Infant Safe Haven Laws - South Dakota

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Infant's Age

Citation: Ann. Laws § 25-5A-27

A child who is 60 days old or younger may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant

Citation: Ann. Laws § 25-5A-27

A child may be relinquished by his or her parent.

Who May Receive the Infant

Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 25-5A-27; 25-5A-34

An emergency medical services provider or licensed child-placing agency shall take possession of a child if the child is voluntarily delivered to the provider or agency by the child's parent and the parent does not express an intent to return for the child. An emergency medical services provider is any of the following:

  • A licensed health-care facility or clinic
  • Any agent of a licensed health-care facility or clinic
  • A law enforcement officer
  • An emergency medical technician
  • A firefighter

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider

Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 25-5A-27; 25-5A-30; 25-5A-32

Any provider or agency who takes possession of a child pursuant to this section shall perform any act necessary to protect the physical health and safety of the child.

Any emergency medical services provider or licensed child-placing agency that accepts custody of a child may ask the child's parent for pertinent medical information relating to the child's medical history.

The emergency medical services provider or a licensed child-placing agency shall immediately notify the Department of Social Services that the provider or agency has taken possession of the child. The department or licensed child-placing agency shall assume the care, custody, and control of the child immediately upon receipt of the notice. However, a licensed child-placing agency that has taken possession of a child may assume the care, custody, and control of the child.

Immunity for the Provider

Citation: Ann. Laws § 25-5A-31

Any emergency medical services provider or licensed child-placing agency that accepts physical custody of a child is immune from civil, criminal, and administrative liability for any act of commission or omission in connection with the acceptance of that custody or the provision of care for the child while the child is in the provider's or agency's custody.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent

Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 25-5A-28; 25-5A-30; 25-5A-32

It is not a crime for a parent to deliver a child to an emergency medical services provider or a licensed child-placing agency if the child has not been harmed prior to being left with the emergency medical services provider or a licensed child-placing agency.

The parent leaving the child is not required to provide any information, including the name of the parents.

The department or licensed child-placing agency may not attempt to identify, contact, or investigate the parent who voluntarily delivered the child to an emergency medical services provider or a licensed child-placing agency unless it appears the child has been harmed.

Effect on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 25-5A-29; 25-5A-33; 25-5A-35; 25-5A-36

If a parent of a child relinquishes custody of the child to an emergency medical services provider or a licensed child-placing agency, then, after 14 days and by operation of law:

  • All of that parent's rights with respect to the child are terminated.
  • The child becomes a ward of the State or licensed child-placing agency.

If one parent of a child relinquishes custody of the child to an emergency medical services provider or a licensed child-placing agency, the other parent may file an action for custody of the child. The nonrelinquishing parent shall file such an action within 30 days after the provider or agency accepts custody of the child from the relinquishing parent. In such an action, the nonrelinquishing parent shall prove the following by a preponderance of the evidence:

  • He or she is the parent of the child.
  • He or she did not consent to relinquishment of the child's custody to the provider or agency.

A hearing shall be held in circuit court to terminate parental rights 60 days after the emergency medical services provider or licensed child-placing agency takes possession of the child. Due regard shall be afforded to the Indian Child Welfare Act if that act is applicable.