provides a variety of services including marriage and family, parent/child, alcohol/drugs, depression, anxiety, and stress. Last year 9,316 hours of service were provided to 1,424 individuals including direct client contact, as well as work-related contacts with employers and contact with DSS, courts, schools, etc.

The Heuermann Counseling Clinic through Family Services utilizes volunteer counselors to provide counseling services to clients who are low income and have no other means to pay for services. Last year, 1,113 hours of counseling service were provided to 173 individuals. 

Feeding South Dakota’s BackPack Program provides 2,870 children at 43 sites within the Sioux Empire with food for the weekend.

Furniture Mission receives donations of gently used furniture and then distributes through social service agency referrals. Last year, 1,817 referrals were served. By ensuring children have a bed to sleep in, they are more likely to succeed in school and have less behavioral issues.

The Glory House’s Case Management Program includes comprehensive services needed for the transition from a prior setting (incarceration, inpatient treatment or other) to a less structured one. Case managers help clients with everything from obtaining suitable clothes to employment, medical and legal matters. 375 people were served last year.

Helpline Center’s 211 Community Resources provides callers with information about and referrals to human services for every day needs and in time of crisis. Last year 25,431 calls were answered and an additional 17,660 inquiries were made online. Of those callers, 76% increased their knowledge of services available. Helpline’s 211 is a valuable community-building tool that strengthens social bonds, improves lives, and makes community stronger and safer.

Helpline Center’s Network of Care is a systematic infrastructure created to coordinate basic needs services for individuals and families in a more efficient, effective, and caring manner through the use of a common intake process and a shared software system. Last year, 12 local agencies served 16,305 total clients, providing over 52,000 different services.

Helpline Center’s Suicide and Crisis Support provides a continuum of services including prevention, intervention, and postvention. This includes a 24/7 crisis call and text center, nationally recognized suicide prevention and intervention trainings, and support and educational classes for people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Last year, 6,914 people attended educational sessions and an additional 3,969 people were provided with survivor support. Experts agree that suicide is a preventable form of death, and that lives can be saved with implementation of comprehensive, evidence-based suicide risk reduction strategies.

Helpline Center’s Volunteer Connects program assists Sioux Empire area residents with finding volunteer opportunities and helps volunteer managers by offering educational resources and support. Last year they provided 44,931 total volunteer-related contacts. Research shows that the average value of a volunteer hour is $24.69.

Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership’s Heartland House provides transitional housing for homeless families and their children, serving 135 families last year. Of those served, 40% gained financial self-sufficiency and 76% entered permanent stable housing after completing program.

Lutheran Social Services’ Center for Financial Resources helps consumers find solutions to their financial concerns through financial counseling services and debt management programs. Last year, the program provided 1,517 counseling sessions and 468 active debt management plans. Of those clients, 148 successfully completed a debt management plan and $1,848,788 in debt was paid off by participants through debt management plans.

Lutheran Social Services’ Counseling Services serves children, adults, families, and couples who are struggling with a wide array of mental health concerns. Last year 1,058 people were provided 6,429 hours of counseling. Of those served, 78% of participants demonstrated some level of achievement towards their goals.

Lutheran Social Services’ Family Violence Project offers structured therapy groups for domestic violence offenders to teach safe and healthy relationship skills and help prevent further intimate partner violence. Last year, 176 people benefited from the program.

Lutheran Social Services’ PATH program partners with area school districts to meet the mental health needs of K-12 students in their schools. PATH eliminates barriers so that children and teens can get professional individual mental health counseling at school during the school day. On average, 558 counseling sessions are provided each month at more than 40 schools in Brandon Valley, Canton, Dell Rapids, Harrisburg, Sioux Falls, Tea Area School Districts, and Sioux Falls Catholic Schools.

Lutheran Social Services’ Re-Entry Services assists individuals who have recently been released from jail or prison successfully re-integrate into their families and communities. Last year, 66 people completed the work training classes and 528 hours of case management were provided.

REACH Adult Literacy/Tutoring provides 2,700 hours of tutoring to 170 adults in order to improve their reading, writing and living skills. Of those who participate, 90% achieved new competencies in basic communication, employment, government and law, learning and thinking skills, or independent living.

Sad Isn’t Bad was developed specifically to help children who are experiencing grief. Last year, 16 children and 11 adults participated in the program.

Sanford Health’s Child’s Voice Family Advocate provides counseling and other support to child victims of abuse and sexual assault and their non-offending family members. Last year, 358 children and 353 non-offending family members were provided with crisis intervention and support, attendance at interviews or case reviews, follow-up care, referrals to mental health and medical care, and other advocacy services. Research shows that ongoing support and access to comprehensive services are critical to a child’s comfort and ability to participate in an ongoing investigation, intervention, and treatment.

Sioux Falls Area CASA recruits volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children. Last year, 17,110 hours of service were provided and 100% of children served with an advocate did not re-enter the court system. CASA volunteers spend significantly more time with a child than a paid guardian or ad litem/attorney. A child with an advocate is more likely to find a safer, permanent home. Of the children assigned a volunteer by Sioux Falls Area CASA, 98% of do not re-enter the court system because of subsequent abuse.

Sioux Falls Housing & Redevelopment Commission’s Family Self-Sufficiency program assists low-income individuals and adult family members who are receiving housing assistance with eliminating barriers to attaining education and employment skills. Last year, 129 participants received one-on-one assistance and had the opportunity to attend different workshops. The program was completed by 9 participants last year. Of those graduates, 6 became totally or partially self-sufficient (no longer needing housing assistance).

St. Francis House provides transitional housing and case management, serving 32 families, 22 children, and 374 single individuals last year.

Volunteers of America, Dakotas’ LifeMarks Counseling Services provided 553 individuals with 7,880 hours of individual, group, and psychiatric services last year.

Volunteers of America, Dakotas’ Look Up and Hope program uses a comprehensive wraparound approach to improve the lives of families impacted by maternal incarceration. The program includes home visits with mothers to address parenting concerns, health relationship education, connections between families and community resources that promote self-sufficiency, and more. Last year, 205 mothers, children, and caregivers were served through the program.