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Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                             CHAPTER 86-H.F.No. 209 
                  An act relating to human services; changing provisions 
                  for placement of children; amending Minnesota Statutes 
                  1996, sections 257.071, subdivisions 1a and 7; 
                  257.072, subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 9; 259.29; 
                  259.57, subdivision 2; 259.77; 260.181, subdivision 3; 
                  and 260.191, subdivision 1a. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 257.071, 
        subdivision 1a, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 1a.  [PROTECTION OF HERITAGE OR BACKGROUND PLACEMENT 
        DECISIONS BASED ON BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD.] The authorized 
        child-placing agency shall (a) The policy of the state of 
        Minnesota is to ensure that the child's best interests are met 
        by giving due, not sole, consideration of the child's race or 
        ethnic heritage in making a family foster care 
        placement. requiring an individualized determination of the 
        needs of the child and of how the selected placement will serve 
        the needs of the child being placed.  The authorized 
        child-placing agency shall place a child, released by court 
        order or by voluntary release by the parent or parents, in a 
        family foster home selected by following the preferences 
        described in considering placement with relatives and important 
        friends consistent with section 260.181, subdivision 3.  
           (b) Among the factors the agency shall consider in 
        determining the needs of the child are those specified under 
        section 260.181, subdivision 3, paragraph (b).  
           When there is not a family foster home of the same race or 
        ethnic heritage available that can meet the needs of the child, 
        the agency must place the child in a home of a foster family 
        that is of different racial or ethnic heritage that can meet the 
        needs of the child. (c) Placement of a child cannot be delayed 
        or denied based solely on race., color, or national origin of 
        the foster parent or the child.  Whenever possible, siblings 
        should be placed together unless it is determined not to be in 
        the best interests of a sibling.  
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 257.071, 
        subdivision 7, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 7.  [RULES.] By December 31, 1989, The commissioner 
        shall revise Minnesota Rules, parts 9545.0010 to 9545.0260, the 
        rules setting standards for family and group family foster 
        care.  The commissioner shall: 
           (1) require that, as a condition of licensure, foster care 
        providers attend training on the importance of protecting 
        understanding and validating the cultural heritage within the 
        meaning of Laws 1983, chapter 278, the Indian Child Welfare Act, 
        Public Law Number 95-608, and the Minnesota Indian family 
        preservation act, sections 257.35 to 257.3579 of all children in 
        their care, and on the importance of the Indian Child Welfare 
        Act, United States Code, title 25, sections 1901 to 1923, and 
        the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, sections 257.35 to 
        257.3579; and 
           (2) review and, where necessary, revise foster care rules 
        to reflect sensitivity to cultural diversity and differing 
        lifestyles.  Specifically, the commissioner shall examine 
        whether space and other requirements discriminate against 
        single-parent, minority, or low-income families who may be able 
        to provide quality foster care reflecting the values of their 
        own respective cultures. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 257.072, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [RECRUITMENT OF FOSTER FAMILIES.] Each 
        authorized child-placing agency shall make special efforts to 
        recruit a foster family from among the child's relatives, except 
        as authorized in section 260.181, subdivision 3.  In recruiting 
        placements for each child, the agency must focus on that child's 
        particular needs and the capacities of the particular 
        prospective foster parents to meet those needs.  Each agency 
        shall provide for diligent recruitment of potential foster 
        families that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of the 
        children in the state for whom foster homes are needed.  Special 
        efforts include contacting and working with community 
        organizations and religious organizations and may include 
        contracting with these organizations, utilizing local media and 
        other local resources, conducting outreach activities, and 
        increasing the number of minority recruitment staff employed by 
        the agency.  The requirement of special efforts to locate 
        relatives in this section is satisfied if the responsible 
        child-placing agency has made appropriate efforts for six months 
        following the child's placement in a residential facility and 
        the court approves the agency's efforts pursuant to section 
        260.191, subdivision 3a.  The agency may accept any gifts, 
        grants, offers of services, and other contributions to use in 
        making special recruitment efforts. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 257.072, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER.] The commissioner of 
        human services shall: 
           (1) in cooperation with child-placing agencies, develop a 
        cost-effective campaign using radio and television to recruit 
        minority adoptive and foster families that reflect the ethnic 
        and racial diversity of children in the state for whom adoptive 
        and foster homes are needed; and 
           (2) require that agency staff people who work in the area 
        of minority adoption and foster family recruitment attend 
        participate in cultural sensitivity competency training; and. 
