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Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 2872

as introduced - 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018) Posted on 02/22/2018 02:55pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to families; expanding the Office of Ombudsperson for Families; requiring
a report; appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 2016, sections
257.0755, subdivision 1; 257.076, subdivision 1, by adding a subdivision; 257.0761;
257.0762; 257.0766; 257.0767; 257.0768, subdivision 6; 257.0769; 393.07,
subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 257;
repealing Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.0755, subdivision 3.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [257.0751] OFFICE OF OMBUDSPERSON FOR FAMILIES; CREATION.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Creation. new text end

new text begin The Office of Ombudsperson for Families shall consist of a
director, 12 ombudspersons, and an advisory council.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Director. new text end

new text begin The director of the Office of Ombudsperson for Families is responsible
for the activities of the office, including hiring and supervising the ombudspersons and other
staff, except that the ombudspersons for communities of color shall be selected in the manner
described in section 257.0755. The director shall also be responsible for making an annual
report to the governor and proposing legislation as necessary. The director shall be appointed
by the governor for a term of six years and shall not serve more than two consecutive terms.
The director serves in the unclassified service and may be removed during a term only for
just cause.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Ombudspersons. new text end

new text begin (a) There shall be four ombudspersons for communities of
color that operate in collaboration with community-specific boards, as described in section
257.0755.
new text end

new text begin (b) The remaining ombudspersons shall be hired by the director and shall focus on
particular issue areas as described in section 257.0756.
new text end

new text begin (c) The duties of the ombudspersons shall be as described in section 257.0762.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Advisory council. new text end

new text begin The advisory council shall be organized as described in
section 257.171.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.0755, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

deleted text beginCreationdeleted text endnew text begin Generallynew text end.

new text beginThere shall be four ombudspersons for communities
of color.
new text endEach ombudsperson shall operate independently from but in collaboration with
the community-specific board that appointed the ombudsperson under section 257.0768:
the Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs, the Council for
Minnesotans of African Heritage, and the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans.

Sec. 3.

new text begin [257.0756] ADDITIONAL OMBUDSPERSONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Generally. new text end

new text begin There shall be four ombudspersons who focus on particular
issue areas, as described in this section. The ombudspersons in this section shall work
together to ensure that cases are handled in a timely manner. If an ombudsperson in this
section has a light caseload in the ombudsperson's issue area, the ombudsperson shall provide
backup to other ombudspersons as necessary, including the ombudspersons for communities
of color.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Ombudsperson for child protection and welfare. new text end

new text begin The ombudsperson for
child protection and welfare shall focus on issues surrounding state statutes, rules, and court
procedures related to child protection and welfare; the appropriate use of screening and
investigation; the recommendations of the Governor's Task Force on the Protection of
Children; the continuum of out-of-home care used by counties for placement of children
and youth; childhood trauma and risk factors; and the responsibilities of state agencies and
facilities when acting in loco parentis.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Ombudsperson for juvenile justice. new text end

new text begin The ombudsperson for juvenile justice
shall focus on the continuum of services for youth involved in the juvenile justice system
including prevention, diversion, delinquency court proceedings, probation, short-term
programs, group homes, juvenile correctional facilities, and transition services.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Ombudsperson for education. new text end

new text begin The ombudsperson for education shall focus
on issues related to pre-K through grade 12 and special education systems, and shall work
closely with the Department of Education compliance and accountability officer.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Ombudsperson for underserved populations. new text end

new text begin The ombudsperson for
underserved populations shall focus on the unique needs and challenges of underserved
populations, including youth and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless,
who identify as LGBT, and who are new immigrants. The ombudsperson for underserved
populations shall be knowledgeable about resources available to these populations.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.076, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Scope.

For the purposes of sections deleted text begin257.0755deleted text endnew text begin 257.0751new text end to deleted text begin257.0768deleted text endnew text begin
257.171
new text end, the following terms shall have the meanings given them in this section.

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.076, is amended by adding a subdivision to
read:


new text begin Subd. 4a. new text end

new text begin Director. new text end

new text begin "Director" means the director of the Office of Ombudsperson for
Families.
new text end

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.0761, is amended to read:


257.0761 ORGANIZATION OF OFFICE OF OMBUDSPERSON.

Subdivision 1.

