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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 3779

as introduced - 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018) Posted on 03/23/2018 09:27am

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

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to human services; establishing the Minnesota African American Family
Preservation Act; creating an African American Child Welfare Oversight Council;
appropriating money;proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter
260.

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

Section 1.

new text begin [260.61] CITATIONS.
new text end

new text begin Sections 260.61 to 260.68 may be cited as the "Minnesota African American Family
Preservation Act."
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [260.62] PURPOSES.
new text end

new text begin The purposes of the Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act are to (1)
protect the best interests of African American children, and (2) promote the stability and
security of African American families by establishing minimum standards to prevent arbitrary
and unnecessary removal of African American children from their families.
new text end

Sec. 3.

new text begin [260.63] DEFINITIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Scope. new text end

new text begin The definitions in this section apply to sections 260.61 to 260.68.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Active efforts. new text end

new text begin "Active efforts" means a rigorous and concerted level of effort
that is ongoing throughout the involvement of the local social services agency, to
continuously use culturally appropriate services to preserve the African American child's
family and prevent out-of-home placement of an African American child and, if placement
occurs, to return the African American child to the child's family at the earliest possible
time that return is safe. Active efforts sets a higher standard than reasonable efforts to
preserve the family, prevent breakup of the family, and reunify the family. Active efforts
includes reasonable efforts as required by Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, United
States Code, title 42, sections 670 to 679c.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin African American child. new text end

new text begin "African American child" is a child of African descent
or heritage, including a child of two or more races who has at least one parent of African
descent or heritage.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Best interests of the African American child. new text end

new text begin "Best interests of the African
American child" means compliance with the Minnesota African American Family
Preservation Act and other applicable state and federal child protection laws, to protect an
African American child from harm, and to preserve and maintain an African American
child's family. The best interests of an African American child support the child's sense of
belonging to family, extended family, and culture.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Child placement proceeding. new text end

new text begin (a) "Child placement proceeding" includes a
judicial proceeding which could have a result described in paragraphs (b) to (e).
new text end

new text begin (b) "Adoptive placement" means the permanent placement of an African American child
for adoption, including an action resulting in a final decree of adoption.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Involuntary foster care placement" means an action removing an African American
child from the child's parents or persons who have legal custody for temporary placement
in a foster home, shelter care, or the home of a guardian, where the parent or person who
has legal custody cannot have the child returned upon demand, but parental rights have not
been terminated.
new text end

new text begin (d) "Preadoptive placement" means the temporary placement of an African American
child in a foster home or institution after the termination of parental rights, before or instead
of adoptive placement.
new text end

new text begin (e) "Termination of parental rights" means an action resulting in the termination of the
parent-child relationship under section 260C.301.
new text end

new text begin (f) The terms in this subdivision include a placement based upon a juvenile status offense,
but do not include a placement based upon (1) an act which if committed by an adult would
be deemed a crime, or (2) an award of custody in a divorce proceeding to one of the parents.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Commissioner. new text end

new text begin "Commissioner" means the commissioner of human services.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Family-based services. new text end

new text begin "Family-based services" means intensive
family-centered services to a family primarily in the family's own home and for a limited
time.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Local social services agency. new text end

new text begin "Local social services agency" means the local
agency under the authority of the county welfare or human services board or county board
of commissioners which is responsible for human services and child protection.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 9. new text end

new text begin Parent. new text end

new text begin "Parent" means the biological parent of an African American child or
any person who has lawfully adopted an African American child. Parent does not include
an unmarried father whose paternity has not been acknowledged or established. Paternity
has been acknowledged when an unmarried father takes any action to hold himself out as
the biological father of a child.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 10. new text end

new text begin Relative. new text end

new text begin "Relative" means a person related to the child by blood, marriage,
or adoption, or an individual who is an important friend with whom the child has resided
or had significant contact.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 11. new text end

new text begin Sexual abuse. new text end

new text begin "Sexual abuse" has the meaning given in section 626.556,
subdivision 2, paragraph (n).
new text end

new text begin Subd. 12. new text end

new text begin Substantial child endangerment. new text end

new text begin "Substantial child endangerment" has the
meaning given in section 626.556, subdivision 2, paragraph (o).
new text end

