Good story on Sunday by the Argus Leader's John Hult on how the state of South Dakota keeps secret investigations regarding children in foster care treatment.

Here's a teaser: 

Native American activists often accuse the Department of Social Services of seizing children unnecessarily and placing them with white foster families. A group of families sued social services in federal court last year, alleging children are taken for months, though hearings last less than five minutes and don't offer parents a chance to respond.

But South Dakota's secrecy — abuse and neglect hearings are closed to the public — makes it difficult to evaluate the arguments.

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The state's confidentiality laws prevent social services from commenting on specific cases, even when there are criminal charges.

States such as Nebraska, Michigan and Minnesota are more transparent. In Minnesota, for example, the records and reports from abuse and neglect investigations are open for public review.

Read the full story here

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Contact Joe O'Sullivan at 394-8414 or joe.osullivan@rapidcityjournal.com

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