Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - South Dakota

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Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 26-8A-21.2; 26-8A-24; 26-8A-26

If the court places custody of the child in the Department of Social Services, the court shall conduct a review hearing of the foster care status every 6 months. The hearing shall be conducted in the same manner as a dispositional hearing.

A permanency hearing shall be held as follows:

  • Within 30 days of a finding that reasonable efforts are not appropriate
  • After the child has been in foster care 12 months and every 12 months thereafter

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-7A-15

Notice of hearings must be provided to the child's parents, guardian, or custodian. If the hearing concerns an apparent abused or neglected Indian child, the State's attorney or department shall make reasonable efforts to inform the Indian custodian and the designated Tribal agent for the Indian child's Tribe, if known.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 26-8A-25; 26-8A-21.2

At the hearing, the court shall determine the following:

  • The goal of the foster care placement and the appropriateness of foster care
  • The assistance and services that have been provided to the parents
  • The good faith efforts, or their lack, and ability of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian to cooperate with the department and to effectively utilize the assistance and services
  • If return to the parent is unlikely, efforts made by the department to provide other care

At each permanency hearing for a child placed in another planned permanent living arrangement, the court shall ask the child about his or her desired permanency outcome and make a judicial determination stating the reasons that another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the child.

Permanency Options

Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 26-8A-21.2; 26-8A-26

If it is found that the child cannot be returned to the parent, the court shall determine whether any of the following are appropriate for the child:

  • The child should be placed for adoption.
  • The child should be referred for legal guardianship.
  • The child should be placed permanently with a fit and willing relative.
  • Only in the case of a child who is age 16 or older, the child may be placed in another planned permanent living arrangement when a compelling reason is documented with the court that none of the permanent plans listed above would be in the best interests of the child.
  • The court may continue foster care placement of the child for a specified period of time, and, if the child is age 16 or older, direct the department to determine the services needed to assist the child to make the transition from foster care to independent living and, if appropriate, provide a plan for independent living for the child.