Sec. 4.

new text begin [260.64] DUTY TO PREVENT OUT-OF-HOME PLACEMENT AND
PROMOTE FAMILY REUNIFICATION.
new text end

new text begin (a) A local social services agency shall make active efforts to prevent out-of-home
placement of an African American child, eliminate the need for a child's removal from the
home, and reunify a child and family as soon as practicable.
new text end

new text begin (b) A court shall not order an out-of-home or permanency placement for an African
American child alleged to be in need of protective services unless the court finds that the
local social services agency made active efforts to preserve the African American child's
family. In determining whether the local social services agency made active efforts for
purposes of out-of-home placement and permanency, the court shall make findings regarding
whether the local social services agency made appropriate and meaningful family-based
services available to the family based upon that family's specific needs. If a court determines
that the local social services agency did not make active efforts as required under this section,
the court shall order the local social services agency to immediately provide appropriate
and meaningful family-based services.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [260.65] TEMPORARY OUT-OF-HOME PLACEMENT.
new text end

new text begin (a) Prior to an African American child's placement in foster care, the responsible local
social services agency must make active efforts to identify and locate the child's relatives
and the noncustodial or nonadjudicated parent and notify them of the need for a foster home
for the child. The agency must also inform the relatives and noncustodial or nonadjudicated
parent of the option to become a placement resource for the child and the possibility that
the child will need a permanent placement. If prior notice is not practicable, the agency
must notify identified relatives and the noncustodial or nonadjudicated parent of the need
for a foster home for the child within 48 hours of a child's removal from the custodial parent's
care. The local social services agency must keep detailed records of its efforts to notify
parents and relatives under this section.
new text end

new text begin (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 260C.219, if a noncustodial or
nonadjudicated parent is willing to and capable of providing for the day-to-day care of the
African American child temporarily or permanently, the local social services agency shall
temporarily place the child with the noncustodial or nonadjudicated parent. Prior to initial
placement with a noncustodial or nonadjudicated parent, the local social services agency
must conduct an immediate assessment of the parent's ability to care for the child.
new text end

new text begin (c) If a noncustodial or nonadjudicated parent is unwilling to or incapable of caring for
the child, and the local social services agency has determined that continued placement of
the child into the home of either parent would endanger the child's health, safety, or welfare,
the local social services agency shall comply with the custodial parent or legal custodian's
request to temporarily place the child with a selected relative. Prior to initial placement with
the relative, the local social services agency must conduct an assessment of the relative's
ability to care for the child.
new text end

new text begin (d) If, after conducting an assessment, the local social services agency determines that
the child cannot be placed with the relative or the noncustodial or nonadjudicated parent,
the local social services agency must provide specific findings of fact, in writing, explaining
why the placement is not possible.
new text end

Sec. 6.

new text begin [260.66] TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS; CHILD PLACEMENT
PROCEEDINGS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Termination of parental rights not permitted. new text end

new text begin (a) A court shall not
terminate the parental rights of an African American parent based solely on that parent's
failure to complete case plan requirements.
new text end

new text begin (b) A court shall not terminate the parental rights of an African American parent in child
placement proceedings that do not involve alleged: sexual abuse; egregious harm as defined
in section 260C.007, subdivision 14; murder in the first, second, or third degree under section
609.185, 609.19, or 609.195; manslaughter in the first or second degree under section 609.20
or 609.205; assault in the first, second, or third degree under section 609.221, 609.222, or
609.223; solicitation, inducement, and promotion of prostitution under section 609.322;
criminal sexual conduct under sections 609.342 to 609.3451; solicitation of children to
engage in sexual conduct under section 609.352; malicious punishment or neglect or
endangerment of a child under section 609.377 or 609.378; use of a minor in sexual
performance under section 617.246; or failing to protect a child from an overt act or condition
that constitutes egregious harm. The court shall, if possible, transfer permanent legal and
physical custody to a fit and willing relative or third party, if the court determines that there
is continued need for out-of-home placement of the child.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Appeals. new text end

new text begin Notwithstanding the provisions of Minnesota Rules of Juvenile
Protection Procedure Rule 47.02, subdivision 2, an African American parent whose parental
rights have been terminated may appeal the decision within 120 days of the service of notice
by the court administrator of the filing of the court's order.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Family reunification. new text end

