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SF 3785

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 03/17/2020 11:42am

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; requiring two local agency staff members to review
child maltreatment reports prior to screening in or screening out a report;
establishing requirement for two local agency staff members to review child
maltreatment reports prior to assignment for a family assessment or investigation;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 626.556, subdivision 7; Minnesota
Statutes 2019 Supplement, section 626.556, subdivision 10.

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

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 626.556, subdivision 7, is amended to read:


Subd. 7.

Report; information provided to parent; reporter.

(a) An oral report shall
be made immediately by telephone or otherwise. An oral report made by a person required
under subdivision 3 to report shall be followed within 72 hours, exclusive of weekends and
holidays, by a report in writing to the appropriate police department, the county sheriff, the
agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report, or the local welfare agency.

(b) The local welfare agency shall determine if the report is to be screened in or out as
soon as possible but in no event longer than 24 hours after the report is received. new text beginA
multidisciplinary team that includes at least two local welfare agency staff members shall
review the report and agree whether the report is to be screened in. When the
multidisciplinary team disagrees, a supervisor shall make the final determination regarding
whether the report is to be screened in.
new text endWhen determining whether a report will be screened
in or out, the agency receiving the report must consider, when relevant, all previous history,
including reports that were screened out. The agency may communicate with treating
professionals and individuals specified under subdivision 10, paragraph (i), clause (3), item
(iii).

(c) Any report shall be of sufficient content to identify the child, any person believed to
be responsible for the abuse or neglect of the child if the person is known, the nature and
extent of the abuse or neglect and the name and address of the reporter. The local welfare
agency or agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report shall accept a report
made under subdivision 3 notwithstanding refusal by a reporter to provide the reporter's
name or address as long as the report is otherwise sufficient under this paragraph. Written
reports received by a police department or the county sheriff shall be forwarded immediately
to the local welfare agency or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the
report. The police department or the county sheriff may keep copies of reports received by
them. Copies of written reports received by a local welfare department or the agency
responsible for assessing or investigating the report shall be forwarded immediately to the
local police department or the county sheriff.

(d) When requested, the agency responsible for assessing or investigating a report shall
inform the reporter within ten days after the report was made, either orally or in writing,
whether the report was accepted or not. If the responsible agency determines the report does
not constitute a report under this section, the agency shall advise the reporter the report was
screened out. Any person mandated to report shall receive a summary of the disposition of
any report made by that reporter, including whether the case has been opened for child
protection or other services, or if a referral has been made to a community organization,
unless release would be detrimental to the best interests of the child. Any person who is not
mandated to report shall, upon request to the local welfare agency, receive a concise summary
of the disposition of any report made by that reporter, unless release would be detrimental
to the best interests of the child.

(e) Reports that are screened out must be maintained in accordance with subdivision
11c, paragraph (a).

(f) A local welfare agency or agency responsible for investigating or assessing a report
may use a screened-out report for making an offer of social services to the subjects of the
screened-out report. A local welfare agency or agency responsible for evaluating a report
alleging maltreatment of a child shall consider prior reports, including screened-out reports,
to determine whether an investigation or family assessment must be conducted.

(g) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the commissioner of education must inform the
parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child who is the subject of a report of alleged
maltreatment in a school facility within ten days of receiving the report, either orally or in
writing, whether the commissioner is assessing or investigating the report of alleged
maltreatment.

(h) Regardless of whether a report is made under this subdivision, as soon as practicable
after a school receives information regarding an incident that may constitute maltreatment
of a child in a school facility, the school shall inform the parent, legal guardian, or custodian
of the child that an incident has occurred that may constitute maltreatment of the child,
when the incident occurred, and the nature of the conduct that may constitute maltreatment.

(i) A written copy of a report maintained by personnel of agencies, other than welfare
or law enforcement agencies, which are subject to chapter 13 shall be confidential. An
individual subject of the report may obtain access to the original report as provided by
subdivision 11.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective September 1, 2020.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2019 Supplement, section 626.556, subdivision 10, is amended
to read:


Subd. 10.

Duties of local welfare agency and local law enforcement agency upon
receipt of report; mandatory notification between police or sheriff and agency.

