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SF 3171

1st Engrossment - 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018) Posted on 07/13/2018 02:17pm

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



Version List Authors and Status

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

A bill for an act
relating to human services; establishing a foster care sibling bill of rights;proposing
coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 260C.


Section 1.


Subdivision 1.

Statement of rights.

(a) A child placed in foster care who has a sibling
has the right to:

(1) be placed in foster care homes with their siblings, when possible and when it is in
the best interest of each sibling, in order to sustain family relationships;

(2) be placed in close geographical distance to their siblings, if placement together is
not possible, to facilitate frequent and meaningful contact;

(3) have frequent contact with their siblings in foster care and, whenever possible, with
their siblings who are not in foster care, unless the responsible social services agency has
documented that contact is not in the best interest of any sibling. Contact includes, but is
not limited to, telephone calls, text messaging, social media and other Internet use, and
video calls;

(4) annually receive a telephone number, address, and e-mail address for all siblings in
foster care, and receive updated photographs of siblings regularly, by regular mail or e-mail;

(5) participate in regular face-to-face visits with their siblings in foster care and, whenever
possible, with their siblings who are not in foster care. Participation in these visits shall not
be withheld or restricted as a consequence for behavior, and shall only be restricted if the
responsible social services agency documents that the visits are contrary to the safety or
well-being of any sibling. Social workers, parents, foster care providers, and older children
must cooperate to ensure regular visits and must coordinate dates, times, transportation, and
other accommodations as necessary. The timing and regularity of visits shall be outlined in
each sibling's service plan, based on the individual circumstances and needs of each child.
A social worker need not give explicit permission for each visit or possible overnight visit,
but foster care providers shall communicate with social workers about these visits;

(6) be actively involved in each other's lives and share celebrations, if they choose to
do so, including but not limited to birthdays, holidays, graduations, school and extracurricular
activities, cultural customs in the siblings' native language, and other milestones;

(7) have information about their contact and visits with their siblings reviewed in each
hearing before a judge;

(8) be promptly informed about changes in sibling placements or circumstances, including
but not limited to new placements, discharge from placements, significant life events, and
discharge from foster care;

(9) be included in permanency planning decisions for siblings, if appropriate; and

(10) be informed of the expectations for and possibility of continued contact with a
sibling after an adoption or transfer of permanent physical and legal custody to a relative.

(b) Adult siblings of children in foster care shall have the right to be considered as foster
care providers, adoptive parents, and relative custodians for their siblings, if they choose
to do so.

Subd. 2.


The rights under this section are established for the benefit of
siblings in foster care. This statement of rights does not replace or diminish other rights,
liberties, and responsibilities that may exist relative to children in foster care, adult siblings
of children in foster care, foster care providers, parents, relatives, or responsible social
services agencies.

Subd. 3.


Child welfare agency staff shall provide a copy of these rights to
a child who has a sibling at the time the child enters foster care, to any adult siblings of a
child entering foster care, if known, and to the foster care provider, in a format specified
by the commissioner of human services. The copy shall contain the address and telephone
number of the Office of Ombudsman for Families and a brief statement describing how to
file a complaint with the office.


This section is effective for children entering foster care on or
after August 1, 2018. Subdivision 3 is effective August 1, 2018, and applies to all children
in foster care on that date, regardless of when the child entered foster care.

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