SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Dennis Daugaard has sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying he supports tribal efforts in South Dakota to run their own child welfare and foster care services.

Daugaard says he understands the tribes might ask Sebelius for federal dollars to be sent directly to them rather than the state to administer those services, and he supports that.

Danny Sheehan with the Lakota People's Law Project tells the Argus Leader he views Daugaard's letter as a positive development.

Sheehan's group and many Sioux have accused South Dakota's Department of Social Services with routinely and illegally placing Native American children with non-Indian foster parents.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux tribes sued the state in federal court earlier this year.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.