(a) The
police department or the county sheriff shall immediately notify the local welfare agency
or agency responsible for child protection reports under this section orally and in writing
when a report is received. The local welfare agency or agency responsible for child protection
reports shall immediately notify the local police department or the county sheriff orally and
in writing when a report is received. The county sheriff and the head of every local welfare
agency, agency responsible for child protection reports, and police department shall each
designate a person within their agency, department, or office who is responsible for ensuring
that the notification duties of this paragraph are carried out. When the alleged maltreatment
occurred on tribal land, the local welfare agency or agency responsible for child protection
reports and the local police department or the county sheriff shall immediately notify the
tribe's social services agency and tribal law enforcement orally and in writing when a report
is received. When a police department or county sheriff determines that a child has been
the subject of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect by a person licensed by the
Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board or the Board of School Administrators,
the department or sheriff shall, in addition to its other duties under this section, immediately
inform the licensing board.

(b) Upon receipt of a report, the local welfare agency shall determinenew text begin, after review and
agreement by a multidisciplinary team that includes at least two local welfare agency staff
members,
new text end whether to conduct a family assessment or an investigation as appropriate to
prevent or provide a remedy for child maltreatment.new text begin When the multidisciplinary team
disagrees, a supervisor shall make the final determination regarding whether to conduct a
family assessment or an investigation.
new text end The local welfare agency:

(1) shall conduct an investigation on reports involving sexual abuse or substantial child
endangerment;

(2) shall begin an immediate investigation if, at any time when it is using a family
assessment response, it determines that there is reason to believe that sexual abuse or
substantial child endangerment or a serious threat to the child's safety exists;

(3) may conduct a family assessment for reports that do not allege sexual abuse or
substantial child endangerment. In determining that a family assessment is appropriate, the
local welfare agency may consider issues of child safety, parental cooperation, and the need
for an immediate response;

(4) may conduct a family assessment on a report that was initially screened and assigned
for an investigation. In determining that a complete investigation is not required, the local
welfare agency must document the reason for terminating the investigation and notify the
local law enforcement agency if the local law enforcement agency is conducting a joint
investigation; and

(5) shall provide immediate notice, according to section 260.761, subdivision 2, to an
Indian child's tribe when the agency has reason to believe the family assessment or
investigation may involve an Indian child. For purposes of this clause, "immediate notice"
means notice provided within 24 hours.

If the report alleges neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, or
individual functioning within the family unit as a person responsible for the child's care, or
sexual abuse by a person with a significant relationship to the child when that person resides
in the child's household or by a sibling, the local welfare agency shall immediately conduct
a family assessment or investigation as identified in clauses (1) to (4). In conducting a family
assessment or investigation, the local welfare agency shall gather information on the existence
of substance abuse and domestic violence and offer services for purposes of preventing
future child maltreatment, safeguarding and enhancing the welfare of the abused or neglected
minor, and supporting and preserving family life whenever possible. If the report alleges a
violation of a criminal statute involving sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect or
endangerment, under section 609.378, the local law enforcement agency and local welfare
agency shall coordinate the planning and execution of their respective investigation and
assessment efforts to avoid a duplication of fact-finding efforts and multiple interviews.
Each agency shall prepare a separate report of the results of its investigation or assessment.
In cases of alleged child maltreatment resulting in death, the local agency may rely on the
fact-finding efforts of a law enforcement investigation to make a determination of whether
or not maltreatment occurred. When necessary the local welfare agency shall seek authority
to remove the child from the custody of a parent, guardian, or adult with whom the child is
living. In performing any of these duties, the local welfare agency shall maintain appropriate
records.

If the family assessment or investigation indicates there is a potential for abuse of alcohol
or other drugs by the parent, guardian, or person responsible for the child's care, the local
welfare agency shall conduct a chemical use assessment pursuant to Minnesota Rules, part
9530.6615.

(c) When a local agency receives a report or otherwise has information indicating that
a child who is a client, as defined in section 245.91, has been the subject of physical abuse,
sexual abuse, or neglect at an agency, facility, or program as defined in section 245.91, it
shall, in addition to its other duties under this section, immediately inform the ombudsman
established under sections 245.91 to 245.97. The commissioner of education shall inform
the ombudsman established under sections 245.91 to 245.97 of reports regarding a child
defined as a client in section 245.91 that maltreatment occurred at a school as defined in
section 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, and 13, and chapter 124E.

