language to be deleted (2) new language
Laws of Minnesota 1984 CHAPTER 577-H.F.No. 1806 An act relating to public welfare; amending the reporting of maltreatment of minors act; clarifying the roles of law enforcement and local welfare agencies; clarifying language; amending Minnesota Statutes 1982, section 626.556, subdivisions 3 and 11; amending Minnesota Statutes 1983 Supplement, section 626.556, subdivisions 1, 2, 4, and 10. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 1982, section 626.556, subdivision 11, is amended to read: Subd. 11. [RECORDS.] All records maintained by a local welfare agency under this section, including any written reports filed under subdivision 7, shall be private data on individuals, except insofar as copies of reports are required by subdivision 7 to be sent to the local police department or the county sheriff.
Report records maintained by any police department or the county sheriff shall be private data on individuals except the reports shall be made available to the investigating, petitioning, or prosecuting authority.The welfare board shall make available to the investigating, petitioning, or prosecuting authority any records which contain information relating to a specific incident of neglect or abuse which is under investigation, petition, or prosecution and information relating to any prior incidents of neglect or abuse involving any of the same persons. The records shall be collected and maintained in accordance with the provisions of chapter 13. An individual subject of a record shall have access to the record in accordance with those sections, except that the name of the reporter shall be confidential while the report is under assessment or investigation. After the assessment or investigation is completed, the name of the reporter shall be confidential but shall be accessible to the individual subject of the record upon court order. Records maintained by local welfare agencies, the police department or county sheriff under this section shall be destroyed as described in clauses (a) to (c): (a) If upon assessment or investigation a report is found to be unsubstantiated, notice of intent to destroy records of the report shall be mailed to the individual subject of the report. At the subject's request the records shall be maintained as private data. If no request from the subject is received within 30 days of mailing the notice of intent to destroy, the records shall be destroyed. (b) All records relating to reports which, upon assessment or investigation, are found to be substantiated shall be destroyed seven years after the date of the final entry in the case record. (c) All records of reports which, upon initial assessment or investigation, cannot be substantiated or disproved to the satisfaction of the local welfare agency, local police department or county sheriff may be kept for a period of one year. If the local welfare agency, local police department or county sheriff is unable to substantiate the report within that period, each agency unable to substantiate the report shall destroy its records relating to the report in the manner provided by clause (a). Sec. 2. Minnesota Statutes 1983 Supplement, section 626.556, subdivision 1, is amended to read: Subdivision 1. [PUBLIC POLICY.] The legislature hereby declares that the public policy of this state is to protect children whose health or welfare may be jeopardized through physical abuse, neglect or sexual abuse; to strengthen the family and make the home, school, and community safe for children by promoting responsible child care in all settings; and to provide, when necessary, a safe temporary or permanent home environment for physically or sexually abused children. In addition, it is the policy of this state to require the reporting of suspected neglect, physical or sexual abuse of children in the home, school, and community settings; to provide for the voluntary reporting of abuse or neglect of children; to require the assessment and investigation of the reports; and to provide protective and counseling services in appropriate cases. Sec. 3. Minnesota Statutes 1983 Supplement, section 626.556, subdivision 2, is amended to read: Subd. 2. [DEFINITIONS.] As used in this section, the following terms have the meanings given them unless the specific content indicates otherwise: (a) "Sexual abuse" means the subjection by a person responsible for the child's care, to any act which constitutes a violation of sections 609.342, 609.343, 609.344, or 609.345, or sections 609.364 to 609.3644. Sexual abuse also includes any act which involves a minor which constitutes a violation of sections 609.321 to 609.324 or 617.246. (b) "Person responsible for the child's care" means a parent, guardian, teacher, school administrator, or other lawful custodian of a child having either full-time or short-term care responsibilities including, but not limited to, day care, baby sitting, counseling, teaching, and coaching. (c) "Neglect" means failure by a person responsible for a child's care to supply a child with necessary food, clothing, shelter or medical care when reasonably able to do so or failure to protect a child from conditions or actions which imminently and seriously endanger the child's physical or mental health when reasonably able to do so. Nothing in this section shall be construed to (i) mean that a child is neglected solely because the child's parent, guardian or other person responsible for his care in good faith selects and depends upon spiritual means or prayer for treatment or care of disease or remedial care of the child, or (ii) impose upon persons, not otherwise legally responsible for providing a child with necessary food, clothing, shelter or medical care, a duty to provide that care. (d) "Physical abuse" means: (i) Any physical injury inflicted by a person responsible for the child's care on a child other than by accidental means; or (ii) Any physical injury that cannot reasonably be explained by the child's history of injuries. (e) "Report" means any report received by the local welfare agency, police department or county sheriff pursuant to this section. (f) "Facility" means a day care facility, residential facility, agency, hospital, sanitorium, or other facility or institution required to be licensed pursuant to sections 144.50 to 144.58, 241.021, or 245.781 to 245.812. (g) "Operator" means an operator or agency as defined in section 245.782. (h) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of public welfare. (i) "Assessment" includes authority to interview the child, the person or persons responsible for the child's care, the alleged perpetrator, and any other person with knowledge of the abuse or neglect for the purpose of gathering the facts, assessing the risk to the child, and formulating a plan. Sec. 4. Minnesota Statutes 1982, section 626.556, subdivision 3, is amended to read: Subd. 3. [PERSONS MANDATED TO REPORT.] A professional or his delegate who is engaged in the practice of the healing arts, social services, hospital administration, psychological or psychiatric treatment, child care, education, or law enforcement who has knowledge of or reasonable cause to believe a child is being neglected or physically or sexually abused shall immediately report the information to the local welfare agency, police department or the county sheriff. The police department or the county sheriff, upon receiving a report, shall immediately notify the local welfare agency. The local welfare agency, upon receiving a report, shall immediately notify the local police department or the county sheriff. