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1988 Minnesota Session Laws

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                         Laws of Minnesota 1988 

                        CHAPTER 625-S.F.No. 2119 
           An act relating to child abuse reporting; classifying 
          child abuse investigative data; clarifying the 
          assessment duties of the local welfare agency; 
          providing for the retention of records in certain 
          circumstances; amending Minnesota Statutes 1986, 
          sections 13.82, by adding a subdivision; and 626.556, 
          subdivisions 5, 10d, and by adding subdivisions; and 
          Minnesota Statutes 1987 Supplement, section 626.556, 
          subdivision 11; repealing Minnesota Statutes 1986, 
          section 626.556, subdivision 13. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 13.82, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
    Subd. 5a.  [CHILD ABUSE IDENTITY DATA.] Active or inactive 
investigative data that identify a victim of child abuse or 
neglect reported under section 626.556 are private data on 
individuals.  Active or inactive investigative data that 
identify a reporter of child abuse or neglect under section 
626.556 are confidential data on individuals, unless the subject 
of the report compels disclosure under section 626.556, 
subdivision 11. 
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 626.556, 
subdivision 5, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 5.  [FALSIFIED MALICIOUS AND RECKLESS REPORTS.] Any 
person who knowingly or recklessly makes a false report under 
the provisions of this section shall be liable in a civil suit 
for any actual damages suffered by the person or persons so 
reported and for any punitive damages set by the court or jury. 
    Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 626.556, 
subdivision 10d, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 10d.  [NOTIFICATION OF NEGLECT OR ABUSE IN A 
FACILITY.] (a) When a report is received that alleges neglect, 
physical abuse, or sexual abuse of a child while in the care of 
a facility required to be licensed pursuant to sections 245.781 
to 245.812, the commissioner or local welfare agency 
investigating the report shall provide the following information 
to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child alleged 
to have been neglected, physically abused, or sexually abused: 
the name of the facility; the fact that a report alleging 
neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse of a child in the 
facility has been received; the nature of the alleged neglect, 
physical abuse, or sexual abuse; that the agency is conducting 
an investigation; any protective or corrective measures being 
taken pending the outcome of the investigation; and that a 
written memorandum will be provided when the investigation is 
completed. 
    (b) The commissioner or local welfare agency may also 
provide the information in paragraph (a) to the parent, 
guardian, or legal custodian of any other child in the facility 
if the investigative agency knows or has reason to believe the 
alleged neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse has occurred. 
In determining whether to exercise this authority, the 
commissioner or local welfare agency shall consider the 
seriousness of the alleged neglect, physical abuse, or sexual 
abuse; the number of children allegedly neglected, physically 
abused, or sexually abused; the number of alleged perpetrators; 
and the length of the investigation.  The facility shall be 
notified whenever this discretion is exercised. 
    (c) When the commissioner or local welfare agency has 
completed its investigation, every parent, guardian, or legal 
custodian notified of the investigation by the commissioner or 
local welfare agency shall be provided with the following 
information in a written memorandum:  the name of the facility 
investigated; the nature of the alleged neglect, physical abuse, 
or sexual abuse; the investigator's name; a summary of the 
investigation findings; a statement whether the report 
maltreatment was found to be substantiated, inconclusive, or 
false; and the protective or corrective measures that are being 
or will be taken.  The memorandum shall be written in a manner 
that protects the identity of the reporter and the child and 
shall not contain the name, or to the extent possible, reveal 
the identity of the alleged perpetrator or of those interviewed 
during the investigation.  The commissioner or local welfare 
agency shall also provide the written memorandum to the parent, 
guardian, or legal custodian of each child in the facility 
if the report is substantiated.  The commissioner or local 
welfare agency may also provide the written memorandum to the 
parent, guardian, or legal custodian of any other child in the 
facility if the investigation is inconclusive.  The facility 
shall be notified whenever this discretionary authority is 
exercised maltreatment is determined to exist. 
    Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 626.556, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read:  
    Subd. 10e.  [DETERMINATIONS.] Upon the conclusion of every 
assessment or investigation it conducts, the local welfare 
agency shall make two determinations:  first, whether 
maltreatment has occurred; and second, whether child protective 
services are needed. 
    (a) For the purposes of this subdivision, "maltreatment" 
means any of the following acts or omissions committed by a 
person responsible for the child's care: 
    (1) an assault, as defined in section 609.02, subdivision 
10, or any physical contact not exempted by section 609.379, 
where the assault or physical contact is either severe or 
recurring and causes either injury or significant risk of injury 
to the child; 
    (2) neglect as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (c); or 
