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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 260C

Section 260C.201

Recent History

260C.201 Dispositions; children who are in need of protection or services or neglected and in foster care.

Subdivision 1. Dispositions. (a) If the court finds that the child is in need of protection or services or neglected and in foster care, it shall enter an order making any of the following dispositions of the case:

(1) place the child under the protective supervision of the local social services agency or child-placing agency in the home of a parent of the child under conditions prescribed by the court directed to the correction of the child's need for protection or services, or:

(i) the court may order the child into the home of a parent who does not otherwise have legal custody of the child, however, an order under this section does not confer legal custody on that parent;

(ii) if the court orders the child into the home of a father who is not adjudicated, he must cooperate with paternity establishment proceedings regarding the child in the appropriate jurisdiction as one of the conditions prescribed by the court for the child to continue in his home;

(iii) the court may order the child into the home of a noncustodial parent with conditions and may also order both the noncustodial and the custodial parent to comply with the requirements of a case plan under subdivision 2;

(2) transfer legal custody to one of the following:

(i) a child-placing agency; or

(ii) the local social services agency.

In placing a child whose custody has been transferred under this paragraph, the agencies shall follow the requirements of section 260C.193, subdivision 3;

(3) if the child is in need of special treatment and care for reasons of physical or mental health, the court may order the child's parent, guardian, or custodian to provide it. If the parent, guardian, or custodian fails or is unable to provide this treatment or care, the court may order it provided. The court shall not transfer legal custody of the child for the purpose of obtaining special treatment or care solely because the parent is unable to provide the treatment or care. If the court's order for mental health treatment is based on a diagnosis made by a treatment professional, the court may order that the diagnosing professional not provide the treatment to the child if it finds that such an order is in the child's best interests; or

(4) if the court believes that the child has sufficient maturity and judgment and that it is in the best interests of the child, the court may order a child 16 years old or older to be allowed to live independently, either alone or with others as approved by the court under supervision the court considers appropriate, if the county board, after consultation with the court, has specifically authorized this dispositional alternative for a child.

(b) If the child was adjudicated in need of protection or services because the child is a runaway or habitual truant, the court may order any of the following dispositions in addition to or as alternatives to the dispositions authorized under paragraph (a):

(1) counsel the child or the child's parents, guardian, or custodian;

(2) place the child under the supervision of a probation officer or other suitable person in the child's own home under conditions prescribed by the court, including reasonable rules for the child's conduct and the conduct of the parents, guardian, or custodian, designed for the physical, mental, and moral well-being and behavior of the child; or with the consent of the commissioner of corrections, place the child in a group foster care facility which is under the commissioner's management and supervision;

(3) subject to the court's supervision, transfer legal custody of the child to one of the following:

(i) a reputable person of good moral character. No person may receive custody of two or more unrelated children unless licensed to operate a residential program under sections 245A.01 to 245A.16; or

(ii) a county probation officer for placement in a group foster home established under the direction of the juvenile court and licensed pursuant to section 241.021;

(4) require the child to pay a fine of up to $100. The court shall order payment of the fine in a manner that will not impose undue financial hardship upon the child;

(5) require the child to participate in a community service project;

(6) order the child to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation and, if warranted by the evaluation, order participation by the child in a drug awareness program or an inpatient or outpatient chemical dependency treatment program;

(7) if the court believes that it is in the best interests of the child and of public safety that the child's driver's license or instruction permit be canceled, the court may order the commissioner of public safety to cancel the child's license or permit for any period up to the child's 18th birthday. If the child does not have a driver's license or permit, the court may order a denial of driving privileges for any period up to the child's 18th birthday. The court shall forward an order issued under this clause to the commissioner, who shall cancel the license or permit or deny driving privileges without a hearing for the period specified by the court. At any time before the expiration of the period of cancellation or denial, the court may, for good cause, order the commissioner of public safety to allow the child to apply for a license or permit, and the commissioner shall so authorize;

(8) order that the child's parent or legal guardian deliver the child to school at the beginning of each school day for a period of time specified by the court; or

(9) require the child to perform any other activities or participate in any other treatment programs deemed appropriate by the court.

To the extent practicable, the court shall enter a disposition order the same day it makes a finding that a child is in need of protection or services or neglected and in foster care, but in no event more than 15 days after the finding unless the court finds that the best interests of the child will be served by granting a delay. If the child was under eight years of age at the time the petition was filed, the disposition order must be entered within ten days of the finding and the court may not grant a delay unless good cause is shown and the court finds the best interests of the child will be served by the delay.

(c) If a child who is 14 years of age or older is adjudicated in need of protection or services because the child is a habitual truant and truancy procedures involving the child were previously dealt with by a school attendance review board or county attorney mediation program under section 260A.06 or 260A.07, the court shall order a cancellation or denial of driving privileges under paragraph (b), clause (7), for any period up to the child's 18th birthday.

(d) In the case of a child adjudicated in need of protection or services because the child has committed domestic abuse and been ordered excluded from the child's parent's home, the court shall dismiss jurisdiction if the court, at any time, finds the parent is able or willing to provide an alternative safe living arrangement for the child, as defined in Laws 1997, chapter 239, article 10, section 2.

