Right to counsel

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Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

South Dakota grants the child a statutory right to court-appointed counsel upon request in cases involving the protection of allegedly abused or neglected minors. S.D. Codified Laws § 26-7A-31. In addition to § 26-7A-31, a court must always appoint an attorney to represent a child in an abuse/neglect proceeding. S.D. Codified Laws § 26-8A-18. S.D. Codified Laws § 26-7A-31 also confers on South Dakota courts the discretion to appoint an attorney for the child without request if legal representation appears necessary to protect the interests of the child. The county in which the proceeding occurs must pay for the expense of counsel in such cases, according to the manner prescribed by the court.  See also S.D. Codified Laws § 26-8A-9 (upon receipt of report of suspected abuse/neglect, DSS investigates and court may appoint attorney to represent best interests of child).


Notably, S.D. Codified Laws § 26-7A-30 requires the court to notify parents and children of their "constitutional and statutory rights, including the right to be represented by an attorney."

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no