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South Dakota: State Social Services Wants Tribes' Lawsuit Tossed

May 21, 2013

Associated Press - May 21, 2013

The head of South Dakota's Department of Social Services has asked a judge to toss out a lawsuit filed by two tribes alleging that the state routinely breaks federal law governing foster care and adoptions for American Indian children.

The Oglala Sioux and Rosebud Sioux tribes, along with three Native American parents, sued DSS Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon, DSS employee LuAnn Van Hunnik, Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo and 7th Judicial Circuit Court Presiding Judge Jeff Davis.

The lawsuit alleges the state is violating the Indian Child Welfare Act by holding improper hearings after children are removed from homes.

The defendants say the tribes have failed to state a claim and lack standing to bring the suit and asked that a judge dismiss it.

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