Home Study Requirements for Prospective Foster Parents - South Dakota

Date: February 2018

Who May Apply

Citation: Admin. Code § 67:42:05:06

A family foster care applicant must meet the following criteria for licensure:

  • The applicant is at least age 21 and resides in a single-family home in South Dakota.
  • No household member age 10 or older other than a foster child has on record a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect.
  • No member of the applicant's household has had a conviction for any of the crimes specified in § 67:42:01:05.01.
  • The applicant is capable of providing good care for children.
  • The applicant has income that meets the needs of the existing family, independent of the foster care maintenance payments.
  • The applicant's children, if any, are willing to accept a foster child as a member of the family.
  • The applicant's family composition, needs, and relationships may not adversely affect a child in care.
  • If the applicant or foster parent is employed outside the home, the child-placing agency must have approved the applicant's or foster parent's child care plan.

The applicant must have the ability to parent a child. This entails a basic understanding of the child's physical and mental or emotional development and the ability to fulfill the child's needs. The applicant must have the ability to offer continuing care and guidance to a child throughout the stages of development in a manner consistent with the social and cultural heritage norms of the child. The applicant must be able to continue meeting the needs of the applicant's own children, if any. The applicant must display the capacity to provide good care for children.

Training Requirements

Citation: Admin. Code § 67:42:05:03

Foster parent applicants must complete at least 30 hours of orientation training before receiving an initial license. The training must include instruction in at least the following areas:

  • The impact of separation on child development
  • How attachments are formed
  • The importance of the birth family
  • Techniques of managing behavior
  • Permanency planning for children
  • Child development

Licensed foster parents must complete at least 6 hours of approved training annually before license renewal. If the foster parent cares for a child with a disability or a medical, behavioral, or emotional disorder, an additional 12 hours of training to meet the needs of the specific child are required. Upon prior approval, the Department of Social Services may reimburse a foster parent for this type of training. Evidence of education, experience, or professional background in the specific area may be substituted for training to meet a child's specific needs.

Minimum Standards for Foster Homes

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 67:42:01:37; 67:42:05:10.01 through 10.07; 67:42:05:11; 67:42:05:19; 67:42:05:20

Each home or facility must have the following:

  • One working telephone
  • A smoke detector on each level of the building
  • Water from a community water system or from a water system that is tested at least annually
  • Tamper-resistant outlets or safety caps on all unused electrical outlets within 36 inches from the floor in homes caring for children age 4 and younger
  • No bare or exposed electrical wires
  • At least two exits on each level used for the care of children that provide means of unobstructed travel to the outside of the building at ground level
  • A carbon monoxide detector on each level of the home

The family foster home shall be kept clean, neat, and free of litter and rubbish. Hazardous cleaning solutions, chemicals, and poisons must be labeled and kept in an enclosed cabinet that is not accessible to children. Garbage and refuse must be kept in durable, easily cleanable containers that do not leak and do not absorb liquids. Garbage and refuse must be disposed of often enough to prevent the development of odor and the attraction of insects and rodents.

Foster homes shall have sufficient sleeping space to accommodate comfortably a child in care as well as the provider's family. The foster home shall meet the following requirements:

  • Bed linens, blankets, and pillows shall be provided for all children.
  • Children of different sexes over age 6 may not sleep in the same room.
  • Children may not share a bed with an adult.

Hazardous items must be inaccessible to children unless under adult supervision. Firearms must be kept unloaded, in a locked room, closet, cabinet, or carrying case and separate from the ammunition.

Approval Process

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 67:42:01:05; 67:42:01:05.01; 67:42:01:05.02; 67:42:01:07

The department's initial evaluation of the applicant based on references includes reference checks, personal interviews, a screening for records of abuse or neglect, a criminal record check, and onsite visits. The applicant must provide three references. Based on the evaluation, the department shall determine whether to issue a license.

The department shall secure a criminal record check to obtain information concerning convictions for criminal offenses by a prospective foster parent as well as any other adult living in the prospective foster home.

The department shall screen an applicant, family members, and other household members who are at least age 10, or employees or volunteers of the facility to determine if the individual has been involved in any substantiated incidents of child abuse or neglect. Substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect include reports placed into the department's central registry, reports placed on the central registry of another State, and reports that were investigated and substantiated by a Tribal program.

An applicant for family foster care must have a physical examination within the 12 months preceding the date of the application. The applicant shall also present evidence to the department that each household member under age 18 meets the Department of Health's requirements for immunizations.

Grounds for Withholding Approval

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 67:42:01:05.01; 67:42:01:05.02

An individual is not eligible to receive a foster home license if the individual or any other adult living in the prospective foster home has a conviction for any of the following:

  • A crime that would indicate harmful behavior toward children
  • A crime of violence or a similar crime from another State
  • A sex crime or similar crimes from another State
  • Within the preceding 5 years, a conviction for any other felony

The individual may not have a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect. Substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect include reports placed into the department's central registry, reports placed on the central registry of another State, and reports that were investigated and substantiated by a Tribal program.

Kinship Foster Care

Citation: Ann. Code § 26-7A-19

Effective July 1, 2018: If the child is an apparent, alleged, or adjudicated abused or neglected child, the court may order the placement of temporary custody of the child with the Department of Social Services, in foster care, or shelter. The court and the department shall give placement preference to a relative; custodian; or an individual, not related by birth, adoption, or marriage to the child but who has an emotionally significant relationship with the child, who is available and who has been determined by the department to be qualified, provided that placement with the relative, custodian, or individual is in the best interests of the child.

As used in this section, the term 'relative' means an adult who is related to the child by blood, adoption, or marriage and who is the child's grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, great-grandparent, great-uncle, great-aunt, first cousin, second cousin, stepparent, or stepsibling. The term 'custodian' means an adult who is the biological parent, adoptive parent, or guardian of the child's sibling or half-sibling.

Foster to Adopt

Citation: Admin. Code § 67:42:05:01

A 'fost/adopt' family is an approved adoptive home that has agreed to accept the placement of a child who is not yet legally free for adoption. The family is committed, as is the placing agency, to make the placement permanent when legal termination of parental rights is completed.

Interjurisdictional Approval

Citation: Ann. Code § 26-13-1; Admin. Code § 67:14:24:09.01

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

In regulation: A study and evaluation of an out-of-State placement facility shall be made by an agency licensed or authorized for child placement. The study and evaluation shall be based on the other State's child placement standards and shall be submitted by the out-of-State agency to the department prior to placement of a child.

Links to Resources

South Dakota Department of Social Services, Becoming a Foster Parent

State regulations full text: