Making and Screening Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect - South Dakota

Date: November 2021

Individual Responsibility to Report

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-3

A mandated reporter who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child younger than age 18 has been abused or neglected shall report that information as required by law. The mandated reporter who witnessed the disclosure or evidence of the abuse or neglect must be available to answer questions when the initial report is made. Any person who knows or has reason to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected may report that information.

Content of Reports

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-10

The report to the Department of Social Services shall include the following:

  • The child's name, address, date, and place of birth
  • The name and address of the child's parents, guardian, custodian, or responsible persons
  • The date of the report
  • Suspected or proven instances of abuse

Reporting Suspicious Deaths

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-4

Any person who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has died as a result of abuse or neglect shall report that information to the medical examiner or coroner. Upon receipt of the report, the medical examiner or coroner shall cause an investigation to be made and submit written findings to the State's attorney and the department.

Reporting Substance-Exposed Infants

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-35

If a health-care practitioner has reason to believe based on a medical assessment of a mother or a newborn infant that the mother used a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose during the pregnancy, the health-care practitioner may administer, with or without the consent of the newborn infant's parent or guardian, a toxicology test to the newborn infant under the health-care practitioner's care to determine whether there is evidence of prenatal exposure to a controlled substance. If the test results are positive, the health-care practitioner shall report the results pursuant to § 26-8A-8.

Agency Receiving the Reports

Citation: Ann. Laws §§ 26-8A-8; 26-8A-13.3; Admin. Code § 67:14:30:06

Reports required from mandated reporters shall be made immediately orally by telephone or otherwise to the State's attorney, the department, or a law enforcement officer.

Upon receipt of a report, the department shall make an effort to determine the military status of the parent or guardian whose child is subject to the report of child abuse or neglect. If the department determines that the parent or guardian is in the military, the department shall notify a U.S. Department of Defense family advocacy program of the allegations that relate to the military parent or guardian.

In regulation: The department shall provide for 24-hour receipt of reports of children alleged to be exposed to harm or threats of harm by a parent, guardian, or custodian responsible for their care and reports of child abuse or neglect through agreements with law enforcement agencies or other community-based agencies.

Initial Screening Decisions

Citation: Admin. Code § 67:14:30:02

Children eligible for child protective services are those children younger than age 18 who are alleged or determined to be unsafe because the individuals responsible for the children's care are unable or unwilling to keep the children safe from harm or threats of harm and children who are abused or neglected as defined in statute.

Agency Conducting the Assessment/Investigation

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-9

Upon receipt of a report, the department or law enforcement officers shall investigate.

Assessment/Investigation Procedures

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-9; Admin. Code § 67:14:30:06

Investigating personnel may personally interview a child out of the presence of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian without advance notice or consent. If the investigation and report indicate that child abuse or neglect has occurred, the State's attorney shall take appropriate action immediately.

In regulation: The department shall provide immediate or prompt assessment or investigation of reports made to the department by any person who makes a report alleging that a child is in need of protective services. The department shall offer protective services to the family and may make referral to the court of competent jurisdiction upon confirmation of need for child protective services. If a report received by the department implicates involvement of a foster parent or person employed by the department, the department shall request a review of the report by the State's attorney.

Timeframes for Completing Investigations

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Classification of Reports

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-11

A person's name may be placed on the central registry for child abuse and neglect based upon a substantiated investigation. If an investigation cannot substantiate the abuse, the report will be classified as unsubstantiated. The department may not maintain a record or other information of unsubstantiated child abuse and neglect for longer than 3 years if there has been no further report within that 3-year period.