Child Protective Services

Baby Moses Law

State law in South Dakota allows a parent to voluntarily leave their baby with a hospital or child placement agency if the child is less than 60 days old and is left unharmed. This person will not be required to provide their name, the other parent’s name, or any other information.

Leaving a baby with one of the below places is not a crime; however the parent may be asked for medical information relating to the baby’s medical history.

  • Hospitals or clinics
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Licensed child placement agencies
  • Any Department of Social Services office
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Firefighters

The place where the baby is left must notify the Department of Social Services that it has the child. The Department cannot attempt to identify, contact or investigate this person unless it appears the child has been harmed. The Department's Division of Child Protection Services or the child placement agency will take custody and care of the baby. Parental rights to the child will be terminated after 14 days. 

The baby’s other parent has the right to file for custody after the baby has been given up. To gain custody, the other parent has 30 days to prove he or she is the parent of the baby and that he or she did not consent to giving up the child’s custody. If the other parent does not come forward and 60 days have passed, a circuit court hearing is held to terminate the parental rights.

For more information on this law: