as introduced - 83rd Legislature (2003 - 2004) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am
1.1 A bill for an act 1.2 relating to child protection; requiring certain notice 1.3 to the subject of a child maltreatment report; 1.4 requiring certain training for child abuse services 1.5 professionals; amending Minnesota Statutes 2002, 1.6 section 626.559, subdivision 2; Minnesota Statutes 1.7 2003 Supplement, section 626.556, subdivision 10. 1.8 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 1.9 Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2003 Supplement, section 1.10 626.556, subdivision 10, is amended to read: 1.11 Subd. 10. [DUTIES OF LOCAL WELFARE AGENCY AND LOCAL LAW 1.12 ENFORCEMENT AGENCY UPON RECEIPT OF A REPORT.] (a) If the report 1.13 alleges neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse by a parent, 1.14 guardian, or individual functioning within the family unit as a 1.15 person responsible for the child's care, the local welfare 1.16 agency shall immediately conduct an assessment including 1.17 gathering information on the existence of substance abuse and 1.18 offer protective social services for purposes of preventing 1.19 further abuses, safeguarding and enhancing the welfare of the 1.20 abused or neglected minor, and preserving family life whenever 1.21 possible. If the report alleges a violation of a criminal 1.22 statute involving sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect or 1.23 endangerment, under section 609.378, the local law enforcement 1.24 agency and local welfare agency shall coordinate the planning 1.25 and execution of their respective investigation and assessment 1.26 efforts to avoid a duplication of fact-finding efforts and 2.1 multiple interviews. Each agency shall prepare a separate 2.2 report of the results of its investigation. In cases of alleged 2.3 child maltreatment resulting in death, the local agency may rely 2.4 on the fact-finding efforts of a law enforcement investigation 2.5 to make a determination of whether or not maltreatment 2.6 occurred. When necessary the local welfare agency shall seek 2.7 authority to remove the child from the custody of a parent, 2.8 guardian, or adult with whom the child is living. In performing 2.9 any of these duties, the local welfare agency shall maintain 2.10 appropriate records. 2.11 If the assessment indicates there is a potential for abuse 2.12 of alcohol or other drugs by the parent, guardian, or person 2.13 responsible for the child's care, the local welfare agency shall 2.14 conduct a chemical use assessment pursuant to Minnesota Rules, 2.15 part 9530.6615. The local welfare agency shall report the 2.16 determination of the chemical use assessment, and the 2.17 recommendations and referrals for alcohol and other drug 2.18 treatment services to the state authority on alcohol and drug 2.19 abuse. 2.20 (b) When a local agency receives a report or otherwise has 2.21 information indicating that a child who is a client, as defined 2.22 in section 245.91, has been the subject of physical abuse, 2.23 sexual abuse, or neglect at an agency, facility, or program as 2.24 defined in section 245.91, it shall, in addition to its other 2.25 duties under this section, immediately inform the ombudsman 2.26 established under sections 245.91 to 245.97. The commissioner 2.27 of education shall inform the ombudsman established under 2.28 sections 245.91 to 245.97 of reports regarding a child defined 2.29 as a client in section 245.91 that maltreatment occurred at a 2.30 school as defined in sections 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, and 2.31 13, and 124D.10. 2.32 (c) Authority of the local welfare agency responsible for 2.33 assessing the child abuse or neglect report, the agency 2.34 responsible for assessing or investigating the report, and of 2.35 the local law enforcement agency for investigating the alleged 2.36 abuse or neglect includes, but is not limited to, authority to 3.1 interview, without parental consent, the alleged victim and any 3.2 other minors who currently reside with or who have resided with 3.3 the alleged offender. The interview may take place at school or 3.4 at any facility or other place where the alleged victim or other 3.5 minors might be found or the child may be transported to, and 3.6 the interview conducted at, a place appropriate for the 3.7 interview of a child designated by the local welfare agency or 3.8 law enforcement agency. The interview may take place outside 3.9 the presence of the alleged offender or parent, legal custodian, 3.10 guardian, or school official. Except as provided in this 3.11 paragraph, the parent, legal custodian, or guardian shall be 3.12 notified by the responsible local welfare or law