The Beadle County State’s Attorney’s Office represents the Department of Social Services in cases where abuse and/or neglect is suspected. Anyone who feels a child has been abused or neglected may report their observations to law enforcement (353-8550), the State’s Attorney’s office (353-8430) or the Department of Social Services (353-7100).
South Dakota law requires certain professionals to report suspected child abuse or neglect. It permits others, who are not mandated, to report.
SDCL 26-8A-3. Mandated reporters are to report orally and immediately to the State’s Attorney, Department of Social Services or law enforcement. SDCL 26-8A-8. The minimal standard for a report to be made is a reasonable cause to suspect that abuse or neglect has occurred or is occurring.
The goal of abuse or neglect proceedings is to protect children from abuse and neglect by taking steps to ensure their safety according to the best interests of the particular child. A finding of abuse or neglect is not a finding in favor of or against one parent, guardian or custodian. A finding of abuse or neglect allows the State to apply its Social Services resources to protect the child and provide for its long-term developmental needs.
Both the child and parents, guardians or custodians who are the subject of abuse or neglect proceedings are entitled to court appointed representation if they qualify. All reasonable efforts will be made to return the child to the home after a finding of abuse or neglect. Parenting classes and counseling may be ordered by the court. In severe cases parental rights may be terminated and alternate placement will be sought for the child.