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SF 2750

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 04/01/2019 03:36pm

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

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to child protection; modifying requirements for relative notification and
placement in child protection cases; directing commissioner of human services to
review kinship navigator models and provide guidance on relative searches;
appropriating money for relative support grants; amending Minnesota Statutes
2018, sections 260C.215, by adding a subdivision; 260C.221; 260C.317, by adding
a subdivision.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 260C.215, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 10. new text end

new text begin Relative placement licensing support. new text end

new text begin (a) If a child is placed with a relative,
the local social services agency or other child-placing agency must refer the case to a private,
community-based agency to provide support and guidance to the relative caregiver through
the foster care licensing process when:
new text end

new text begin (1) the relative has not completed sudden infant unexplained death syndrome and abusive
head trauma training or child and restraint system training within 45 days of placement, and
a face-to-face meeting has occurred; and
new text end

new text begin (2) the relative has been offered the choice between support from the local social services
agency or support from a private, community-based agency.
new text end

new text begin (b) A private, community-based agency shall provide relative foster caregivers with
assistance with all pre-licensing requirements, including fingerprinting, home safety, hygiene
and basic need supplies, fire inspection, and other licensing requirements.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 260C.221, is amended to read:


260C.221 RELATIVE SEARCH.

(a) The responsible social services agency shall exercise due diligence to identify and
notify adult relatives prior to placement or within 30 days after the child's removal from the
parent. The county agency shall consider placement with a relative under this section without
delay and whenever the child must move from or be returned to foster care. The relative
search required by this section shall be comprehensive in scope. deleted text beginAfter a finding that the
agency has made reasonable efforts to conduct the relative search under this paragraph,
deleted text end The
agency new text beginmust continue to diligently search for relatives until a court has made a specific
finding that a continued relative search no longer serves the best interests of the child or is
a threat to the child's safety. The agency
new text endhas the continuing responsibility to appropriately
involve relatives, who have responded to the notice required under this paragraph, in planning
for the child and to continue to consider relatives according to the requirements of section
260C.212, subdivision 2. At any time during the course of juvenile protection proceedings,
the court may order the agency to reopen its search for relatives when it is in the child's best
interest to do so.

(b) The relative search required by this section shall include both maternal and paternal
adult relatives of the child; all adult grandparents; all legal parents, guardians, or custodians
of the child's siblings; and any other adult relatives suggested by the child's parents, subject
to the exceptions due to family violence in paragraph (c). The search shall also include
getting information from the child in an age-appropriate manner about who the child
considers to be family members and important friends with whom the child has resided or
had significant contact. new text beginA local social services agency may contract with a provider of
relative search services to conduct and assist with relative searches required by this section.
The search service provider must have knowledge of Minnesota counties and child protection
requirements and expertise in local and national relative search techniques.
new text endThe relative
search required under this section must fulfill the agency's duties under the Indian Child
Welfare Act regarding active efforts to prevent the breakup of the Indian family under
United States Code, title 25, section 1912(d), and to meet placement preferences under
United States Code, title 25, section 1915. The relatives must be notified:

(1) of the need for a foster home for the child, the option to become a placement resource
for the child, and the possibility of the need for a permanent placement for the child;

(2) of their responsibility to keep the responsible social services agency and the court
informed of their current address in order to receive notice in the event that a permanent
placement is sought for the child and to receive notice of the permanency progress review
hearing under section 260C.204. A relative who fails to provide a current address to the
responsible social services agency and the court forfeits the right to receive notice of the
possibility of permanent placement and of the permanency progress review hearing under
section 260C.204. A decision by a relative not to be identified as a potential permanent
placement resource or participate in planning for the child at the beginning of the case shall
not affect whether the relative is considered for placement of the child with that relative
later;

(3) that the relative may participate in the care and planning for the child, including that
the opportunity for such participation may be lost by failing to respond to the notice sent
under this subdivision. "Participate in the care and planning" includes, but is not limited to,
participation in case planning for the parent and child, identifying the strengths and needs
of the parent and child, supervising visits, providing respite and vacation visits for the child,
providing transportation to appointments, suggesting other relatives who might be able to
help support the case plan, and to the extent possible, helping to maintain the child's familiar
and regular activities and contact with friends and relatives;

(4) of the family foster care licensing requirements, including how to complete an
application and how to request a variance from licensing standards that do not present a
safety or health risk to the child in the home under section 245A.04 and supports that are
available for relatives and children who reside in a family foster home; and

(5) of the relatives' right to ask to be notified of any court proceedings regarding the
child, to attend the hearings, and of a relative's right or opportunity to be heard by the court
as required under section 260C.152, subdivision 5.

(c) A responsible social services agency may disclose private data, as defined in sections
13.02 and 626.556, to relatives of the child for the purpose of locating and assessing a
suitable placement and may use any reasonable means of identifying and locating relatives
including the Internet or other electronic means of conducting a search. The agency shall
disclose data that is necessary to facilitate possible placement with relatives and to ensure
that the relative is informed of the needs of the child so the relative can participate in planning
for the child and be supportive of services to the child and family. If the child's parent refuses
to give the responsible social services agency information sufficient to identify the maternal
and paternal relatives of the child, the agency shall ask the juvenile court to order the parent
to provide the necessary information. If a parent makes an explicit request that a specific
relative not be contacted or considered for placement due to safety reasons including past
family or domestic violence, the agency shall bring the parent's request to the attention of
the court to determine whether the parent's request is consistent with the best interests of
the child and the agency shall not contact the specific relative when the juvenile court finds
that contacting the specific relative would endanger the parent, guardian, child, sibling, or
any family member.

