Fed court overturns Native American child-removal ruling

Published: Sep. 18, 2018 at 3:09 PM CDT
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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturns a lower court’s order that gave Native American parents more rights in child-removal cases.

“Although this is an ongoing case, the department is pleased with the decision issued by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals,” said state Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti.

The court rules that the Pennington County case is a state's issue and shouldn't have gone to federal court. The decision sends the case back to the district court with instructions to dismiss the claims; that the case can be handled adequately by the state.

In March 2013, two tribal members, the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe filed a class-action lawsuit against DSS and various other South Dakota officials challenging the state’s removal procedures of Indian children in abuse and neglect situations.

The proceedings, known as "48 hour hearings" are held to determine if the state has the right to temporary child custody.