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to require more than one report from any institution, facility, school or agency. Any person not required to report under the provisions of this subdivision may voluntarily report to the local welfare agency, police department or the county sheriff if he has knowledge of or reasonable cause to believe a child is being neglected or subjected to physical or sexual abuse. The police department or the county sheriff, upon receiving a report, shall immediately notify the local welfare agency. A person mandated to report suspected physical or sexual child abuse or neglect occurring within a licensed facility shall report the information to the agency responsible for licensing the facility. A health or corrections agency receiving a report may request the local welfare agency to provide assistance pursuant to subdivisions 10, 10a, and 10b. Any person who makes a report shall, upon request to the local welfare agency, receive a concise summary of the disposition of the report, unless release would be detrimental to the best interests of the child. Sec. 5. Minnesota Statutes 1983 Supplement, section 626.556, subdivision 4, is amended to read: Subd. 4. [IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY.] (a) Any person, including those voluntarily making reports and those required to make reports under subdivision 3, participating in good faith and exercising due care in the making of a report or assisting in an assessment pursuant to this section has immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that otherwise might result by reason of his action. (b) A supervisor or social worker employed by a local welfare agency, who in good faith exercises due care when complying with subdivisions 10 and 11 or any related rule or provision of law, shall have immunity from any civil liability that otherwise might result by reason of his action. Any public or private school, facility as defined in subdivision 2, or the employee of any public or private school or facility who permits access by a local welfare agency or local law enforcement agency and assists in good faith in an investigation or assessment pursuant to subdivision 10 has immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that otherwise might result by reason of that action. This subdivision does not provide immunity to any person for failure to make a required report or for committing neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse of a child. Sec. 6. Minnesota Statutes 1983 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 A REPORT.] (a) 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, the local welfare agency shall immediately investigateconduct an assessment and offer protective social services for purposes of preventing further abuses, safeguarding and enhancing the welfare of the abused or neglected minor, and preserving family life whenever possible. When necessary the local welfare agency shall seek authority to remove the child from the custody of his parent, guardian or adult with whom he is living. In performing any of these duties, the local welfare agency shall maintain appropriate records. (b) Authority of the local welfare agency responsible for investigatingassessing the child abuse report and of the local law enforcement agency 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 perpetrator. The interview may take place at school or any facility or other place where the alleged victim or other minors might be found and may take place outside the presence of the perpetrator or parent, legal custodian, orguardian, or school official. Except as provided in this clause, the parent, legal custodian, or guardian shall be notified, no later than the conclusion of the investigation or assessment, that this interview has occurred. Notwithstanding rule 49.02 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, notification of this interview be withheld from the parent, legal custodian, or guardian. (c) When the local welfare or local law enforcement agency determines that an interview should take place on school property, written notification 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 chairman of the county welfare board or his designee. The time ,and place, and manner of the interview on school premises shall be within the discretion of school officials, but the local welfare agency, or the local 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 deemed necessary by agreement between the school officials and the local welfare agency or local law enforcement agency. Where the school fails to comply with the provisions of this section, the juvenile court may order the school to comply with this provision. School officials shall not disclose to the parent, legal custodian, guardian, or perpetrator that a request to interview the child has been made until after the abuseinvestigation or assessment has been concluded. Every effort shall 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. (d) Where the perpetrator 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 perpetrator or any person responsible for the child's care at reasonable places and times as specified by court order. (e) Before making an order under paragraph (d), 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 a guardian ad litem is appointed, he shall be present at the hearing on the order to show cause. (f) The commissioner and, the local welfare agencies responsible for investigating reports, 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 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. Sec. 7. [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This act is effective the day following final enactment. Approved April 26, 1984