Staff; unclassified status; retirement.

new text begin(a) new text endThe deleted text beginombudsperson for each
group specified in section 257.0755
deleted text endnew text begin directornew text end may select, appoint, and compensate out of
available funds the assistants and employees as deemed necessary to discharge
responsibilities. All employees, except the secretarial and clerical staff, shall serve at the
pleasure of the deleted text beginombudspersondeleted text endnew text begin directornew text end in the unclassified service. The deleted text beginombudspersondeleted text endnew text begin director,
ombudspersons,
new text end and full-time staff shall be members of the Minnesota State Retirement
Association.

new text begin (b) The ombudspersons shall be selected as provided in sections 257.0755 and 257.0756.
new text end

Subd. 2.

Delegation to staff.

The deleted text beginombudspersondeleted text endnew text begin director and ombudspersonsnew text end may
delegate to staff members any of the new text begindirector's or new text endombudsperson's authority or duties except
the duty of formally making recommendations to an administrative agency or reports to the
Office of the Governor, or to the legislature.

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.0762, is amended to read:


257.0762 DUTIES AND POWERS.

Subdivision 1.

Duties.

(a) Each ombudsperson shall monitor agency compliance with
all laws governing child protection and placement, as they impact on deleted text beginchildren of colordeleted text endnew text begin the
ombudsperson's specific focus area
new text end. In particular, the ombudsperson shall monitor agency
compliance with sections 260C.215; 260.751 to 260.835; and 260C.193, subdivision 3.

new text begin (b) Each ombudsperson shall also perform the following duties as appropriate:
new text end

new text begin (1) receive and investigate complaints from any person regarding a state, county, or
local agency, or a facility;
new text end

new text begin (2) mediate settlements or other resolutions between children, families, and agencies;
new text end

new text begin (3) track complaints;
new text end

new text begin (4) recommend law, rule, or policy changes;
new text end

new text begin (5) maintain relationships with relevant agencies;
new text end

new text begin (6) work with the director to submit an annual report to the governor pursuant to section
257.0766; and
new text end

new text begin (7) provide backup to other ombudspersons as necessary to ensure that cases are handled
in a timely manner.
new text end

deleted text begin (b)deleted text end new text begin(c) In addition, new text endthe deleted text beginombudspersondeleted text endnew text begin ombudspersons for communities of color in section
257.0755
new text end shall work with local state courts to ensure that:

(1) court officials, public policy makers, and service providers are trained in cultural
diversity. The ombudsperson shall document and monitor court activities in order to heighten
awareness of diverse belief systems and family relationships;

(2) experts from the appropriate community of color including tribal advocates are used
as court advocates and are consulted in placement decisions that involve children of color;

(3) guardians ad litem and other individuals from communities of color are recruited,
trained, and used in court proceedings to advocate on behalf of children of color; and

(4) training programs for bilingual workers are provided.

Subd. 2.

Powers.

Each ombudsperson has the authority to investigate decisions, acts,
and other matters of an agency, program, or facility providing protection or placement
services to children deleted text beginof colordeleted text end. In carrying out this authority and the duties in subdivision 1,
each ombudsperson has the power to:

(1) prescribe the methods by which complaints are to be made, reviewed, and acted
upon;

(2) determine the scope and manner of investigations to be made;

(3) investigate, upon a complaint or upon personal initiative, any action of any agency;

(4) request and be given access to any information in the possession of any agency
deemed necessary for the discharge of responsibilities. The ombudsperson is authorized to
set reasonable deadlines within which an agency must respond to requests for information.
Data obtained from any agency under this clause shall retain the classification which it had
under section 13.02 and shall be maintained and disseminated by the ombudsperson according
to chapter 13;

(5) examine the records and documents of an agency;

(6) enter and inspect, during normal business hours, premises within the control of an
agency; deleted text beginand
deleted text end

(7) subpoena any agency personnel to appear, testify, or produce documentary or other
evidence which the ombudsperson deems relevant to a matter under inquiry, and may petition
the appropriate state court to seek enforcement with the subpoena; provided, however, that
any witness at a hearing or before an investigation as herein provided, shall possess the
same privileges reserved to such a witness in the courts or under the laws of this state. The
ombudsperson may compel nonagency individuals to testify or produce evidence according
to procedures developed by the advisory deleted text beginboard.deleted text endnew text begin council; and
new text end

new text begin (8) require agencies to engage in mediation when appropriate, in consultation with the
Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution.
new text end

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.0766, is amended to read:


257.0766 RECOMMENDATIONS AND PUBLIC REPORTS.

Subdivision 1.

