How to Adopt in South Dakota

South Dakota isn't just home to the famous Mt. Rushmore; it's also home to many families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in South Dakota.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in South Dakota

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked question about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in South Dakota.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in South Dakota?

The qualifications to become an Adoptive Parent in South Carolina include:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a clear child abuse and neglect report
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Have sufficient income to meet the child’s needs
  • Be able to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and education needs
  • Be able to acknowledge and support the child’s social and cultural heritage

How do you become a Foster Parent in South Dakota?

To become a Foster Parent in South Dakota, you must meet the following licensing requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have sufficient income to support the child
  • Pass a criminal background check and a child abuse and neglect clearance
  • Pass a home inspection for health and safety hazards
  • Complete 30 hours of Foster Parent education and training

For more information or to begin the process, click here.

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in South Dakota?

An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.

In South Dakota, it is a felony for anyone to charge fees related to adoption that exceed those approved by court or charged by a licensed child-placing agency.

Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in South Dakota

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in South Dakota.

Who must consent to an adoption in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, the child’s legal parents or guardians must consent to adoption. Any adoptee who is at least 12 years old must also give their consent to move forward with the adoption process.

When is consent not necessary for adoption in South Dakota?

Consent will not be required from a child’s parent or the Putative Father if the court finds it in the child’s best interest and the parent:

  • Has been convicted of any crime punishable by imprisonment for a period that will deprive the child of the parent's companionship for a critical period of time
  • Has abandoned the child for 6 months or more immediately prior to filing the petition to adopt
  • Has caused the child to be conceived by rape or incest
  • Does not appear to at the hearing to terminate parental rights after receiving notice at least 30 days prior
  • Has repeatedly neglected the child and refused to give the child protection and care
  • Is deemed unfit because of a drug or alcohol addiction
  • Has willfully neglected the child’s education or other care necessary for the child's health, morals, or welfare despite being financially able

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in South Dakota?

Consent to adoption cannot be given prior to five days after the child is born. Consent should be given in writing and filed in court. After filing, a hearing will take place and the Adoptive Parents and child must attend. The court will then ensure that the persons giving consent are fully aware of the terms of the termination of their rights.

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in South Dakota?

In the case consent was obtained under fraud or duress, a parent may attempt to revoke their consent after the 1-year statute of limitations, unless a 2 year statute of limitations is imposed by the Indian Child Welfare Act.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in South Dakota?

‘Parents’ means the mother and father, if living, of a child.

‘Putative Father’ means any person who claims to be, or is named as, the Biological Father or a possible Biological Father of a child and whose paternity of the child has not been judicially determined.

In South Dakota, in the case of a child born out of wedlock, custody of the child will be automatically awarded to the Birth Mom. If the Birth Father wants custody of the child, he must go through the court and prove both that he has a strong bond with the child and that the Birth Mother has failed to fulfill her parental responsibilities. He may also be able to have visitation rights to the child, if no granted full parental rights.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in South Dakota

Prospective Adoptive Parents in South Dakota are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a post placement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

The home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to asks questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study is ultimately a recommendation as to the fitness of the applicants to become Adoptive Parents.

In South Dakota, a home study will include:

  • A fingerprint-based criminal background check
  • A child abuse and neglect screening for everyone at least 10 years old living in the home
  • A physical exam, completed within the previous 12 months for the applicants
  • A physical exam, completed within the previous 12 months for any children living in the home to show proof of the following immunizations:
    • Measles
    • Mumps
    • Rubella
    • Diphtheria
    • Tetanus
    • Polio
    • Hepatitis B
    • Haemophilus Influenzae Type b
    • Pertussis
  • Personal interviews with the family and applicants
  • At least 3 references

Who oversees a home study in South Dakota and who is included in it?

Everyone living in the Prospective Adoptive home who is at least 10 years old will be included in the home study that will be conducted by a licensed child-placing agency, the Department of Social Services, or a certified social worker eligible to engage in private independent practice.

Why would my home study not be approved in South Dakota?

Any of the following convictions may be grounds for withholding home study approval:

  • A sex crime
  • A crime of violence
  • Any crime against a child
  • Any other felony conviction that happened within the 5 years prior to filing for the home study

The department may deny a home study application based on its evaluation, substantiated by facts, showing that the applicant does not meet the requirements to become a suitable Adoptive Parent.

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in South Dakota?

Unless otherwise ordered by court, an adoption by a stepparent will not require a home study investigation.

What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby from another state?

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family's circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child's best interest.

In South Dakota, the post placement assessment will include:

  • Personal interviews with the Prospective Parents, the child who is older than age 6, the Birth Parents, or the legal guardian if parental rights have been terminated
  • An inspection of medical and financial records
  • An inspection of information from the Department or other social agencies

Based on the assessment, the Department will make a recommendation regarding whether or not the adoption should be finalized.

What are the requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, a Foster Parent may become an approved “foster/adopt” which means that they have been approved to adopt a child that is currently in their care once that child is legally free for adoption. This means that the family has committed to make the placement permanent when legal termination of parental rights is completed.

South Dakota Adoption Professionals

South Dakota is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:

Bethany Christian Services

605-336-6999

Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota

605-229-1500

New Horizons Adoption Agency, Inc.

605-332-0310

Things to do in South Dakota

If your adoption journey brings you to South Carolina, visit some of the States most loved places:

Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone

Custer State Park

Loop Road in Badlands National Park

Falls Park in Sioux Falls

Needles Highway in Custer State Park

A Note from Adoption Network Law Center

No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in South Dakota. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.