           (3) monitor the record keeping, licensing, placement 
        preference, recruitment, review, and reporting requirements of 
        the minority child heritage protection act, Laws 1983, chapter 
        278. 
           Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 257.072, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [MINORITY RECRUITMENT SPECIALIST.] The 
        commissioner shall designate a permanent professional staff 
        position for a minority recruitment specialist of foster and 
        adoptive families.  The minority recruitment specialist shall 
        provide services to child-placing agencies seeking to 
        recruit minority adoptive and foster care families and qualified 
        minority professional staff.  The minority recruitment 
        specialist shall: 
           (1) develop materials for use by the agencies in training 
        staff; 
           (2) conduct in-service workshops for agency personnel; 
           (3) provide consultation, technical assistance, and other 
        appropriate services to agencies wishing to strengthen and 
        improve service delivery to minority diverse populations; and 
           (4) conduct workshops for foster care and adoption 
        recruiters to evaluate the effectiveness of techniques for 
        recruiting minority foster and adoptive families; and 
           (5) perform other duties as assigned by the commissioner to 
        implement the minority child heritage protection act and the 
        Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, sections 257.35 to 
        257.3579. 
           Upon recommendation of the minority recruitment specialist, 
        The commissioner may contract for portions of these services. 
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 257.072, 
        subdivision 4, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 4.  [CONSULTATION WITH MINORITY REPRESENTATIVES.] The 
        commissioner of human services shall, after seeking and 
        considering advice from representatives reflecting diverse 
        populations from the councils established under sections 3.922, 
        3.9223, 3.9225, and 3.9226, and other state, local, and 
        community organizations shall: 
           (1) review, and where necessary, revise the department of 
        human services social service manual and practice guide to 
        reflect the scope and intent of Laws 1983, chapter 278 federal 
        and state policy direction on placement of children; 
           (2) develop criteria for determining whether a prospective 
        adoptive or foster family is "knowledgeable and appreciative" as 
        the term is used in section 260.181, subdivision 3 has the 
        ability to understand and validate the child's cultural 
        background; 
           (3) develop a standardized training curriculum for adoption 
        and foster care workers, family-based providers, and 
        administrators who work with minority and special needs 
        children.  Training must address the following subjects 
        objectives: 
           (a) developing and maintaining sensitivity to other all 
        cultures; 
           (b) assessing values and their cultural implications; and 
           (c) implementing the minority child heritage protection 
        act, Laws 1983, chapter 278, and the Minnesota Indian family 
        preservation act, sections 257.35 to 257.3579 making 
        individualized decisions that advance the best interests of a 
        particular child under section 257.071, subdivision 1a; 
           (4) develop a training curriculum for family and extended 
        family members of minority adoptive and foster children.  The 
        curriculum must address issues relating to cross-cultural 
        placements as well as issues that arise after a foster or 
        adoptive placement is made; and 
           (5) develop and provide to agencies an assessment tool to 
        be used in combination with group interviews and other 
        preplacement activities to evaluate prospective adoptive and 
        foster families of minority children.  The tool must assess 
        problem-solving skills; identify parenting skills; and, when 
        required by section 260.181, subdivision 3, evaluate the degree 
        to which the prospective family is knowledgeable and 
        appreciative of racial and ethnic differences has the ability to 
        understand and validate the child's cultural background. 
           Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 257.072, 
        subdivision 7, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 7.  [DUTIES OF CHILD-PLACING AGENCIES.] Each 
        authorized child-placing agency must: 
           (1) develop and follow procedures for implementing the 
        order of preference prescribed by requirements of section 
        260.181, subdivision 3, and the Indian Child Welfare Act, United 
        States Code, title 25, sections 1901 to 1923; 
           (a) In implementing the order of preference requirement to 
        consider relatives for placement, an authorized child-placing 
        agency may disclose private or confidential data, as defined in 
        section 13.02, to relatives of the child for the purpose of 
        locating a suitable placement.  The agency shall disclose only 
        data that is necessary to facilitate implementing the 
        preference.  If a parent makes an explicit request that the 
        relative preference not be followed, the agency shall bring the 
        matter 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 relatives unless ordered 
        to do so by the juvenile court; and 
           (b) In determining the suitability of a proposed placement 
        of an Indian child, the standards to be applied must be the 
        prevailing social and cultural standards of the Indian child's 
        community, and the agency shall defer to tribal judgment as to 
        suitability of a particular home when the tribe has intervened 
        pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act; 
           (2) have a written plan for recruiting minority adoptive 
        and foster families that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity 
        of children who are in need of foster and adoptive homes.  The 
        plan must include (a) strategies for using existing resources in 
        minority diverse communities, (b) use of minority diverse 
        outreach staff wherever possible, (c) use of minority diverse 
        foster homes for placements after birth and before adoption, and 
        (d) other techniques as appropriate; 
           (3) have a written plan for training adoptive and foster 
        families of minority children; 
           (4) if located in an area with a significant minority 
        population, have a written plan for employing minority social 
        workers staff in adoption and foster care who have the capacity 
        to assess the foster and adoptive parents' ability to understand 
        and validate a child's cultural needs, and to advance the best 
        interests of the child.  The plan must include staffing goals 
        and objectives; 
           (5) ensure that adoption and foster care workers attend 
        training offered or approved by the department of human services 
        regarding cultural diversity and the needs of special needs 
        children; and 
           (6) develop and implement procedures for implementing the 
        requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Minnesota 
        Indian Family Preservation Act. 
           Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 257.072, 
        subdivision 9, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 9.  [RULES.] The commissioner of human services shall 
        adopt rules to establish standards for conducting relative 
        searches, and recruiting foster and adoptive families of the 
        same racial or ethnic heritage as the child, and evaluating the 
        role of relative status in the reconsideration of 
        disqualifications under section 245A.04, subdivision 3b, and 
        granting variances of licensing requirements under section 
        245A.04, subdivision 9, in licensing or approving an individual 
        related to a child.  
           Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.29, is 
        amended to read: 
           259.29 [PROTECTION OF HERITAGE OR BACKGROUND BEST INTERESTS 
        IN ADOPTIVE PLACEMENTS.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD.] (a) The 
        policy of the state of Minnesota is to ensure that the best 
        interests of the child are met by requiring due, not sole, 
        consideration of the child's race or ethnic heritage in adoption 
        placements.  For purposes of intercountry adoptions, due 
        consideration is deemed to have occurred if the appropriate 
        authority in the child's country of birth has approved the 
        placement of the child. individualized determination of the 
        needs of the child and of how the adoptive placement will serve 
        the needs of the child. 
           (b) Among the factors the agency shall consider in 
        determining the needs of the child are those specified under 
        section 260.181, subdivision 3, paragraph (b).  
           Subd. 2.  [PLACEMENT WITH RELATIVE OR FRIEND.] The 
        authorized child-placing agency shall give preference, in the 
        absence of good cause to the contrary, to placing the child with 
        (a) a relative or relatives of the child, or, if that would be 
        detrimental to the child or a relative is not available, (b) an 
        important friend with whom the child has resided or had 
        significant contact, or if that is not possible, (c) a family 
        with the same racial or ethnic heritage as the child, or, if 
        that is not feasible, (d) a family of different racial or ethnic 
        heritage from the child which is knowledgeable and appreciative 
        of the child's racial or ethnic heritage. consider placement, 
        consistent with the child's best interests and in the following 
        order, with (1) a relative or relatives of the child, or (2) an 
        important friend with whom the child has resided or had 
        significant contact.  In implementing the order of preference 
        this section, an authorized child-placing agency may disclose 
        private or confidential data, as defined in section 13.02, to 
        relatives of the child for the purpose of locating a suitable 
        adoptive home.  The agency shall disclose only data that is 
        necessary to facilitate implementing the preference.  
           If the child's birth parent or parents explicitly request 
        that the preference described in clause (a), (b), or 
        (c) placement with relatives or important friends not be 
        followed considered, the authorized child-placing agency shall 
        honor that request consistent with the best interests of the 
        child. 
           If the child's birth parent or parents express a preference 
        for placing the child in an adoptive home of the same or a 
        similar religious background to that of the birth parent or 
        parents, in following the preferences in clause (a), (b), or 
        (c), the agency shall place the child with a family that also 
        meets the birth parent's religious preference.  Only if no 
        family is available that is described in clause (a), (b), or (c) 
        may the agency give preference to a family described in clause 
        (d) that meets the parent's religious preference. 
           This subdivision does not affect the Indian Child Welfare 
        Act, United States Code, title 25, sections 1901 to 1923, and 
        the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, sections 257.35 to 
        257.3579. 
           Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.57, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [PROTECTION OF HERITAGE OR BACKGROUND THE CHILD'S 
        BEST INTERESTS.] (a) The policy of the state of Minnesota is to 
        ensure that the best interests of children are met by 
        requiring due, not sole, consideration of the child's race or 
        ethnic heritage in adoption placements.  For purposes of 
        intercountry adoptions, due consideration is deemed to have 
        occurred if the appropriate authority in the child's country of 
        birth has approved the placement of the child an individualized 
        determination of the needs of the child and how the adoptive 
        placement will serve the needs of the child.  
           (b) Among the factors the court shall consider in 
        determining the needs of the child are those specified under 
        section 260.181, subdivision 3, paragraph (b).  
           (c) In reviewing adoptive placement, the court shall 
        consider preference, and in determining appropriate adoption, 
        the court shall give preference, in the absence of good cause to 
        the contrary, to (a) consider placement, consistent with the 
        child's best interests and in the following order, with (1) a 
        relative or relatives of the child, or, if that would be 
        detrimental to the child or a relative is not available, to (b) 
        a family with the same racial or ethnic heritage as the child, 
        or if that is not feasible, to (c) a family of different racial 
        or ethnic heritage from the child that is knowledgeable and 
        appreciative of the child's racial or ethnic heritage. (2) an 
        important friend with whom the child has resided or had 
        significant contact.  Placement of a child cannot be delayed or 
        denied based on race, color, or national origin of the adoptive 
        parent or the child.  Whenever possible, siblings should be 
        placed together unless it is determined not to be in the best 
        interests of a sibling.  
           (d) If the child's birth parent or parents explicitly 
        request that the preference described in clause (a) or in 
        clauses (a) and (b) relatives and important friends not be 
        followed considered, the court shall honor that request 
        consistent with the best interests of the child. 
           If the child's birth parent or parents express a preference 
        for placing the child in an adoptive home of the same or a 
        similar religious background to that of the birth parent or 
        parents, in following the preferences in clause (a) or (b), the 
        court shall place the child with a family that also meets the 
        birth parent's religious preference.  Only if no family is 
        available as described in clause (a) or (b) may the court give 
        preference to a family described in clause (c) that meets the 
        parent's religious preference. 
           (e) This subdivision does not affect the Indian Child 
        Welfare Act, United States Code, title 25, sections 1901 to 
        1923, and the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, sections 
        257.35 to 257.3579. 
           Sec. 11.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 259.77, is 
        amended to read: 
           259.77 [FAMILY RECRUITMENT.] 
           Each authorized child-placing agency shall make special 
        efforts to recruit an adoptive family from among the child's 
        relatives, except as authorized in section 259.57, subdivision 
        2.  Each agency shall provide for the diligent recruitment of 
        potential adoptive families that reflect the ethnic and racial 
        diversity of children in the state for whom adoptive homes are 
        needed.  Special efforts include contacting and working with 
        community organizations and religious organizations and may 
        include contracting with these organizations, utilizing local 
        media and other local resources, and conducting outreach 
        activities.  The requirement of special efforts to locate 
        relatives in this section is satisfied if the efforts have 
        continued for six months after the child becomes available for 
        adoption special efforts were made to recruit relatives when the 
        child was first placed in out-of-home care or if special efforts 
        have been satisfied and approved by the court pursuant according 
        to section 260.191, subdivision 3a.  The agency may accept any 
        gifts, grants, offers of services, and other contributions to 
        use in making special recruitment efforts. 
