In the Interest of D.K.

245 N.W.2d 644 (1976)

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In the Interest of D.K.

South Dakota Supreme Court
245 N.W.2d 644 (1976)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

D.K. was born five weeks prematurely in August 1974. At the time, D.K.’s mother (the mother) (defendant) was 24 years old, sole caregiver to an 18-month-old daughter, and living on government welfare. Between September 1974 and March 1975, D.K. was hospitalized six times; most of the hospital visits were initiated by the mother. D.K. had a congenital lung disease, and part of his left lung had to be removed. D.K. was also found to be allergic to cow’s milk, requiring a prescribed diet of soy formula. D.K. suffered multiple respiratory conditions and infections, including bronchiolitis and bronchitis, severe diaper rash, and mild gastritis. According to doctors, D.K.’s gastritis may have been caused by the mother’s having fed orange juice to D.K. Due to D.K.’s special medical needs, it was critical that he avoid exposure to viruses and strengthen his immune system. Under the mother’s care, D.K. lived in a dirty house that reeked of urine, was frequently left in soiled diapers and clothing, and was once unfed for 24 hours. D.K.’s toddler sister was observed drinking out of the same bottle as D.K., potentially exposing D.K. to viruses. The state (plaintiff) petitioned for a declaration that D.K. was dependent and neglected within the meaning of the state’s child-welfare law. Based on the evidence before it, the trial court found that D.K. was a neglected and dependent child and ordered him temporarily removed from the mother’s custody. The mother appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dunn, C.J.)

Dissent (Winans, J.)

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