Adult Protective Services

Mandatory Reporting

South Dakota law requires individuals in the medical and mental health professions and employees or entities that have ongoing contact with and exposure to elders and adults with disabilities, to report knowledge or reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect of elders and adults with disabilities. 

Mandatory Reporters

There are two groups of mandatory reporters and the process for reporting is different for each group.

The first group of mandatory reporters includes:

  • Physician, dentist, doctor of osteopathy, chiropractor, optometrist, podiatrist, religious healing practitioner, hospital intern or resident, nurse, paramedic, emergency medical technician, social worker, or any health care professional;
  • Long-term care ombudsman;
  • Psychologist, licensed mental health professional, or counselor engaged in professional counseling; or
  • State, county, or municipal criminal justice employee or law enforcement officer.

These individuals must make an oral or written report within twenty-four hours to DSS, law enforcement, or the state’s attorney.

The second group of mandatory reporters includes:

  • Any staff member of a nursing facility, assisted living facility, adult day care center, or community support provider, or any residential care giver, individual providing homemaker services, victim advocate, or hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care, or treatment of elders or disabled adults.
  • Any individual in this group must report to the person in charge of the institution where the elderly or disabled adult resides or is present, or the person in charge of providing the services within twenty-four hours.

The person in charge must also make an oral or written report within twenty-four hours to DSS, law enforcement, or the state’s attorney.


To report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an elder or an adult with disabilities, please contact your local law enforcement agency, local state's attorney's office or the nearest Department of Social Services' office, or e-mail the Division of Adult Services and Aging.

In addition to mandatory reporting, people can make reports on a voluntary basis. Any person who knows or has reason to suspect that an elder or adult who is disabled has been abused or neglected may report that information. Persons who in good faith make a report of abuse or neglect of an elderly or disabled adult are immune from liability.

Facilities or programs that are licensed or regulated by the Department of Health or Department of Human Services will follow department procedures in place for reporting.

A mandatory reporter who knowingly fails to make the required report is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Report the following if you know or have reason to believe someone needs protection from abuse, neglect, or exploitation:

  • Name, age and address of the adult who is in danger.
  • Names and addresses of guardian or relatives, if known.
  • Names of other people involved, if any.
  • Description of the situation causing the danger.
Reporting in Tribal Communities

Tribal communities may have different definitions of abuse, neglect, exploitation and different reporting requirements. Please check with the appropriate authority in your area.