(d) Authority of the local welfare agency responsible for assessing or investigating the
child abuse or neglect report, the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report,
and of the local law enforcement agency for investigating the alleged abuse or neglect
includes, but is not limited to, authority to interview, without parental consent, the alleged
victim and any other minors who currently reside with or who have resided with the alleged
offender. The interview may take place at school or at any facility or other place where the
alleged victim or other minors might be found or the child may be transported to, and the
interview conducted at, a place appropriate for the interview of a child designated by the
local welfare agency or law enforcement agency. The interview may take place outside the
presence of the alleged offender or parent, legal custodian, guardian, or school official. For
family assessments, it is the preferred practice to request a parent or guardian's permission
to interview the child prior to conducting the child interview, unless doing so would
compromise the safety assessment. Except as provided in this paragraph, the parent, legal
custodian, or guardian shall be notified by the responsible local welfare or law enforcement
agency no later than the conclusion of the investigation or assessment that this interview
has occurred. Notwithstanding rule 32 of the Minnesota Rules of Procedure for Juvenile
Courts, the juvenile court may, after hearing on an ex parte motion by the local welfare
agency, order that, where reasonable cause exists, the agency withhold notification of this
interview from the parent, legal custodian, or guardian. If the interview took place or is to
take place on school property, the order shall specify that school officials may not disclose
to the parent, legal custodian, or guardian the contents of the notification of intent to interview
the child on school property, as provided under this paragraph, and any other related
information regarding the interview that may be a part of the child's school record. A copy
of the order shall be sent by the local welfare or law enforcement agency to the appropriate
school official.

(e) When the local welfare, local law enforcement agency, or the agency responsible
for assessing or investigating a report of maltreatment determines that an interview should
take place on school property, written notification of intent to interview the child on school
property must be received by school officials prior to the interview. The notification shall
include the name of the child to be interviewed, the purpose of the interview, and a reference
to the statutory authority to conduct an interview on school property. For interviews
conducted by the local welfare agency, the notification shall be signed by the chair of the
local social services agency or the chair's designee. The notification shall be private data
on individuals subject to the provisions of this paragraph. School officials may not disclose
to the parent, legal custodian, or guardian the contents of the notification or any other related
information regarding the interview until notified in writing by the local welfare or law
enforcement agency that the investigation or assessment has been concluded, unless a school
employee or agent is alleged to have maltreated the child. Until that time, the local welfare
or law enforcement agency or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating a report
of maltreatment shall be solely responsible for any disclosures regarding the nature of the
assessment or investigation.

Except where the alleged offender is believed to be a school official or employee, the
time and place, and manner of the interview on school premises shall be within the discretion
of school officials, but the local welfare or law enforcement agency shall have the exclusive
authority to determine who may attend the interview. The conditions as to time, place, and
manner of the interview set by the school officials shall be reasonable and the interview
shall be conducted not more than 24 hours after the receipt of the notification unless another
time is considered necessary by agreement between the school officials and the local welfare
or law enforcement agency. Where the school fails to comply with the provisions of this
paragraph, the juvenile court may order the school to comply. Every effort must be made
to reduce the disruption of the educational program of the child, other students, or school
staff when an interview is conducted on school premises.

(f) Where the alleged offender or a person responsible for the care of the alleged victim
or other minor prevents access to the victim or other minor by the local welfare agency, the
juvenile court may order the parents, legal custodian, or guardian to produce the alleged
victim or other minor for questioning by the local welfare agency or the local law
enforcement agency outside the presence of the alleged offender or any person responsible
for the child's care at reasonable places and times as specified by court order.

(g) Before making an order under paragraph (f), the court shall issue an order to show
cause, either upon its own motion or upon a verified petition, specifying the basis for the
requested interviews and fixing the time and place of the hearing. The order to show cause
shall be served personally and shall be heard in the same manner as provided in other cases
in the juvenile court. The court shall consider the need for appointment of a guardian ad
litem to protect the best interests of the child. If appointed, the guardian ad litem shall be
present at the hearing on the order to show cause.

(h) The commissioner of human services, the ombudsman for mental health and
developmental disabilities, the local welfare agencies responsible for investigating reports,
the commissioner of education, and the local law enforcement agencies have the right to
enter facilities as defined in subdivision 2 and to inspect and copy the facility's records,
including medical records, as part of the investigation. Notwithstanding the provisions of
chapter 13, they also have the right to inform the facility under investigation that they are
conducting an investigation, to disclose to the facility the names of the individuals under
investigation for abusing or neglecting a child, and to provide the facility with a copy of
the report and the investigative findings.