new text begin (a) The provisions of section 260C.329, subdivisions 3,
5, and 8, shall not apply to African American families.
new text end

new text begin (b) An African American parent, an African American child who is ten years of age or
older, a local social services agency, or a guardian ad litem may file a petition for the
reestablishment of the legal parent and child relationship. A petition for reestablishment of
the legal parent and child relationship may be filed regardless of the age of the child or how
long the child has been in foster care. An African American parent filing a petition or who
is the subject of a petition under this subdivision has the right to be represented by counsel.
Notwithstanding section 260C.329, subdivision 10, the court shall appoint a qualified
attorney to represent the African American parent if the parent meets the eligibility
requirements under section 611.17.
new text end

new text begin (c) The court may grant the petition ordering the reestablishment of the legal parent and
child relationship only if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that:
new text end

new text begin (1) reestablishment of the legal parent and child relationship is in the best interests of
the African American child;
new text end

new text begin (2) the child has not been adopted;
new text end

new text begin (3) the parent has corrected the conditions that led to an order terminating parental rights;
and
new text end

new text begin (4) the parent is willing and has the capability to provide day-to-day care and maintain
the health, safety, and welfare of the child.
new text end

Sec. 7.

new text begin [260.67] LOCAL WELFARE AGENCY CONDUCT.
new text end

new text begin (a) A local social services agency employee who has duties related to child protection
shall not knowingly:
new text end

new text begin (1) make untrue statements about any case involving a child alleged to be in need of
protection or services;
new text end

new text begin (2) withhold any information that may be material to a case involving a child alleged to
be in need of protection or services; or
new text end

new text begin (3) fabricate or falsify any documentation or evidence relating to a case involving a child
alleged to be in need of protection or services.
new text end

new text begin (b) A local social services agency employee who has duties related to child protection
who commits any of the acts in paragraph (a) shall be guilty of a felony and may be sentenced
to imprisonment for not more than two years or to payment of a fine of not more than $4,000,
or both.
new text end

new text begin (c) When a local social services agency screens in a report alleging maltreatment of an
African American child or places a child in an involuntary out-of-home placement, the
agency shall, within seven days after screening in the report or initiating the out-of-home
placement, notify the African American Child Well-Being Department of the report or
placement and of the steps taken to investigate and remedy the conditions that led to the
report or placement. At all stages of a case involving an African American child, the local
social services agency shall, upon request, fully cooperate with the African American Child
Well-Being Department and the African American Child Welfare Oversight Council, and
provide access to all relevant case files.
new text end

new text begin (d) In any involuntary adoptive or preadoptive placement proceeding involving an
African American child, the local social services agency shall notify the African American
Child Well-Being Department by registered mail with return receipt requested of the pending
proceeding and of the right of intervention. No preadoptive or adoptive placement proceeding
may be held until at least 30 days after receipt of the notice by the African American Child
Well-Being Department. Upon request, the African American Child Well-Being Department
must be granted up to 30 additional days to prepare for the proceeding. The agency or
notifying party shall include in the notice the identity of the birth parents and child. In cases
where an agency or party to an adoptive placement knows or has reason to believe that a
child is or may be an African American child, proof of service upon the African American
Child Well-Being Department must be filed with the adoption petition.
new text end

new text begin (e) Any local social services agency that is found to be out of compliance with the
provisions of this chapter will be subject to a fine, to be determined by the commissioner.
new text end

Sec. 8.

new text begin [260.68] AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILD WELFARE OVERSIGHT
COUNCIL.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Creation. new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner shall appoint an African American Child
Welfare Oversight Council to help formulate policies and procedures relating to African
American child welfare services, to ensure that African American families are provided
with all possible services and opportunities to care for their children in their homes.
new text end

new text begin (b) The terms, compensation, and removal of African American Child Welfare Oversight
Council members shall be as provided in section 15.059, except that members shall be
compensated at the rate of $100 a day spent on council activities. The advisory council does
not expire.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Membership. new text end

new text begin The council shall consist of 15 African American members
appointed by the commissioner and must include child welfare policy and social work
professionals and paraprofessionals, community members, community leaders, and African
American parents representing all regions of the state.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Meeting. new text end