Specific reports.

An ombudsperson new text beginor the director new text endmay send conclusions
and suggestions concerning any matter reviewed to the governor and shall provide copies
of all reports to the advisory deleted text beginboarddeleted text endnew text begin councilnew text end and to the groups specified in section 257.0768,
subdivision 1
. Before making public a conclusion or recommendation that expressly or
implicitly criticizes an agency, facility, program, or any person, the ombudspersonnew text begin or directornew text end
shall inform the governor and the affected agency, facility, program, or person concerning
the conclusion or recommendation. When sending a conclusion or recommendation to the
governor that is adverse to an agency, facility, program, or any person, the ombudspersonnew text begin
or director
new text end shall include any statement of reasonable length made by that agency, facility,
program, or person in defense or mitigation of the ombudsperson'snew text begin or director'snew text end conclusion
or recommendation.

Subd. 2.

General reports.

In addition to whatever conclusions or recommendations deleted text beginthe
ombudsperson
deleted text endnew text begin an ombudsperson or the directornew text end may make to the governor on an ad hoc
basis, the deleted text beginombudspersondeleted text endnew text begin directornew text end shall at the end of each year report to the governor
concerning the exercise of the deleted text beginombudsperson'sdeleted text end functionsnew text begin of the Office of Ombudsperson
for Families
new text end during the preceding year.new text begin This annual report must include statistics on the
types of complaints received and issues addressed.
new text end

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.0767, is amended to read:


257.0767 CIVIL ACTIONS.

The ombudspersonnew text begin, director,new text end and designees are not civilly liable for any action taken
under sections 257.0755 to 257.0768 if the action was taken in good faith, was within the
scope of the ombudsperson'snew text begin or director'snew text end authority, and did not constitute willful or reckless
misconduct.

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.0768, subdivision 6, is amended to read:


Subd. 6.

Joint meetings.

The members of the four community-specific boards shall
meet jointly at least four times each year to advise the ombudspersons new text beginfor communities of
color
new text endon overall policies, plans, protocols, and programs for the office.

Sec. 11.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.0769, is amended to read:


257.0769 FUNDING FOR THE deleted text beginOMBUDSPERSON PROGRAMdeleted text endnew text begin OFFICE OF
OMBUDSPERSON FOR FAMILIES
new text end.

Subdivision 1.

Appropriations.

(a) Money is appropriated from the special fund
authorized by section 256.01, subdivision 2, paragraph (o), to the deleted text beginIndian Affairs Councildeleted text endnew text begin
Office of Ombudsperson for Families and to each individual ombudsperson
new text end for the purposes
of sections deleted text begin257.0755 to 257.0768deleted text endnew text begin 257.0751 to 257.171new text end.

(b) deleted text beginMoney is appropriated from the special fund authorized by section 256.01, subdivision
2
, paragraph (o), to the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs for the purposes of sections
257.0755 to 257.0768.
deleted text endnew text begin Money appropriated for each ombudsperson from the general fund
or the special fund authorized by section 256.01, subdivision 2, paragraph (o), is under the
control of each ombudsperson for which it is appropriated.
new text end

deleted text begin (c) Money is appropriated from the special fund authorized by section 256.01, subdivision
2
, paragraph (o), to the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage for the purposes of
sections 257.0755 to 257.0768.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (d) Money is appropriated from the special fund authorized by section 256.01, subdivision
2
, paragraph (o), to the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans for the purposes of sections
257.0755 to 257.0768.
deleted text end

Subd. 2.

Title IV-E reimbursement.

