RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A federal judge is allowing the U.S. Justice Department to weigh in on a lawsuit over South Dakota's handling of foster care for American Indian children.

The Rapid City Journal reports U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken granted the Justice Department's motion to comment on the lawsuit and acknowledged the department's brief outlining its interpretation of the rights Native American parents have under the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Two Sioux tribes and two parents in South Dakota allege the state removes too many Indian children from their homes and places them in foster care with non-Indian families. Plaintiff's attorney Dana Hanna says Viken's decision is good news because the Justice Department supports the legal arguments the plaintiffs have made.

The attorney general's office says it can't comment on ongoing litigation.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.