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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 260C

Section 260C.212

Recent History

260C.212 Children in foster homes; placement; review.

Subdivision 1. Placement; plan. (a) A case plan shall be prepared within 30 days after any child is placed in a residential facility by court order or by the voluntary release of the child by the parent or parents.

For purposes of this section, a residential facility means any group home, family foster home or other publicly supported out-of-home residential facility, including any out-of-home residential facility under contract with the state, county or other political subdivision, or any agency thereof, to provide those services or foster care as defined in section 260C.007, subdivision 9.

(b) When a child is in placement, the responsible local social services agency shall make diligent efforts to identify, locate, and, where appropriate, offer services to both parents of the child. If a noncustodial or nonadjudicated parent is willing and capable of providing for the day-to-day care of the child, the local social services agency may seek authority from the custodial parent or the court to have that parent assume day-to-day care of the child. If a parent is not an adjudicated parent, the local social services agency shall require the nonadjudicated parent to cooperate with paternity establishment procedures as part of the case plan.

(c) If, after assessment, the local social services agency determines that the child cannot be in the day-to-day care of either parent, the agency shall prepare a case plan addressing the conditions that each parent must mitigate before the child could be in that parent's day-to-day care.

(d) If, after the provision of services following a case plan under this section and ordered by the juvenile court, the child cannot return to the care of the parent from whom the child was removed or who had legal custody at the time the child was placed in foster care, the agency may petition on behalf of a noncustodial parent to establish legal custody with that parent under section 260C.201, subdivision 11. If paternity has not already been established, it may be established in the same proceeding in the manner provided for under this chapter.

The responsible social services agency may be relieved of the requirement to locate and offer services to both parents by the juvenile court upon a finding of good cause after the filing of a petition under section 260B.141 or 260C.141.

(e) For the purposes of this section, a case plan means a written document which is ordered by the court or which is prepared by the social services agency responsible for the residential facility placement and is signed by the parent or parents, or other custodian, of the child, the child's legal guardian, the social services agency responsible for the residential facility placement, and, if possible, the child. The document shall be explained to all persons involved in its implementation, including the child who has signed the document, and shall set forth:

(1) The specific reasons for the placement of the child in a residential facility, including a description of the problems or conditions in the home of the parent or parents which necessitated removal of the child from home;

(2) The specific actions to be taken by the parent or parents of the child to eliminate or correct the problems or conditions identified in clause (1), and the time period during which the actions are to be taken;

(3) The financial responsibilities and obligations, if any, of the parents for the support of the child during the period the child is in the residential facility;

(4) The visitation rights and obligations of the parent or parents or other relatives as defined in section 260C.193, if such visitation is consistent with the best interest of the child, during the period the child is in the residential facility;

(5) The social and other supportive services to be provided to the parent or parents of the child, the child, and the residential facility during the period the child is in the residential facility;

(6) the date on which the child is expected to be returned to and safely maintained in the home of the parent or parents or placed for adoption or otherwise permanently removed from the care of the parent by court order;

(7) the nature of the effort to be made by the social services agency responsible for the placement to reunite the family;

(8) notice to the parent or parents:

(i) that placement of the child in foster care may result in termination of parental rights but only after notice and a hearing as provided in chapter 260; and

(ii) in cases where the agency has determined that both reasonable efforts to reunify the child with the parents, and reasonable efforts to place the child in a permanent home away from the parent that may become legally permanent are appropriate, notice of:

(A) time limits on the length of placement and of reunification services;

(B) the nature of the services available to the parent;

(C) the consequences to the parent and the child if the parent fails or is unable to use services to correct the circumstances that led to the child's placement;

(D) the first consideration for relative placement; and

(E) the benefit to the child in getting the child out of residential care as soon as possible, preferably by returning the child home, but if that is not possible, through a permanent legal placement of the child away from the parent;

(9) a permanency hearing under section 260C.201, subdivision 11, or a termination of parental rights hearing under sections 260C.301 to 260C.328, where the agency asks the court to find that the child should be permanently placed away from the parent and includes documentation of the steps taken by the responsible social services agency to find an adoptive family or other permanent legal placement for the child, to place the child with an adoptive family, a fit and willing relative through an award of permanent legal and physical custody, or in another planned and permanent legal placement. The documentation must include child specific recruitment efforts; and

(10) if the court has issued an order terminating the rights of both parents of the child or of the only known, living parent of the child, documentation of steps to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship of the child.

