Reasonable Efforts to Preserve or Reunify Families and Achieve Permanency for Children - South Dakota

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What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-21

The term 'reasonable efforts' means the provision by the Department of Social Services of any services or assistance that meet the following criteria:

  • Are appropriate for the child's parents, including instruction on parenting
  • Are available or could be made available without undue financial burden on the department
  • Would have a significant likelihood of protecting the child from substantial danger to his or her physical health or from severe emotional damage while enabling the child to remain in the home or to be returned to the home

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-21

Reasonable efforts must be made as follows:

  • Prior to removal of an alleged or adjudicated abused or neglected child to prevent or eliminate the need for removal from the home
  • To make it possible for the child to return home if he or she has been removed from the home

In determining the adequacy of reasonable efforts, the court shall consider the assistance, services, and efforts of the department. The court shall also consider the good-faith efforts or the lack of good-faith efforts made by the child's parents, guardian, custodian, or other caregiver family to cooperate with the department and to effectively utilize the assistance or services for the benefit and welfare of the child.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Laws § 26-8A-21.1

Reasonable efforts to reunify are not required when any of the following circumstances apply:

  • The parent has committed murder, manslaughter, rape, incest, sexual exploitation of a minor, or abuse or cruelty to a minor.
  • The parent has committed aggravated assault against the child or another child of the parent.
  • The parent has subjected the child or another child to torture or sexual abuse; abandonment for at least 6 months; chronic physical, mental, or emotional injury; or chronic neglect.
  • The parent is incarcerated and unavailable to care for the child during a significant period of the child's minority.
  • The parent has had his or her parental rights to another child terminated involuntarily.
  • The parent has a documented history of abuse or neglect associated with chronic alcohol or drug abuse.
  • The parent has exposed the child to or demonstrated an inability to protect the child from substantial harm or the risk of substantial harm, and the child or another child has been removed from the parent's custody because he or she was adjudicated abused and neglected by a court on at least one previous occasion.
  • The parent has exposed the child to or demonstrated an inability to protect the child from substantial harm or the risk of substantial harm, the child has been removed from the parent's custody on two separate occasions, and the department offered or provided family services on each of the two separate occasions the child was removed.
  • The parent has exposed the child to or demonstrated an inability to protect the child from substantial harm or risk of harm resulting from a crime, act, or omission listed above.
  • The parent is required to register as a sex offender pursuant to chapter 22-24B.