enforcement 3.13 agency no later than the conclusion of the investigation or 3.14 assessment that this interview has occurred. Notwithstanding 3.15 rule 49.02 of the Minnesota Rules of Procedure for Juvenile 3.16 Courts, the juvenile court may, after hearing on an ex parte 3.17 motion by the local welfare agency, order that, where reasonable 3.18 cause exists, the agency withhold notification of this interview 3.19 from the parent, legal custodian, or guardian. If the interview 3.20 took place or is to take place on school property, the order 3.21 shall specify that school officials may not disclose to the 3.22 parent, legal custodian, or guardian the contents of the 3.23 notification of intent to interview the child on school 3.24 property, as provided under this paragraph, and any other 3.25 related information regarding the interview that may be a part 3.26 of the child's school record. A copy of the order shall be sent 3.27 by the local welfare or law enforcement agency to the 3.28 appropriate school official. 3.29 (d) When the local welfare, local law enforcement agency, 3.30 or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating a 3.31 report of maltreatment determines that an interview should take 3.32 place on school property, written notification of intent to 3.33 interview the child on school property must be received by 3.34 school officials prior to the interview. The notification shall 3.35 include the name of the child to be interviewed, the purpose of 3.36 the interview, and a reference to the statutory authority to 4.1 conduct an interview on school property. For interviews 4.2 conducted by the local welfare agency, the notification shall be 4.3 signed by the chair of the local social services agency or the 4.4 chair's designee. The notification shall be private data on 4.5 individuals subject to the provisions of this paragraph. School 4.6 officials may not disclose to the parent, legal custodian, or 4.7 guardian the contents of the notification or any other related 4.8 information regarding the interview until notified in writing by 4.9 the local welfare or law enforcement agency that the 4.10 investigation or assessment has been concluded, unless a school 4.11 employee or agent is alleged to have maltreated the child. 4.12 Until that time, the local welfare or law enforcement agency or 4.13 the agency responsible for assessing or investigating a report 4.14 of maltreatment shall be solely responsible for any disclosures 4.15 regarding the nature of the assessment or investigation. 4.16 Except where the alleged offender is believed to be a 4.17 school official or employee, the time and place, and manner of 4.18 the interview on school premises shall be within the discretion 4.19 of school officials, but the local welfare or law enforcement 4.20 agency shall have the exclusive authority to determine who may 4.21 attend the interview. The conditions as to time, place, and 4.22 manner of the interview set by the school officials shall be 4.23 reasonable and the interview shall be conducted not more than 24 4.24 hours after the receipt of the notification unless another time 4.25 is considered necessary by agreement between the school 4.26 officials and the local welfare or law enforcement agency. 4.27 Where the school fails to comply with the provisions of this 4.28 paragraph, the juvenile court may order the school to comply. 4.29 Every effort must be made to reduce the disruption of the 4.30 educational program of the child, other students, or school 4.31 staff when an interview is conducted on school premises. 4.32 (e) Where the alleged offender or a person responsible for 4.33 the care of the alleged victim or other minor prevents access to 4.34 the victim or other minor by the local welfare agency, the 4.35 juvenile court may order the parents, legal custodian, or 4.36 guardian to produce the alleged victim or other minor for 5.1 questioning by the local welfare agency or the local law 5.2 enforcement agency outside the presence of the alleged offender 5.3 or any person responsible for the child's care at reasonable 5.4 places and times as specified by court order. 5.5 (f) Before making an order under paragraph (e), the court 5.6 shall issue an order to show cause, either upon its own motion 5.7 or upon a verified petition, specifying the basis for the 5.8 requested interviews and fixing the time and place of the 5.9 hearing. The order to show cause shall be served personally and 5.10 shall be heard in the same manner as provided in other cases in 5.11 the juvenile court. The court shall consider the need for 5.12 appointment of a guardian ad litem to protect the best interests 5.13 of the child. If appointed, the guardian ad litem shall be 5.14 present at the hearing on the order to show cause. 