    (3) sexual abuse as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (a).
    (b) For the purposes of this subdivision, a determination 
that child protective services are needed means that the local 
welfare agency has documented conditions during the assessment 
or investigation sufficient to cause a child protection worker, 
as defined in section 626.559, subdivision 1, to conclude that a 
child is at significant risk of maltreatment if protective 
intervention is not provided and that the individuals 
responsible for the child's care have not taken or are not 
likely to take actions to protect the child from maltreatment or 
risk of maltreatment. 
    Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 626.556, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read:  
    Subd. 10f.  [NOTICE OF DETERMINATIONS.] Within ten working 
days of the conclusion of an assessment the local welfare agency 
shall notify the parent or guardian of the child of the 
determinations.  Within ten working days of completing an 
investigation of a licensed facility, the local welfare agency 
shall notify the person alleged to be maltreating the child, the 
director of the facility, and the parent or guardian of the 
child of the determinations.  In addition to the determinations, 
the notice shall include the length of time that the records 
will be kept under section 8.  When there is no determination of 
either maltreatment or a need for services, the notice shall 
also include the alleged perpetrator's right to have the records 
destroyed. 
    Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1987 Supplement, section 
626.556, subdivision 11, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 11.  [RECORDS.] Except as provided in subdivisions 
10b, 10d, and 11b, all records concerning individuals 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, and except as otherwise provided in 
subdivisions 10b and 10d.  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.  In conducting investigations and assessments 
pursuant to this section, the notice required by section 13.04, 
subdivision 2, need not be provided to a minor under the age of 
ten who is the alleged victim of abuse or neglect.  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 except as otherwise permitted by 
this subdivision.  Any person conducting an investigation or 
assessment under this section who intentionally discloses the 
identity of a reporter prior to the completion of the 
investigation or assessment is guilty of a misdemeanor.  After 
the assessment or investigation is completed, the name of the 
reporter shall be confidential.  The subject of the report may 
compel disclosure of the name of the reporter only with the 
consent of the reporter or upon a written finding by the court 
that the report was false and that there is evidence that the 
report was made in bad faith.  This subdivision does not alter 
disclosure responsibilities or obligations under the rules of 
criminal procedure. 
    Notwithstanding sections 138.163 and 138.17, records 
maintained by local welfare agencies, the police department or 
county sheriff under this section shall be destroyed as 
described in clauses (a) to (d): 
    (a) If upon assessment or investigation a report is found 
to be false, 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). 
    (d) Any notification of intent to interview which was 
received by a school under subdivision 10, paragraph (c), shall 
be destroyed by the school when ordered to do so by the agency 
conducting the assessment or investigation.  The agency shall 
order the destruction of the notification when other records 
relating to the report under investigation or assessment are 
destroyed under this subdivision. 
     Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 626.556, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
     Subd. 11b.  [DATA RECEIVED FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT.] Active 
law enforcement investigative data received by a local welfare 
agency under this section are confidential data on individuals.  
When this data become inactive in the law enforcement agency, 
the data are private data on individuals. 
    Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 626.556, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read:  
    Subd.  11c.  [RECORDS MAINTAINED.] Notwithstanding sections 
138.163 and 138.17, records maintained or records derived from 
reports of abuse by local welfare agencies, county sheriffs or 
police departments, or schools under this section shall be 
destroyed as provided in paragraphs (a) to (c) by the 
responsible authority. 
    (a) If upon assessment or investigation there is no 
determination of maltreatment or the need for child protective 
services, the records may be maintained for a period of four 
years.  After the individual alleged to have maltreated a child 
is notified under section 5 of the determinations at the 
conclusion of the assessment or investigation, upon that 
individual's request, records shall be destroyed within 30 days. 
    (b) All records relating to reports which, upon assessment 
or investigation, indicate either maltreatment or a need for 
child protective services shall be destroyed seven years after 
the date of the final entry in the case record. 
    (c) All records regarding a report of maltreatment, 
including any notification of intent to interview which was 
received by a school under subdivision 10, paragraph (d), shall 
be destroyed by the school when ordered to do so by the agency 
conducting the assessment or investigation.  The agency shall 
order the destruction of the notification when other records 
relating to the report under investigation or assessment are 
destroyed under this subdivision. 
      Sec. 9.  [REPEALER.] 
     Minnesota Statutes 1986, section 626.556, subdivision 13, 
is repealed. 
    Approved April 24, 1988

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