(f) The parent or parents and the child each shall have the right to legal counsel in the preparation of the case plan and shall be informed of the right at the time of placement of the child. The child shall also have the right to a guardian ad litem. If unable to employ counsel from their own resources, the court shall appoint counsel upon the request of the parent or parents or the child or the child's legal guardian. The parent or parents may also receive assistance from any person or social services agency in preparation of the case plan.

After the plan has been agreed upon by the parties involved, the foster parents shall be fully informed of the provisions of the case plan and shall be provided a copy of the plan.

(g) When an agency accepts a child for placement, the agency shall determine whether the child has had a physical examination by or under the direction of a licensed physician within the 12 months immediately preceding the date when the child came into the agency's care. If there is documentation that the child has had such an examination within the last 12 months, the agency is responsible for seeing that the child has another physical examination within one year of the documented examination and annually in subsequent years. If the agency determines that the child has not had a physical examination within the 12 months immediately preceding placement, the agency shall ensure that the child has the examination within 30 days of coming into the agency's care and once a year in subsequent years.

Subd. 2. Placement decisions based on best interest of the child. (a) The policy of the state of Minnesota is to ensure that the child's best interests are met by 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 considering placement with relatives and important friends consistent with section 260C.193, subdivision 3.

(b) Among the factors the agency shall consider in determining the needs of the child are those specified under section 260C.193, subdivision 3, paragraph (b).

(c) Placement of a child cannot be delayed or denied based on race, color, or national origin of the foster parent or the child. Siblings should be placed together for foster care and adoption at the earliest possible time unless it is determined not to be in the best interests of a sibling or unless it is not possible after appropriate efforts by the responsible social services agency.

Subd. 3. Limit on multiple placements. If a child has been placed in a residential facility pursuant to a court order under section 260C.178 or 260C.201, the social services agency responsible for the residential facility placement for the child may not change the child's placement unless the agency specifically documents that the current placement is unsuitable or another placement is in the best interests of the child. This subdivision does not apply if the new placement is in an adoptive home or other permanent placement.

Subd. 4. Notice before voluntary placement. The local social services agency shall inform a parent considering voluntary placement of a child who is not developmentally disabled or emotionally handicapped of the following:

(1) the parent and the child each has a right to separate legal counsel before signing a voluntary placement agreement, but not to counsel appointed at public expense;

(2) the parent is not required to agree to the voluntary placement, and a parent who enters a voluntary placement agreement may at any time request that the agency return the child. If the parent so requests, the child must be returned within 24 hours of the receipt of the request;

(3) evidence gathered during the time the child is voluntarily placed may be used at a later time as the basis for a petition alleging that the child is in need of protection or services or as the basis for a petition seeking termination of parental rights or other permanent placement of the child away from the parent;

(4) if the local social services agency files a petition alleging that the child is in need of protection or services or a petition seeking the termination of parental rights or other permanent placement of the child away from the parent, the parent would have the right to appointment of separate legal counsel and the child would have a right to the appointment of counsel and a guardian ad litem as provided by law, and that counsel will be appointed at public expense if they are unable to afford counsel; and

(5) the timelines and procedures for review of voluntary placements under subdivision 3, and the effect the time spent in voluntary placement on the scheduling of a permanent placement determination hearing under section 260C.201, subdivision 11.

Subd. 5. Relative search; nature. (a) As soon as possible, but in any event within six months after a child is initially placed in a residential facility, the local social services agency shall identify any relatives of the child and notify them of the need for a foster care home for the child and of the possibility of the need for a permanent out-of-home placement of the child. Relatives should also be notified that a decision not to be a placement resource at the beginning of the case may affect the relative being considered for placement of the child with that relative later. The relatives must be notified that they must keep the local social services agency informed of their current address in order to receive notice that a permanent placement is being sought for the child. A relative who fails to provide a current address to the local social services agency forfeits the right to notice of the possibility of permanent placement. If the child's parent refuses to give the responsible social services agency information sufficient to identify relatives of the child, the agency shall determine whether the parent's refusal is in the child's best interests. If the agency determines the parent's refusal is not in the child's best interests, the agency shall file a petition under section 260B.141 or 260C.141, and shall ask the juvenile court to order the parent to provide the necessary information.

(b) Unless required under the Indian Child Welfare Act or relieved of this duty by the court because the child is placed with an appropriate relative who wishes to provide a permanent home for the child or the child is placed with a foster home that has committed to being the permanent legal placement for the child and the responsible social services agency approves of that foster home for permanent placement of the child, when the agency determines that it is necessary to prepare for the permanent placement determination hearing, or in anticipation of filing a termination of parental rights petition, the agency shall send notice to the relatives, any adult with whom the child is currently residing, any adult with whom the child has resided for one year or longer in the past, and any adults who have maintained a relationship or exercised visitation with the child as identified in the agency case plan. The notice must state that a permanent home is sought for the child and that the individuals receiving the notice may indicate to the agency their interest in providing a permanent home. The notice must state that within 30 days of receipt of the notice an individual receiving the notice must indicate to the agency the individual's interest in providing a permanent home for the child or that the individual may lose the opportunity to be considered for a permanent placement. This notice need not be sent if the child is placed with an appropriate relative who wishes to provide a permanent home for the child.