5.15 (g) The commissioner of human services, the ombudsman for 5.16 mental health and mental retardation, the local welfare agencies 5.17 responsible for investigating reports, the commissioner of 5.18 education, and the local law enforcement agencies have the right 5.19 to enter facilities as defined in subdivision 2 and to inspect 5.20 and copy the facility's records, including medical records, as 5.21 part of the investigation. Notwithstanding the provisions of 5.22 chapter 13, they also have the right to inform the facility 5.23 under investigation that they are conducting an investigation, 5.24 to disclose to the facility the names of the individuals under 5.25 investigation for abusing or neglecting a child, and to provide 5.26 the facility with a copy of the report and the investigative 5.27 findings. 5.28 (h) The local welfare agency or the agency responsible for 5.29 assessing or investigating the report shall collect available 5.30 and relevant information to ascertain whether maltreatment 5.31 occurred and whether protective services are needed. 5.32 Information collected includes, when relevant, information with 5.33 regard to the person reporting the alleged maltreatment, 5.34 including the nature of the reporter's relationship to the child 5.35 and to the alleged offender, and the basis of the reporter's 5.36 knowledge for the report; the child allegedly being maltreated; 6.1 the alleged offender; the child's caretaker; and other 6.2 collateral sources having relevant information related to the 6.3 alleged maltreatment. The local welfare agency or the agency 6.4 responsible for assessing or investigating the report may make a 6.5 determination of no maltreatment early in an assessment, and 6.6 close the case and retain immunity, if the collected information 6.7 shows no basis for a full assessment or investigation. 6.8 Information relevant to the assessment or investigation 6.9 must be asked for, and may include: 6.10 (1) the child's sex and age, prior reports of maltreatment, 6.11 information relating to developmental functioning, credibility 6.12 of the child's statement, and whether the information provided 6.13 under this clause is consistent with other information collected 6.14 during the course of the assessment or investigation; 6.15 (2) the alleged offender's age, a record check for prior 6.16 reports of maltreatment, and criminal charges and convictions. 6.17 The local welfare agency or the agency responsible for assessing 6.18 or investigating the report must provide the alleged offender 6.19 with an opportunity to make a statement. The alleged offender 6.20 may submit supporting documentation relevant to the assessment 6.21 or investigation; 6.22 (3) collateral source information regarding the alleged 6.23 maltreatment and care of the child. Collateral information 6.24 includes, when relevant: (i) a medical examination of the 6.25 child; (ii) prior medical records relating to the alleged 6.26 maltreatment or the care of the child maintained by any 6.27 facility, clinic, or health care professional and an interview 6.28 with the treating professionals; and (iii) interviews with the 6.29 child's caretakers, including the child's parent, guardian, 6.30 foster parent, child care provider, teachers, counselors, family 6.31 members, relatives, and other persons who may have knowledge 6.32 regarding the alleged maltreatment and the care of the child; 6.33 and 6.34 (4) information on the existence of domestic abuse and 6.35 violence in the home of the child, and substance abuse. 6.36 Nothing in this paragraph precludes the local welfare 7.1 agency, the local law enforcement agency, or the agency 7.2 responsible for assessing or investigating the report from 7.3 collecting other relevant information necessary to conduct the 7.4 assessment or investigation. Notwithstanding section 13.384 or 7.5 144.335, the local welfare agency has access to medical data and 7.6 records for purposes of clause (3). Notwithstanding the data's 7.7 classification in the possession of any other agency, data 7.8 acquired by the local welfare agency or the agency responsible 7.9 for assessing or investigating the report during the course of 7.10 the assessment or investigation are private data on individuals 7.11 and must be maintained in accordance with subdivision 11. Data 7.12 of the commissioner of education collected or maintained during 7.13 and for the purpose of an investigation of alleged maltreatment 7.14 in a school are governed by this section, notwithstanding the 7.15 data's classification as educational, licensing, or personnel 7.16 data under chapter 13. 