Advocacy (noun): The act of pleading for, supporting or recommending.
Child’s Voice, a Sioux Empire United Way funded program, is a Child Advocacy Center that provides medical evaluations for children who may be victims of abuse and neglect. Child’s Voice is the only Child Advocacy Center within 100 miles of Sioux Falls that is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance (NCA). NCA is a professional membership dedicated to helping local communities respond to cases of child abuse and neglect in a multidisciplinary approach striving to put the child victim first.
Sioux Empire United Way funds the Family Advocate within Child’s Voice. The Family Advocate assists children and families as part of the multidisciplinary team response to possible child maltreatment. The advocate provides immediate crisis intervention, risk assessment and assists with access to treatment and other services including protective orders, housing, public assistance, domestic violence intervention, transportation, financial assistance, interpreters, and other services as needed. In 2017, over 450 children were served through the Family Advocate within Child’s Voice. Among the staff at Child’s Voice, is Dr. Nancy Free, Medical Director of Child’s Voice, Sanford Children’s Hospital. Dr Free is described as being present, supportive, and a listener to a family in crisis. She provides the medical examination and treatment needed in a point in a child’s life where they are their most vulnerable.
Dr. Nancy Free was recently recognized as the 2019 recipient of Helen E. (Oppold) Blair Memorial Award. The award, presented by Sioux Empire United Way annually, in partnership with Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, is presented to an individual whose work in human service, law enforcement, education, or church-based fields towards child abuse prevention and early intervention is exemplary.
Sioux Empire United Way was honored to recognize Dr. Free’s outstanding work as a clinician, teacher, and advocate. Her compassionate care, treatment, and counseling have a lifelong impact on the children she evaluates.