           Sec. 12.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 260.181, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [PROTECTION OF HERITAGE OR BACKGROUND THE CHILD'S 
        BEST INTERESTS.] (a) The policy of the state is to ensure that 
        the best interests of children are met by requiring due, not 
        sole, consideration of the child's race or ethnic 
        heritage individualized determinations of the needs of the child 
        and of how the selected placement will serve the needs of the 
        child in foster care placements.  
           (b) Among the factors to be considered in determining the 
        needs of the child are:  
           (1) the child's current functioning and behaviors; 
           (2) the medical, educational, and developmental needs of 
        the child; 
           (3) the child's history and past experience; 
           (4) the child's religious and cultural needs; 
           (5) the child's connection with a community, school, and 
        church; 
           (6) the child's interests and talents; 
           (7) the child's relationship to current caretakers, 
        parents, siblings, and relatives; and 
           (8) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court, 
        or in the case of a voluntary placement the child-placing 
        agency, deems the child to be of sufficient age to express 
        preferences.  
           (c) The court, in transferring legal custody of any child 
        or appointing a guardian for the child under the laws relating 
        to juvenile courts, shall place the child, in the following 
        order of preference, consider placement, consistent with the 
        child's best interests and in the following order, in the 
        absence of good cause to the contrary, in the legal custody or 
        guardianship of an individual who (a) (1) is related to the 
        child by blood, marriage, or adoption, or if that would be 
        detrimental to the child or a relative is not available, who 
        (b) (2) is an important friend with whom the child has resided 
        or had significant contact, or if that is not possible, who (c) 
        is of the same racial or ethnic heritage as the child, or if 
        that is not possible, who (d) is knowledgeable and appreciative 
        of the child's racial or ethnic heritage.  Placement of a child 
        cannot be delayed or denied based on race, color, or national 
        origin of the foster parent or the child.  Whenever possible, 
        siblings should be placed together unless it is determined not 
        to be in the best interests of a sibling. 
           (d) If the child's birth parent or parents explicitly 
        request that the preference described in clause (a), (b), or (c) 
        a relative or important friend not be followed considered, the 
        court shall honor that request if it is consistent with the best 
        interests of the child. 
           If the child's birth parent or parents express a preference 
        for placing the child in a foster or adoptive home of the same 
        or a similar religious background to that of the birth parent or 
        parents, in following the preferences in clause (a), (b), or 
        (c), the court shall order placement of the child with an 
        individual who meets the birth parent's religious preference.  
        Only if no individual is available who is described in clause 
        (a), (b), or (c) may the court give preference to an individual 
        described in clause (d) who meets the parent's religious 
        preference. 
           (e) This subdivision does not affect the Indian Child 
        Welfare Act, United States Code, title 25, sections 1901 to 
        1923, and the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, sections 
        257.35 to 257.3579. 
           Sec. 13.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 260.191, 
        subdivision 1a, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 1a.  [WRITTEN FINDINGS.] Any order for a disposition 
        authorized under this section shall contain written findings of 
        fact to support the disposition ordered, and shall also set 
        forth in writing the following information: 
           (a) Why the best interests of the child are served by the 
        disposition ordered; 
           (b) What alternative dispositions were considered by the 
        court and why such dispositions were not appropriate in the 
        instant case; 
           (c) In the case of a child of minority racial or minority 
        ethnic heritage, How the court's disposition complies with the 
        requirements of section 260.181, subdivision 3; and 
           (d) Whether reasonable efforts consistent with section 
        260.012 were made to prevent or eliminate the necessity of the 
        child's removal and to reunify the family after removal.  The 
        court's findings must include a brief description of what 
        preventive and reunification efforts were made and why further 
        efforts could not have prevented or eliminated the necessity of 
        removal. 
           If the court finds that the social services agency's 
        preventive or reunification efforts have not been reasonable but 
        that further preventive or reunification efforts could not 
        permit the child to safely remain at home, the court may 
        nevertheless authorize or continue the removal of the child. 
           Sec. 14.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           Sections 1 to 13 are effective the day following final 
        enactment. 
           Presented to the governor May 2, 1997 
           Signed by the governor May 6, 1997, 11:05 a.m.