Memorandum of understanding creates historic partnership

History was made today between Pennington County and the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:26 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - History was made today between Pennington County and the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

The two entities signed an agreement linking the tribe, Native Women’s Health Care, and the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office in an effort to help pregnant women with substance abuse disorders.

It’s a memorandum of understanding that officials said means “better care, better health”.

”There’s more than one program providing care for them so there’s follow-up, there’s treatment and then there’s navigation and we do the pregnancy piece of it. We make sure the outcome is successful which is a healthy baby and completion of the substance abuse treatment programs or behavioral health issues,” said Roxanne Two Bulls, the director for Native Women’s Healthcare. “So, we all play a vital role in this process.”

Each entity serves some of the same people and Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo said this creates an opportunity to better work together and provide the community with something important, hope.

“It gives them I think hope in a way that we’ve never really been able to extend to them before and we can only do that if we cooperate with each other. Because if we just try to do it on our own, we don’t have that medical expertise and we don’t have the same credibility with that population that these medical organizations do,” said Vargo. “These are not officers, these are not prosecutors, so when they say you’re going to have to do some hard things but it’s for a good reason, it carries a little more credibility with it.”

Vargo went on to say that the memorandum represents a way for a person who is addicted to see a path forward and a path out of their current situation.

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