new text begin The council shall meet at least eight times per year, but may meet
more frequently at the call of the chair, a majority of the council members, or the
commissioner.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Duties. new text end

new text begin The African American Child Welfare Oversight Council shall:
new text end

new text begin (1) monitor the number of African American children in out-of-home placement and
collect and distribute data on African American children in out-of-home placement;
new text end

new text begin (2) monitor and review case plans and services offered by local social services agencies
and interview local social services agency child welfare staff to ensure that case plans and
services address the unique needs of each African American family and comply with the
provisions of the Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act;
new text end

new text begin (3) partner with the African American Child Well-Being Department to screen shelter
and foster care settings to ensure that African American children are receiving appropriate
and adequate care;
new text end

new text begin (4) develop and promote public policies and child protection laws that specifically
consider the needs of African American children and families;
new text end

new text begin (5) coordinate stakeholder and agency efforts to improve child welfare outcomes for
African American children and families;
new text end

new text begin (6) initiate a public awareness campaign on the issue of racial disparities in out-of-home
placement of children;
new text end

new text begin (7) partner with the African American Child Well-Being Department to coordinate
services and create partnerships to provide housing assistance, employment assistance, and
education support and training for African American children and families; and
new text end

new text begin (8) partner with the commissioner and local welfare agencies to ensure that the number
of African American employees is proportionate to the number of African American families
served in each county.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Data considerations for case review. new text end

new text begin (a) Members of the African American
Child Welfare Oversight Council have access to the following data for specific case review
under subdivision 4:
new text end

new text begin (1) police investigative data;
new text end

new text begin (2) autopsy records and coroner or medical examiner investigative data;
new text end

new text begin (3) hospital, public health, or other medical records of the African American child;
new text end

new text begin (4) hospital and other medical records of the African American child's parent that relate
to prenatal care;
new text end

new text begin (5) records created by social service agencies that provided services to the African
American child or family; and
new text end

new text begin (6) personnel data related to an employee's performance in discharging child protection
responsibilities.
new text end

new text begin A state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision shall provide the data upon request
of the commissioner. Not public data may be shared with members of the council in
connection with an individual case.
new text end

new text begin (b) Notwithstanding the data's classification in the possession of any other agency, data
acquired by the African American Child Welfare Oversight Council in the exercise of its
duties are protected nonpublic or confidential data as defined in section 13.02, but may be
disclosed as necessary to carry out the purposes of the council. The data are not subject to
subpoena or discovery. The commissioner may disclose conclusions of the council, but may
not disclose data on individuals that were classified as confidential or private data on
individuals in the possession of the state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision
from which the data were received, except that the commissioner may disclose local social
service agency data as provided in section 626.556, subdivision 11d, on individual cases
involving a fatality or near fatality of a person served by the local social service agency
prior to the date of death.
new text end

new text begin (c) A person attending an African American Child Welfare Oversight Council meeting
may not disclose what transpired at the meeting, except to carry out the purposes of the
council. The proceedings and records of the council are protected nonpublic data as defined
in section 13.02, subdivision 13, and are not subject to discovery or introduction into evidence
in a civil or criminal action against a professional, the state, or county agency arising out
of the matters the panel is reviewing. Information, documents, and records otherwise available
from other sources are not immune from discovery or use in a civil or criminal action solely
because they were presented during proceedings of the council. A person who presented
information before the council or who is a member of the council is not prevented from
testifying about matters within the person's knowledge. However, in a civil or criminal
proceeding, a person must not be questioned about the person's presentation of information
to the council or opinions formed by the person as a result of the council meetings.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Annual report. new text end

new text begin By January 1 of each year, beginning January 1, 2019, the
advisory council shall report to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative
committees with jurisdiction over child protection on the council's activities under subdivision
4 and other issues on which the council may choose to report.
new text end

Sec. 9.