Subd. 6. Change in placement. If a child is removed from a permanent placement disposition authorized under section 260C.201, subdivision 11, within one year after the placement was made:

(1) the child must be returned to the residential facility where the child was placed immediately preceding the permanent placement; or

(2) the court shall hold a hearing within ten days after the child is removed from the permanent placement to determine where the child is to be placed. A guardian ad litem must be appointed for the child for this hearing.

Subd. 7. Six-month review of placements. There shall be an administrative review of the case plan of each child placed in a residential facility no later than 180 days after the initial placement of the child in a residential facility and at least every six months thereafter if the child is not returned to the home of the parent or parents within that time. The case plan must be monitored and updated at each administrative review. As an alternative to the administrative review, the social services agency responsible for the placement may bring a petition as provided in section 260C.141, subdivision 2, to the court for review of the foster care to determine if placement is in the best interests of the child. This petition must be brought to the court within the applicable six months and is not in lieu of the requirements contained in subdivision 3 or 4. A court review conducted pursuant to section 260C.201, subdivision 11, shall satisfy the requirement for an administrative review so long as the other requirements of this section are met.

Subd. 8. Review of voluntary placements. Except as provided in subdivision 4, if the child has been placed in a residential facility pursuant to a voluntary release by the parent or parents, and is not returned home within 90 days after initial placement in the residential facility, the social services agency responsible for the placement shall:

(1) return the child to the home of the parent or parents; or

(2) file a petition according to section 260B.141, subdivision 1, or 260C.141, subdivision 1, which may:

(i) ask the court to review the placement and approve it for up to an additional 90 days;

(ii) ask the court to order continued out-of-home placement according to sections 260B.178, 260C.178, and 260C.201; or

(iii) ask the court to terminate parental rights under section 260C.301.

The case plan must be updated when a petition is filed and must include a specific plan for permanency, which may include a time line for returning the child home or a plan for permanent placement of the child away from the parent, or both.

If the court approves continued out-of-home placement for up to 90 more days, at the end of the court-approved 90-day period, the child must be returned to the parent's home. If the child is not returned home, the responsible social services agency must proceed on the petition filed alleging the child in need of protection or services or the petition for termination of parental rights. The court must find a statutory basis to order the placement of the child under section 260B.178; 260C.178; 260C.201; or 260C.317.

Subd. 9. Review of developmentally disabled and emotionally handicapped child placements. If a developmentally disabled child, as that term is defined in United States Code, title 42, section 6001(7), as amended through December 31, 1979, or a child diagnosed with an emotional handicap as defined in section 252.27, subdivision 1a, has been placed in a residential facility pursuant to a voluntary release by the child's parent or parents because of the child's handicapping conditions or need for long-term residential treatment or supervision, the social services agency responsible for the placement shall bring a petition for review of the child's foster care status, pursuant to section 260C.141, subdivision 2, after the child has been in placement for six months. If a child is in placement due solely to the child's handicapping condition and custody of the child is not transferred to the responsible social services agency under section 260C.201, subdivision 1, paragraph (a), clause (2), no petition is required by section 260C.201, subdivision 11. Whenever a petition for review is brought pursuant to this subdivision, a guardian ad litem shall be appointed for the child.

Subd. 10. Rules; children in residential facilities. The commissioner of human services shall promulgate all rules necessary to carry out the provisions of Public Law Number 96-272 as regards the establishment of a state goal for the reduction of the number of children in residential facilities beyond 24 months.

Subd. 11. Rules. 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 understanding and validating the cultural heritage 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 260.751 to 260.835; 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.

Subd. 12. Fair hearing review. Any person whose claim for foster care payment pursuant to the placement of a child resulting from a child protection assessment under section 626.556 is denied or not acted upon with reasonable promptness may appeal the decision under section 256.045, subdivision 3. The application and fair hearing procedures set forth in the administration of community social services rule, Minnesota Rules, parts 9550.0070 to 9550.0092, do not apply to foster care payment issues appealable under this subdivision.

HIST: 1999 c 139 art 3 s 26; art 4 s 2; 1999 c 245 art 8 s 19-25