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How to Adopt in South Dakota

Despite being one of the least densely populated states in the country, the Mount Rushmore State has a variety of resources for people looking to pursue adoption. Along with those resources, the state has specific laws regarding who can adopt, how a baby can be placed for adoption, and more.
Here, you can find an overview of the laws and guidelines regulating adoption in South Dakota.

Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in South Dakota

Each state has unique laws and regulations when it comes to adopting a child. In the following sections, you can learn about regulations for parents who wish to adopt in South Dakota.

What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in South Dakota?

Any adult may adopt a child as long as they are 10 years older than the adopted child. Married individuals may not adopt without their spouse’s consent, unless they are legally separated.

What birth parent expenses can be paid by adoptive families in South Dakota?

Any and all expenses paid on behalf of a birth parent must be approved by a South Dakota court. The court reviews this on a case-by-case basis and will allow for financial assistance that it deems necessary and reasonable.
Typically, adoptive parents may expect to cover such expenses as medical bills, legal fees, and some living expenses for a birth parent.

What are the laws to become a foster parent in South Dakota?

In order to become a foster parent in South Dakota, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Provide a safe and stable home for a child
  • Attend 30 hours of training
  • Participate in in-home consultations
  • Pass a home study

For more information on foster parenting, visit the South Dakota Department of Social Services.

What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, the state will recognize an adoption you completed in another country if you complied with the country’s adoption laws. However, the state may issue an order to issue your child a new birth certificate.
To receive a South Dakota birth certificate for your child, you must submit:

  • The adoption order from the country where you adopted
  • A certified translation of the order
  • Proof of the date and location of the child’s birth
  • Proof of IR-3 or IH-3 immigration status
  • Proof that the parents are South Dakota residents

Receiving a South Dakota birth certificate for your child can be beneficial because it allows ease of access to copies of the document, and it protects your child’s rights as a U.S. citizen.

Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in South Dakota?

South Dakota laws do not specify any guidelines for the use of advertisement in adoption. Only adoption agencies or other court-approved entities may assist in the facilitation of an adoption.

Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in South Dakota

Just as the state has unique laws for adoptive parents, it also has regulations in place to protect birth parents and their rights. Read on to learn more about the laws in South Dakota that pertain to birth parents.

When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?

Birth parents may not legally consent to an adoption until 5 days after the baby is born. After that point, parents may relinquish their parental rights in writing, and the documents will be sent to court.

Can minors consent to adoption in South Dakota?

A minor who is age 12 or over can consent to the adoption

Who must consent to the adoption?

The following people must consent to an adoption:

  • The child if he or she is over the age of 12
  • The child’s mother
  • The child’s father, unless:
    • He is convicted of a crime for which he will be imprisoned for a considerable period of time
    • He has abandoned the child for 6 months or more
    • He has neglected the child
    • He is deemed unfit to parent by a court of law
    • He has committed rape or incest
    • He does not appear to terminate his parental rights after receiving notice at least 30 days before the hearing

When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable? If a birth parent revokes consent, is the child automatically returned to the birth parent?

The adoption of a child will be completely legalized in South Dakota 1 year after the adoption takes place. An attempt to revoke consent must be made within this 1-year time frame. For children protected under the Indian Child Welfare Act, the time limit is extended to 2 years.

What rights does the father of the baby have in South Dakota adoptions?

The state of South Dakota defines a putative father as any person who is declared or declares himself to be the biological father of the child before paternity has been established by a court. An alleged father may sign an affidavit of paternity and receive information regarding:

  • His parental rights and responsibilities
  • The benefits of establishing paternity
  • The child’s right to child support from the alleged father once he has established paternity

Any affidavit of paternity will be sent to the Department of Health for review within 7 days of the child’s birth. A court may also determine paternity over a child in some cases.

Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in South Dakota

All adoptive parents must complete a home study before they can be approved to adopt. This will consist of background checks, interviews, and a home inspection. Below, you can read about the home study process and requirements in South Dakota.

What is included in the South Dakota home study process?

In South Dakota, a home study will consist of the following elements:

  • Fingerprint-based background check
  • Physical examinations current within 12 months of the home study
  • Collection of references
  • Interviews with members of the household
  • Home inspections and consultations

These steps will be completed with the assistance of a state-licensed home study provider.

Who is included in the South Dakota home study process?

Home study providers will evaluate the adoptive parents and any household members who are age 10 or older.

Who will conduct the home study?

Licensed child-placing agencies, the Department of Social Services, and certified social workers are all permitted to complete home studies.

What are the qualifications to complete a home study?

In order to adopt, an adoptive family and household must meet these requirements:

  • Parents must be at least 21 years old
  • Parents must reside in South Dakota
  • No member of the household over the age of 10 may have a history of abuse or neglect
  • No one in the household may have committed a crime that the state considers grounds for declining a home study
  • Parents must be able to provide care for the current household as well as any child to be adopted

On what grounds will the home study not be approved in South Dakota?

Your home study may not be approved in South Dakota if a member of the household has committed a violent crime, a sex crime, or any other crime that could potentially put a child at risk of harm. If your home study is not approved, you will be notified within 120 days of sending your application.

When should the home study be completed? When must the home study be renewed?

Your home study must be complete before you can receive the placement of a child. Home studies in South Dakota are valid for one year and must be updated annually.

What is a post-placement study in the adoption process? What are the post-placement study requirements for South Dakota?

A series of post-placement studies will take place after you have taken your child home. In these assessments, a social worker will visit your home to make sure the family and the child are adjusting well.
In South Dakota, post-placement assessments include:

  • Interviews of the parents and the child, if he or she is older than 6
  • In section of medical, financial, or other relevant information submitted in the adoption process

If the social worker finds everything satisfactory, then they will send a recommendation on your behalf to the court.

What are the home study requirements to adopt a child from another state?

All interstate adoptions must follow the guidelines set forth by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). Before the child can go to the adoptive parents’ state, the authorities of that state must send approval to the adoption agency in the other state. Interstate adoptions must abide by the regulations of both states.

What are the pre-placement requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?

In South Dakota, ‘fost/adopt’ families are foster parents who have already been approved to legally adopt a child if he or she cannot be reunified with the birth family.
If you would like to begin a home study in South Dakota, contact one of the following state-licensed providers:

  • DeVonne Powell, CSW-PIP
    DeVonne Powell has been working as a home study provider since 2008 and has experience teaching parenting classes.
  • Keri Meyer, CSW-PIP
    Keri Meyer has worked in therapy and home study evaluations, and she is licensed to complete South Dakota home studies.
  • Mary Gustafson, CSW-PIP
    With her experience at Child Protection Services and Children’s Home Society, she has worked for families in several capacities and has been in social work since 2002.
  • Brenda Risty, CSW-PIP
    Along with home studies for adoption and foster care, Brenda Risty also has experience in providing therapy.

Visit 1800HomeStudy.com to learn more about South Dakota home study providers.

South Dakota Adoption Professionals

Your adoption agency must also be licensed in the state in order to successfully adopt. If you would like to pursue adoption in South Dakota, contact one of these professionals:

Things to do in South Dakota

Whether you are traveling for adoption or waiting for ICPC clearance, you may find yourself in the state of South Dakota for an extended period of time. While you are there, here are some of the places you can visit:

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