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Rapid City, SD: No place to go for 23 y.o. with severe autism

Oct 9, 2023, Express Health Care: Rapid City Family Struggles to Find Long-Term Care for Son with Autism
Christian Green, a 23-year-old with Autism Spectrum Disorder, has been living in Sioux Falls for the past six years due to the lack of suitable care options in Rapid City. His mother, Kari Green, faced a difficult decision when it became clear that the care Christian needed was not available locally.

During puberty, Christian’s crises intensified, often leading to trips to the emergency room.

The school district in Rapid City was unable to meet his needs, which further exacerbated the situation. Kari expresses frustration with the lack of long-term solutions for individuals like Christian in Rapid City.

At the age of 17, Rapid City Area Schools could no longer provide the necessary care for Christian, leaving him with nowhere to go. Eventually, he was placed in emergency care at Lifescape in Sioux Falls. Kari recounts the emotional difficulty of making this decision and feeling like she was giving up on her son.

Despite the challenges, Kari firmly believes that they should not have to uproot their lives and move just to access suitable care for Christian. Unfortunately, there is currently only one home in Rapid City that can accommodate his needs.

This situation reflects a Child Health Data Report, which states that only 20.9% of children with special health care needs in South Dakota receive care in a well-functioning system. The South Dakota Department of Health aims to raise this percentage to 21.45%, but there is still a significant number of children who do not receive the proper care they require.

Kari’s hope for Christian’s return home to Rapid City remains uncertain. In the meantime,

Kari makes the journey to Sioux Falls twice a month, adding financial burden and emotional stress to her life. Despite these challenges, she shares an important message of never losing hope.

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