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1985 Minnesota Session Laws

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                         Laws of Minnesota 1985 

                        CHAPTER 283-H.F.No. 1175 
           An act relating to children; expanding the definition 
          of a medically neglected child; providing for 
          intervention by commissioner of human services after a 
          report of medical neglect; requiring the local agency 
          to report and initiate proceedings in cases of medical 
          neglect; amending Minnesota Statutes 1984, sections 
          260.015, subdivision 10; 626.556, subdivisions 2, 10, 
          and by adding a subdivision. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 260.015, 
subdivision 10, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 10.  "Neglected child" means a child: 
    (a) Who is abandoned by his parent, guardian, or other 
custodian; or 
    (b) Who is without proper parental care because of the 
faults or habits of his parent, guardian, or other custodian; or 
    (c) Who is without necessary subsistence, education or 
other care necessary for his physical or mental health or morals 
because his parent, guardian or other custodian neglects or 
refuses to provide it; or 
    (d) Who is without the special care made necessary by his 
physical or mental condition because his parent, guardian, or 
other custodian neglects or refuses to provide it; or 
    (e) Who is medically neglected, which includes, but is not 
limited to, the withholding of medically indicated treatment 
from a disabled infant with a life-threatening condition.  The 
term "withholding of medically indicated treatment" means the 
failure to respond to the infant's life-threatening conditions 
by providing treatment including appropriate nutrition, 
hydration, and medication which, in the treating physician's or 
physicians' reasonable medical judgment, will be most likely to 
be effective in ameliorating or correcting all conditions, 
except that the term does not include the failure to provide 
treatment other than appropriate nutrition, hydration, or 
medication to an infant when, in the treating physician's or 
physicians' reasonable medical judgment: 
    (1) the infant is chronically and irreversibly comatose; 
    (2) the provision of the treatment would merely prolong 
dying, not be effective in ameliorating or correcting all of the 
infant's life-threatening conditions, or otherwise be futile in 
terms of the survival of the infant; or 
    (3) the provision of the treatment would be virtually 
futile in terms of the survival of the infant and the treatment 
itself under the circumstances would be inhumane; or 
    (f) Whose occupation, behavior, condition, environment or 
associations are such as to be injurious or dangerous to himself 
or others; or 
    (f) (g) Who is living in a facility for foster care which 
is not licensed as required by law, unless the child is living 
in the facility under court order; or 
    (g) (h) Whose parent, guardian, or custodian has made 
arrangements for his placement in a manner detrimental to the 
welfare of the child or in violation of law; or 
    (h) (i) Who comes within the provisions of subdivision 5, 
but whose conduct results in whole or in part from parental 
neglect. 
     Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, 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, or by a person in a position 
of authority, as defined in section 609.341, subdivision 10, 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 whether paid or unpaid, 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.  Neglect 
also means "medical neglect" as defined in section 260.015, 
subdivision 10, clause (e). 
    (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 human services.
    (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. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, 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 conduct 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 
assessing 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, guardian, 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 investigation 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, 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, 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. 
    Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1984, section 626.556, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
    Subd. 10c.  [DUTIES OF THE LOCAL SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCY UPON 
RECEIPT OF A REPORT OF MEDICAL NEGLECT.] If the report alleges 
medical neglect as defined in section 260.015, subdivision 10, 
clause (e), the local welfare agency shall, in addition to its 
other duties under this section, immediately consult with 
designated hospital staff and with the parents of the infant to 
verify that appropriate nutrition, hydration, and medication are 
being provided; and shall immediately secure an independent 
medical review of the infant's medical charts and records and, 
if necessary, seek a court order for an independent medical 
examination of the infant.  If the review or examination leads 
to a conclusion of medical neglect, the agency shall intervene 
on behalf of the infant by initiating legal prodeedings under 
section 260.131 and by filing an expedited motion to prevent the 
withholding of medically indicated treatment. 
    Approved May 31, 1985

700 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155 ♦ Phone: (651) 296-2868 ♦ TTY: 1-800-627-3529 ♦ Fax: (651) 296-0569