Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - South Dakota

Date:

Making The Appointment

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 26-8A-18; 26-8A-20

The court shall appoint an attorney for any child alleged to be abused or neglected in any judicial proceeding. The court may designate other persons, including a guardian ad litem (GAL) or special advocate, to assist the attorney of the child in the performance of the attorney's duties.

If a child has been adjudicated an abused or neglected child and is removed from the home of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian, the court shall appoint a GAL or a special advocate to represent the best interests of the child and to assist the child's attorney.

The Use of Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs)

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Qualifications/Training

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 26-8A-18

The GAL or special advocate may or may not be an attorney licensed to practice law.

Specific Duties

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 26-8A-18; 26-8A-20

The attorney for the child shall represent the child's best interests and may not be the attorney for any other party involved in the judicial proceedings. A GAL or special advocate shall represent the best interests of the child and assist the child's attorney in the performance of the attorney's duties.

The GAL or special advocate is an officer of the court for the purpose of representing the child's best interests. The GAL or special advocate shall receive all reports concerning the child and may cause the case to be reviewed by the court.

How the Representative Is Compensated

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 26-8A-18; 26-8A-19; 26-7A-31

Compensation and expense allowances for the child's attorney shall be determined and paid according to § 26-7A-31.

Reasonable and just compensation for services of a court-appointed attorney and for necessary expenses and costs incident to the proceedings shall be determined by the court within guidelines established by the presiding judge of the circuit court and shall be paid by the county in which the action is being conducted according to the manner prescribed by the court. If the court-appointed attorney is a party to a contract with the county to provide indigent counsel pursuant to § 23A-40-7(3), the compensation for that attorney shall be what the attorney would receive under the contract. This section does not preclude the court from appointing an attorney for a child as required by provisions of chapter 26-8A.

The Office of the State Treasurer shall maintain an Abused and Neglected Child Defense Fund. All moneys in the fund shall be annually distributed by the State treasurer to the counties on a pro rata basis. The State treasurer shall, within 60 days of the end of the fiscal year, determine and verify from receipts and expenditure records the total expenditures by all counties in the State for the representation of abused and neglected children. He or she shall then establish a percentage ratio between moneys collected in the fund for the past fiscal year and the total expenditures by counties for the representation of abused and neglected children. That percentage ratio shall then be applied to each county's expenditure for the representation of abused and neglected children to determine its respective payment from the fund.