(i) The local welfare agency responsible for conducting a family assessment or
investigation shall collect available and relevant information to determine child safety, risk
of subsequent child maltreatment, and family strengths and needs and share not public
information with an Indian's tribal social services agency without violating any law of the
state that may otherwise impose duties of confidentiality on the local welfare agency in
order to implement the tribal state agreement. The local welfare agency or the agency
responsible for investigating the report shall collect available and relevant information to
ascertain whether maltreatment occurred and whether protective services are needed.
Information collected includes, when relevant, information with regard to the person reporting
the alleged maltreatment, including the nature of the reporter's relationship to the child and
to the alleged offender, and the basis of the reporter's knowledge for the report; the child
allegedly being maltreated; the alleged offender; the child's caretaker; and other collateral
sources having relevant information related to the alleged maltreatment. The local welfare
agency or the agency responsible for investigating the report may make a determination of
no maltreatment early in an investigation, and close the case and retain immunity, if the
collected information shows no basis for a full investigation.

Information relevant to the assessment or investigation must be asked for, and may
include:

(1) the child's sex and age; prior reports of maltreatment, including any maltreatment
reports that were screened out and not accepted for assessment or investigation; information
relating to developmental functioning; credibility of the child's statement; and whether the
information provided under this clause is consistent with other information collected during
the course of the assessment or investigation;

(2) the alleged offender's age, a record check for prior reports of maltreatment, and
criminal charges and convictions. The local welfare agency or the agency responsible for
assessing or investigating the report must provide the alleged offender with an opportunity
to make a statement. The alleged offender may submit supporting documentation relevant
to the assessment or investigation;

(3) collateral source information regarding the alleged maltreatment and care of the
child. Collateral information includes, when relevant: (i) a medical examination of the child;
(ii) prior medical records relating to the alleged maltreatment or the care of the child
maintained by any facility, clinic, or health care professional and an interview with the
treating professionals; and (iii) interviews with the child's caretakers, including the child's
parent, guardian, foster parent, child care provider, teachers, counselors, family members,
relatives, and other persons who may have knowledge regarding the alleged maltreatment
and the care of the child; and

(4) information on the existence of domestic abuse and violence in the home of the child,
and substance abuse.

Nothing in this paragraph precludes the local welfare agency, the local law enforcement
agency, or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report from collecting
other relevant information necessary to conduct the assessment or investigation.
Notwithstanding sections 13.384 or 144.291 to 144.298, the local welfare agency has access
to medical data and records for purposes of clause (3). Notwithstanding the data's
classification in the possession of any other agency, data acquired by the local welfare
agency or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report during the course
of the assessment or investigation are private data on individuals and must be maintained
in accordance with subdivision 11. Data of the commissioner of education collected or
maintained during and for the purpose of an investigation of alleged maltreatment in a school
are governed by this section, notwithstanding the data's classification as educational,
licensing, or personnel data under chapter 13.

In conducting an assessment or investigation involving a school facility as defined in
subdivision 2, paragraph (c), the commissioner of education shall collect investigative
reports and data that are relevant to a report of maltreatment and are from local law
enforcement and the school facility.

(j) Upon receipt of a report, the local welfare agency shall conduct a face-to-face contact
with the child reported to be maltreated and with the child's primary caregiver sufficient to
complete a safety assessment and ensure the immediate safety of the child. The face-to-face
contact with the child and primary caregiver shall occur immediately if sexual abuse or
substantial child endangerment is alleged and within five calendar days for all other reports.
If the alleged offender was not already interviewed as the primary caregiver, the local welfare
agency shall also conduct a face-to-face interview with the alleged offender in the early
stages of the assessment or investigation. At the initial contact, the local child welfare agency
or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report must inform the alleged
offender of the complaints or allegations made against the individual in a manner consistent
with laws protecting the rights of the person who made the report. The interview with the
alleged offender may be postponed if it would jeopardize an active law enforcement
investigation.

(k) When conducting an investigation, the local welfare agency shall use a question and
answer interviewing format with questioning as nondirective as possible to elicit spontaneous
responses. For investigations only, the following interviewing methods and procedures must
be used whenever possible when collecting information:

(1) audio recordings of all interviews with witnesses and collateral sources; and

(2) in cases of alleged sexual abuse, audio-video recordings of each interview with the
alleged victim and child witnesses.

(l) In conducting an assessment or investigation involving a school facility as defined
in subdivision 2, paragraph (c), the commissioner of education shall collect available and
relevant information and use the procedures in paragraphs (j) and (k), and subdivision 3d,
except that the requirement for face-to-face observation of the child and face-to-face interview
of the alleged offender is to occur in the initial stages of the assessment or investigation
provided that the commissioner may also base the assessment or investigation on investigative
reports and data received from the school facility and local law enforcement, to the extent
those investigations satisfy the requirements of paragraphs (j) and (k), and subdivision 3d.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective September 1, 2020.
new text end