Subd. 2. Written findings. Any order for a disposition authorized under this section shall contain written findings of fact to support the disposition and case plan ordered and shall also set forth in writing the following information:

(a) Why the best interests and safety of the child are served by the disposition and case plan ordered;

(b) What alternative dispositions or services under the case plan were considered by the court and why such dispositions or services were not appropriate in the instant case;

(c) How the court's disposition complies with the requirements of section 260C.193, 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 or that reasonable efforts were not required under section 260.012 or 260C.178, subdivision 1.

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.

Subd. 3. Domestic child abuse. (a) If the court finds that the child is a victim of domestic child abuse, as defined in section 260C.007, subdivision 20, it may order any of the following dispositions of the case in addition to or as alternatives to the dispositions authorized under subdivision 1:

(1) restrain any party from committing acts of domestic child abuse;

(2) exclude the abusing party from the dwelling which the family or household members share or from the residence of the child;

(3) on the same basis as is provided in chapter 518, establish temporary visitation with regard to minor children of the adult family or household members;

(4) on the same basis as is provided in chapter 518, establish temporary support or maintenance for a period of 30 days for minor children or a spouse;

(5) provide counseling or other social services for the family or household members; or

(6) order the abusing party to participate in treatment or counseling services.

Any relief granted by the order for protection shall be for a fixed period not to exceed one year.

(b) No order excluding the abusing party from the dwelling may be issued unless the court finds that:

(1) the order is in the best interests of the child or children remaining in the dwelling;

(2) a remaining adult family or household member is able to care adequately for the child or children in the absence of the excluded party; and

(3) the local welfare agency has developed a plan to provide appropriate social services to the remaining family or household members.

(c) Upon a finding that the remaining parent is able to care adequately for the child and enforce an order excluding the abusing party from the home and that the provision of supportive services by the responsible social services agency is no longer necessary, the responsible social services agency may be dismissed as a party to the proceedings. Orders entered regarding the abusing party remain in full force and effect and may be renewed by the remaining parent as necessary for the continued protection of the child for specified periods of time, not to exceed one year.

Subd. 4. Support orders. If the court issues an order for protection pursuant to section 260C.201, subdivision 3, excluding an abusing party from the dwelling who is the parent of a minor family or household member, it shall transfer the case file to the court which has jurisdiction over proceedings under chapter 518 for the purpose of establishing support or maintenance for minor children or a spouse, as provided in chapter 518, during the effective period of the order for protection. The court to which the case file is transferred shall schedule and hold a hearing on the establishment of support or maintenance within 30 days of the issuance of the order for protection. After an order for support or maintenance has been granted or denied, the case file shall be returned to the juvenile court, and the order for support or maintenance, if any, shall be incorporated into the order for protection.

Subd. 5. Visitation. If the court orders that the child be placed outside of the child's home or present residence, it shall set reasonable rules for supervised or unsupervised parental visitation that contribute to the objectives of the court order and the maintenance of the familial relationship. No parent may be denied visitation unless the court finds at the disposition hearing that the visitation would act to prevent the achievement of the order's objectives or that it would endanger the child's physical or emotional well-being. The court shall set reasonable rules for visitation for any relatives as defined in section 260C.193, subdivision 3, if visitation is consistent with the best interests of the child.

Subd. 6. Case plan. For each disposition ordered, the court shall order the appropriate agency to prepare a written case plan developed after consultation with any foster parents, and consultation with and participation by the child and the child's parent, guardian, or custodian, guardian ad litem, and tribal representative if the tribe has intervened. The case plan shall comply with the requirements of section 260C.212, where applicable. The case plan shall, among other matters, specify the actions to be taken by the child and the child's parent, guardian, foster parent, or custodian to ensure the child's safety and to comply with the court's disposition order, and the services to be offered and provided by the agency to the child and the child's parent, guardian, or custodian. The court shall review the case plan and, upon approving it, incorporate the plan into its disposition order. The court may review and modify the terms of the case plan in the manner provided in subdivision 2. For each disposition ordered, the written case plan shall specify what reasonable efforts shall be provided to the family. The case plan must include a discussion of:

(1) the availability of appropriate prevention and reunification services for the family to safely prevent the removal of the child from the home or to safely reunify the child with the family after removal;

(2) any services or resources that were requested by the child or the child's parent, guardian, foster parent, or custodian since the date of initial adjudication, and whether those services or resources were provided or the basis for denial of the services or resources;

(3) the need of the child and family for care, treatment, or rehabilitation;

(4) the need for participation by the parent, guardian, or custodian in the plan of care for the child;

(5) the visitation rights and obligations of the parent or other relatives, as defined in section 260C.193, subdivision 3, during any period when the child is placed outside the home;

(6) a description of any services that could safely prevent placement or reunify the family if such services were available; and

(7) the need for continued monitoring of the child and family by the appropriate local social services agency once the family has completed all services required in the case plan.