7.17 In conducting an assessment or investigation involving a 7.18 school facility as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (f), the 7.19 commissioner of education shall collect investigative reports 7.20 and data that are relevant to a report of maltreatment and are 7.21 from local law enforcement and the school facility. 7.22 (i) In the initial stages of an assessment or 7.23 investigation, the local welfare agency shall conduct a 7.24 face-to-face observation of the child reported to be maltreated 7.25 and a face-to-face interview of the alleged offender. The 7.26 interview with the alleged offender may be postponed if it would 7.27 jeopardize an active law enforcement investigation. The local 7.28 welfare agency shall, at the initial contact with a parent, 7.29 guardian, or individual functioning within the family unit as a 7.30 person responsible for a child's care, advise the individual of 7.31 the specific complaints or allegations made against the 7.32 individual. 7.33 (j) The local welfare agency shall use a question and 7.34 answer interviewing format with questioning as nondirective as 7.35 possible to elicit spontaneous responses. The following 7.36 interviewing methods and procedures must be used whenever 8.1 possible when collecting information: 8.2 (1) audio recordings of all interviews with witnesses and 8.3 collateral sources; and 8.4 (2) in cases of alleged sexual abuse, audio-video 8.5 recordings of each interview with the alleged victim and child 8.6 witnesses. 8.7 (k) In conducting an assessment or investigation involving 8.8 a school facility as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (f), 8.9 the commissioner of education shall collect available and 8.10 relevant information and use the procedures in paragraphs (h), 8.11 (i), and (j), provided that the commissioner may also base the 8.12 assessment or investigation on investigative reports and data 8.13 received from the school facility and local law enforcement, to 8.14 the extent those investigations satisfy the requirements of 8.15 paragraphs (h), (i), and (j). 8.16 Sec. 2. Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 626.559, 8.17 subdivision 2, is amended to read: 8.18 Subd. 2. [JOINT TRAINING.] The commissioners of human 8.19 services and public safety shall cooperate in the development of 8.20 a joint program for training child abuse services professionals 8.21 in the appropriate techniques for child abuse assessment and 8.22 investigation. The program shall include but need not be 8.23 limited to the following areas: 8.24 (1) the public policy goals of the state as set forth in 8.25 section 260C.001 and the role of the assessment or investigation 8.26 in meeting these goals; 8.27 (2) the special duties of child protection workers and law 8.28 enforcement officers under section 626.556; 8.29 (3) the appropriate methods for directing and managing 8.30 affiliated professionals who may be utilized in providing 8.31 protective services and strengthening family ties; 8.32 (4) the appropriate methods for interviewing alleged 8.33 victims of child abuse and other minors in the course of 8.34 performing an assessment or an investigation; 8.35 (5) the dynamics of child abuse and neglect within family 8.36 systems and the appropriate methods for interviewing parents in 9.1 the course of the assessment or investigation, including 9.2 training in recognizing cases in which one of the parents is a 9.3 victim of domestic abuse and in need of special legal or medical 9.4 services; 9.5 (6) the legal, evidentiary considerations that may be 9.6 relevant to the conduct of an assessment or an investigation, 9.7 including the statutory and constitutional rights, including the 9.8 Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, of children 9.9 and families from the time of initial contact through assessment 9.10 or investigation and any treatment; 9.11 (7) the circumstances under which it is appropriate to 9.12 remove the alleged abuser or the alleged victim from the home; 9.13 (8) the protective social services that are available to 9.14 protect alleged victims from further abuse, to prevent child 9.15 abuse and domestic abuse, and to preserve the family unit, and 9.16 training in the preparation of case plans to coordinate services 9.17 for the alleged child abuse victim with services for any parents 9.18 who are victims of domestic abuse; 9.19 (9) the methods by which child protection workers and law 9.20 enforcement workers cooperate in conducting assessments and 9.21 investigations in order to avoid duplication of efforts; and 9.22 (10) appropriate methods for interviewing alleged victims 9.23 of child abuse and conducting investigations in cases where the 9.24 alleged victim is developmentally, physically, or mentally 9.25 disabled.