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Child Abuse Laws in South Dakota: These are Child Abuse laws for the State of South Dakota

The definition of child abuse encompasses maltreatment or neglect of children in a physical, psychological or sexual manner; done either by the biological parent, step-parent, guardian entrusted with the well-being of the child; or any person working where the child interacts with. Failure or inaction to prevent harmful action against children is also deemed to be child abuse. The abuse of children is a serious social menace in the United States, with nearly 3 million cases reported annually.

Child Abuse Legislation in South Dakota

In South Dakota, Chapters 26-8A and 26-7A of the South Dakota Codified Laws define what constitutes as child abuse and methods to prevent and provide guidance against child abuse and neglect.  Due to the variation of tribal laws amongst various Native American tribes in the state, tribal reservations are subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act. The following sections define the scope and nature of child laws in the state:

  • Section 26-7A-2 and Section 26-7A: Definition of Abuse and Neglect: An abused and neglected child is termed as any minor below the age of 18:
  • Who has been abandoned by parent, guardian or custodian; or rendered homeless
  • Lacks proper parental care through actions or omissions of the parent, custodian or guardian
  • Subjected to an environment detrimental to the physical and mental well-being
  • Failure by parent, guardian or custodian to provide care, subsistence, supervision, medical care, education, or any care
  • Threatened with physical harm and injury
South Dakota Child Abuse Laws
  • Suffering from emotional harm or mental injury indicated by observable impairment to intellectual or psychological capacity
  • Subjected to sexual abuse, molestation or exploitation by parent, guardian, custodian or any other person
  • Subjected to prenatal exposure to any controlled drug or substance not prescribed by a licensed physician
  • Exposed to an environment used for the manufacture, distribution or consumption of any unlawfully manufactured controlled drug or substance.
 
  • Section 26-8A-3: Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse: The section defines the professionals who are required to report suspected cases of child abuse to the Department of Social Services or local law enforcement agencies. Failure to do so is construed as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Given below are the list of mandatory reporters:
  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Optometrists
  • Mental Health Professionals or Counselors
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Teachers
  • School Counselors
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Hospital Interns
  • Hospital and School Staff
  • Law Enforcement Officials
  • Parole or Court Services Officers
  • Coroners
  • Domestic Abuse Shelter Employees
  • Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics
  • Child Welfare Service Providers
South Dakota Child Abuse Law
  • Section 26-8A-8: Oral Reporting of Child Abuse: Oral reporting of child abuse is permitted by both mandatory reporters specified in Section 26-8A-3 as well as any other person who has witnessed child abuse in person or suspects similar action; with the report being made to the Department of Social Services hotline, State's Attorney or law enforcement officials. The reporting party can request for a response report which needs to be provided by the Department of Social Services within thirty days of the report; encompassing written acknowledgment of the receipt as well as the investigation status for the same.
  • Section 26-8A-13: Confidentiality: All records and files for reports of child abuse and neglect are confidential, and disclosure of the same is prohibited except for those authorized by the Department of Social Services for investigation or criminal proceedings. Any person found guilty of knowingly violating the confidentiality of the records is liable for criminal proceedings for Class 1 Misdemeanor.
  • Section 26-8A-14: Immunity from Liability: All persons or parties who made a report of child abuse or neglect out of good faith is immune from any liability, civil or criminal that might be incurred or imposed; and is immune for participation in any judicial proceedings that result from the said report. The provisions of this section granting immunity do not extend to any person alleged to have committed acts of child abuse.

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