The commissioner shall obtain federal title IV-E
financial participation for eligible activity by the new text beginOffice of new text endOmbudsperson for Families
under section 257.0755. The deleted text beginombudsperson for familiesdeleted text endnew text begin directornew text end shall maintain and transmit
to the Department of Human Services documentation that is necessary in order to obtain
federal funds.

Sec. 12.

new text begin [257.077] ADVISORY COUNCIL.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Creation. new text end

new text begin The Office of Ombudsperson for Families Advisory Council
is established.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Duties. new text end

new text begin The council's duty is to provide guidance, advice, and recommendations
to the Office of Ombudsperson for Families regarding issues or areas of interest to research
and investigate.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Membership. new text end

new text begin The council consists of 15 members, appointed as follows:
new text end

new text begin (1) four members representing the community-specific boards listed in section 257.0768.
Each community-specific board shall appoint one member to the council and that member
shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing board; and
new text end

new text begin (2) 11 members appointed by the governor, representing a diverse group of people who
have knowledge of and interest in one or more of the following areas: health and human
services, child welfare, residential and permanency services, homelessness, education, health
care, racial disparities, and culturally appropriate practices and services. The governor shall
appoint at least one member from each of the following groups: current or former clients,
relatives of current or former clients, organizations that advocate for clients, and human
services or health care professionals.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Membership terms; compensation; removal. new text end

new text begin (a) Except as provided in
paragraph (b), the membership terms, compensation, and removal of council members are
governed by section 15.0575.
new text end

new text begin (b) The four members appointed pursuant to subdivision 3, clause (1), shall not be
appointed in the manner provided in section 15.0597.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Chair. new text end

new text begin The council shall select its chair by a majority vote.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Funding. new text end

new text begin The director shall allocate and administer the funds reasonably
necessary to cover the operational costs of the council.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Staff. new text end

new text begin The director shall provide staff services reasonably required by the
council.
new text end

Sec. 13.

Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 393.07, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Public child welfare program.

(a) To assist in carrying out the child
protection, delinquency prevention and family assistance responsibilities of the state, the
local social services agency shall administer a program of social services and financial
assistance to be known as the public child welfare program. The public child welfare program
shall be supervised by the commissioner of human services and administered by the local
social services agency in accordance with law and with rules of the commissioner.

(b) The purpose of the public child welfare program is to assure protection for and
financial assistance to children who are confronted with social, physical, or emotional
problems requiring protection and assistance. These problems include, but are not limited
to the following:

(1) mental, emotional, or physical disability;

(2) birth of a child to a mother who was not married to the child's father when the child
was conceived nor when the child was born, including but not limited to costs of prenatal
care, confinement and other care necessary for the protection of a child born to a mother
who was not married to the child's father at the time of the child's conception nor at the
birth;

(3) dependency, neglect;

(4) delinquency;

(5) abuse or rejection of a child by its parents;

(6) absence of a parent or guardian able and willing to provide needed care and
supervision;

(7) need of parents for assistance with child rearing problems, or in placing the child in
foster care.

(c) A local social services agency shall make the services of its public child welfare
program available as required by law, by the commissioner, or by the courts and shall
cooperate with other agencies, public or private, dealing with the problems of children and
their parents as provided in this subdivision.

(d) A local social services agency may rent, lease, or purchase property, or in any other
way approved by the commissioner, contract with individuals or agencies to provide needed
facilities for foster care of children. It may purchase services or child care from duly
authorized individuals, agencies or institutions when in its judgment the needs of a child or
the child's family can best be met in this way.

new text begin (e) A local social services agency shall provide each client with information about the
client's rights relating to child protection, delinquency prevention, and family assistance
services during the agency's first contact with the client.
new text end

Sec. 14. new text begin REPEALER.
new text end

new text begin Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 257.0755, subdivision 3, new text end new text begin is repealed.
new text end

APPENDIX

Repealed Minnesota Statutes: HF2872-0

257.0755 OFFICE OF OMBUDSPERSON; CREATION; QUALIFICATIONS; FUNCTION.

Subd. 3.

Appropriation.

Money appropriated for each ombudsperson from the general fund or the special fund authorized by section 256.01, subdivision 2, paragraph (o), is under the control of each ombudsperson for which it is appropriated.