(d) At a regularly scheduled hearing not later than three months after the child's placement
in foster care and as required in section 260C.202, the agency shall report to the court:

(1) its efforts to identify maternal and paternal relatives of the child and to engage the
relatives in providing support for the child and family, and document that the relatives have
been provided the notice required under paragraph (a); and

(2) its decision regarding placing the child with a relative as required under section
260C.212, subdivision 2, and to ask relatives to visit or maintain contact with the child in
order to support family connections for the child, when placement with a relative is not
possible or appropriate.

(e) Notwithstanding chapter 13, the agency shall disclose data about particular relatives
identified, searched for, and contacted for the purposes of the court's review of the agency's
due diligence.

(f) When the court is satisfied that the agency has exercised due diligence to identify
relatives and provide the notice required in paragraph (a), the court may find that reasonable
efforts have been made to conduct a relative search to identify and provide notice to adult
relatives as required under section 260.012, paragraph (e), clause (3). If the court is not
satisfied that the agency has exercised due diligence to identify relatives and provide the
notice required in paragraph (a), the court may order the agency to continue its search and
notice efforts and to report back to the court.

(g) When the placing agency determines that permanent placement proceedings are
necessary because there is a likelihood that the child will not return to a parent's care, the
agency must send the notice provided in paragraph (h), may ask the court to modify the
duty of the agency to send the notice required in paragraph (h), or may ask the court to
completely relieve the agency of the requirements of paragraph (h). The relative notification
requirements of paragraph (h) do not apply when the child is placed with an appropriate
relative or a foster home that has committed to adopting the child or taking permanent legal
and physical custody of the child and the agency approves of that foster home for permanent
placement of the child. The actions ordered by the court under this section must be consistent
with the best interests, safety, permanency, and welfare of the child.

(h) Unless required under the Indian Child Welfare Act or relieved of this duty by the
court under paragraph (f), when the agency determines that it is necessary to prepare for
permanent placement determination proceedings, or in anticipation of filing a termination
of parental rights petition, the agency shall send notice to the relatives, any adult with whom
the child is currently residing, any adult with whom the child has resided for one year or
longer in the past, and any adults who have maintained a relationship or exercised visitation
with the child as identified in the agency case plan. The notice must state that a permanent
home is sought for the child and that the individuals receiving the notice may indicate to
the agency their interest in providing a permanent home. The notice must state that within
30 days of receipt of the notice an individual receiving the notice must indicate to the agency
the individual's interest in providing a permanent home for the child or that the individual
may lose the opportunity to be considered for a permanent placement.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 260C.317, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Relative visitation after termination of parental rights. new text end

new text begin A relative, as defined
in section 260C.007, subdivision 27, may continue to maintain a relationship, including
regular contact and visitation, with a child after an order terminating the child's parent's
parental rights, unless continued contact with the relative is not in the child's best interests
or is a threat to the child's safety. Local social services agencies shall make continuous
efforts to locate and engage relatives after a termination of parental rights for the purposes
of visitation and potential permanency placement.
new text end

Sec. 4. new text beginDIRECTION TO COMMISSIONER; FAMILY FIRST PREVENTION
KINSHIP SERVICES.
new text end

new text begin The commissioner of human services shall review opportunities to implement kinship
navigator models that support placement of children with relative foster parents, in
anticipation of reimbursement for eligible services under the Family First Prevention Services
Act. Kinship navigator models would assist relative foster parents with home studies and
licensing requirements and provide ongoing support to the relative caregivers and children
in out-of-home placement with relatives.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 5. new text beginDIRECTION TO COMMISSIONER; RELATIVE SEARCH.
new text end

new text begin The commissioner of human services shall develop and provide guidance to assist local
social services agencies in conducting relative searches under Minnesota Statutes, section
260C.221. The commissioner shall issue a bulletin containing relative search guidance by
January 1, 2020. Guidance from the commissioner shall relate to:
new text end

new text begin (1) easily understandable methods of relative notification;
new text end

new text begin (2) resources for local social services agency child welfare staff to improve engagement
and communication with relatives and kin; and
new text end

new text begin (3) providing information to relatives and kin about all permanency options, sustaining
relationships, visitation options, and supporting permanency.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 6. new text beginAPPROPRIATION; SUPPORT FOR RELATIVE CAREGIVERS.
new text end

new text begin $....... in fiscal year 2020 and $....... in fiscal year 2021 are appropriated from the general
fund to the commissioner of human services to provide grants for relative family foster care
and permanency support. The commissioner shall develop a request for proposals process
to award grants to private agencies with demonstrated expertise in providing ongoing family
supports and to provide services to relative family foster care providers and relatives with
custody of a child after a termination of parental rights. Services eligible for grant funding
include: (1) parenting advice and support; (2) health and safety training; (3) providing family
mental health resources; and (4) other support services relating to the developmental needs
of the child and the relative family. This is a onetime appropriation.
new text end