new text begin [260.69] AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILD WELL-BEING DEPARTMENT.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Creation; administration. new text end

new text begin (a) The African American Child Well-Being
Department is created in the Department of Human Services. The office shall be headed by
a director appointed by the commissioner of human services.
new text end

new text begin (b) The commissioner of human services shall provide the African American Child
Well-Being Department with office space, administrative services, and secretarial and
clerical assistance.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Staff. new text end

new text begin (a) The director may appoint a deputy director, one personal secretary,
and two additional full-time employees to discharge the responsibilities of the office. Any
deputy director or personal secretary and all other employees of the office shall be of African
American heritage and shall be classified full-time employees of the commissioner of human
services.
new text end

new text begin (b) The director shall attempt to appoint staff persons with expertise in areas such as
law, health care, social work, psychology and mental health, sociology, child care, and
education as they apply to child protection and disparities between social, racial, and cultural
groups.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Duties. new text end

new text begin The African American Child Well-Being Department will receive
notification of cases involving African American children and shall perform the following
functions:
new text end

new text begin (1) monitor the number of African Americans in out-of-home placement statewide;
new text end

new text begin (2) directly oversee, review, and consult on case plans and services offered by local
social services agencies to ensure that case plans and services address the unique needs of
each African American family and comply with the Minnesota African American Family
Preservation Act;
new text end

new text begin (3) intervene in an involuntary adoptive or preadoptive placement proceeding involving
an African American child;
new text end

new text begin (4) screen shelter and foster care settings to ensure that African American children are
receiving appropriate and adequate care; and
new text end

new text begin (5) coordinate services and create partnerships to provide housing assistance, employment
assistance, and education support and training for African American children and families.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Reports. new text end

new text begin (a) The African American Child Well-Being Department shall provide
a quarterly report outlining its activities to the African American Child Welfare Oversight
Council.
new text end

new text begin (b) The African American Child Well-Being Department, in partnership with the
commissioner, shall publish an annual census of all African American children residing in
residential facilities statewide. The census shall include data on the types of facilities, age
and sex of the children, how long the children have been in out-of-home placements, and
other relevant demographic information.
new text end

Sec. 10.

new text begin [260.695] AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILD WELFARE GRANTS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Primary support grants. new text end

new text begin The commissioner shall establish direct grants
to African American-led organizations, service providers, and programs that serve African
American children and their families, to provide primary support for African American
child welfare programs to implement the African American Family Preservation Act.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Eligible services. new text end

new text begin (a) Services eligible for grant funds include, but are not
limited to:
new text end

new text begin (1) placement prevention and reunification services;
new text end

new text begin (2) family-based services and reunification therapy;
new text end

new text begin (3) culturally specific individual and family counseling;
new text end

new text begin (4) court advocacy;
new text end

new text begin (5) training and consultation to county and private social services agencies regarding
the Minnesota African American Family Preservation Act; and
new text end

new text begin (6) other activities and services approved by the commissioner that further the goals of
the African American Family Preservation Act, including but not limited to recruitment of
African American staff for local social services agencies and licensed child placing agencies.
new text end

new text begin (b) The commissioner may specify the priority of an activity and service based on its
success in furthering these goals. The commissioner shall give preference to programs that
use African American staff, contract with African American-led organizations, or whose
application is a joint effort between the African American community and non-African
American community to achieve the goals of the Minnesota African American Family
Preservation Act. Programs must have input and support from the African American
community.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Ineligible services. new text end

new text begin Grant funding may not be used for the following purposes:
new text end

new text begin (1) child day care necessary solely because of employment or training for employment
of a parent or other relative with whom the child is living;
new text end

new text begin (2) foster care maintenance or difficulty of care payments;
new text end

new text begin (3) residential facility payments;
new text end

new text begin (4) adoption assistance payments;
new text end

new text begin (5) public assistance payments for Minnesota family investment program assistance,
supplemental aid, medical assistance, general assistance, general assistance medical care,
or community health services; or
new text end

new text begin (6) administrative costs for income maintenance staff.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Requests for proposals. new text end

new text begin The commissioner shall request proposals for grants
under subdivisions 1, 2, and 3, and specify the information and criteria required.
new text end

Sec. 11. new text beginAPPROPRIATION.
new text end

new text begin $....... in fiscal year 2019 is appropriated from the general fund to the commissioner of
human services for the administration of the African American Family Preservation Act
under Minnesota Statutes, sections 260.61 to 260.695. This is an ongoing appropriation and
shall be added to the base.
new text end