A party has a right to request a court review of the reasonableness of the case plan upon a showing of a substantial change of circumstances.

Subd. 7. Order duration. Subject to subdivisions 10 and 11, all orders under this section shall be for a specified length of time set by the court not to exceed one year. However, before the order has expired and upon its own motion or that of any interested party, the court shall, after notice to the parties and a hearing, renew the order for another year or make some other disposition of the case, until the individual is no longer a minor. Any person to whom legal custody is transferred shall report to the court in writing at such periods as the court may direct.

Subd. 8. Service of order. Any person who provides services to a child under a disposition order, or who is subject to the conditions of a disposition order, shall be served with a copy of the order in the manner provided in the rules for juvenile courts.

Subd. 9. Transfer of legal custody orders. When the court transfers legal custody of a child to any licensed child-placing agency or the local social services agency, it shall transmit with the order transferring legal custody a copy of its findings and a summary of its information concerning the child.

Subd. 10. Court review of out-of-home placements. (a) If the court places a child in a residential facility, as defined in section 260C.212, subdivision 1, the court shall review the out-of-home placement at least every six months to determine whether continued out-of-home placement is necessary and appropriate or whether the child should be returned home. The court shall review agency efforts pursuant to section 260C.215, subdivision 1, and order that the efforts continue if the agency has failed to perform the duties under that section. The court shall review the case plan and may modify the case plan as provided under subdivisions 6 and 7. If the court orders continued out-of-home placement, the court shall notify the parents of the provisions of subdivision 11.

(b) When the court determines that a permanent placement hearing is necessary because there is a likelihood that the child will not return to a parent's care, the court may authorize the agency with custody of the child to send the notice provided in section 260C.212, subdivision 5, paragraph (b), or may modify the requirements of the agency under section 260C.212, subdivision 5, paragraph (b), or may completely relieve the responsible social services agency of the requirements of section 260C.212, subdivision 5, paragraph (b), when the child is placed with an appropriate relative who wishes to provide a permanent home for the child. The actions ordered by the court under this section must be consistent with the best interests, safety, and welfare of the child.

Subd. 11. Review of court ordered placements; permanent placement determination. (a) Except for cases where the child is in placement due solely to the child's status as developmentally delayed under United States Code, title 42, section 6001(7), or emotionally handicapped under section 252.27 and where custody has not been transferred to the responsible social services agency, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine the permanent status of a child not later than 12 months after the child is placed out of the home of the parent, except that if the child was under eight years of age at the time the petition was filed, the hearing must be conducted no later than six months after the child is placed out of the home of the parent.

For purposes of this subdivision, the date of the child's placement out of the home of the parent is the earlier of the first court-ordered placement or 60 days after the date on which the child has been voluntarily placed out of the home.

For purposes of this subdivision, 12 months is calculated as follows:

(1) during the pendency of a petition alleging that a child is in need of protection or services, all time periods when a child is placed out of the home of the parent are cumulated;

(2) if a child has been placed out of the home of the parent within the previous five years, the lengths of all prior time periods when the child was placed out of the home within the previous five years are cumulated. If a child under this clause has been out of the home for 12 months or more, the court, if it is in the best interests of the child and for compelling reasons, may extend the total time the child may continue out of the home under the current petition up to an additional six months before making a permanency determination.

(b) Unless the responsible social services agency recommends return of the child to the custodial parent or parents, not later than 30 days prior to this hearing, the responsible social services agency shall file pleadings in juvenile court to establish the basis for the juvenile court to order permanent placement of the child according to paragraph (d). Notice of the hearing and copies of the pleadings must be provided pursuant to section 260C.152. If a termination of parental rights petition is filed before the date required for the permanency planning determination and there is a trial under section 260C.163 scheduled on that petition within 90 days of the filing of the petition, no hearing need be conducted under this subdivision.

(c) At the conclusion of the hearing, the court shall order the child returned home or order a permanent placement in the child's best interests. The "best interests of the child" means all relevant factors to be considered and evaluated.

(d) At a hearing under this subdivision, if the child was under eight years of age at the time the petition was filed alleging the child in need of protection or services, the court shall review the progress of the case and the case plan, including the provision of services. The court may order the local social services agency to show cause why it should not file a termination of parental rights petition. Cause may include, but is not limited to, the following conditions:

(1) the parents or guardians have maintained regular contact with the child, the parents are complying with the court-ordered case plan, and the child would benefit from continuing this relationship;

(2) grounds for termination under section 260C.301 do not exist; or

(3) the permanent plan for the child is transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative. When the permanent plan for the child is transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative, a petition supporting the plan shall be filed in juvenile court within 30 days of the hearing required under this subdivision and a hearing on the petition held within 30 days of the filing of the pleadings.

(e) If the child is not returned to the home, the court must order one of the following dispositions:

(1) permanent legal and physical custody to a relative in the best interests of the child. In transferring permanent legal and physical custody to a relative, the juvenile court shall follow the standards and procedures applicable under this chapter, chapter 260, or chapter 518. An order establishing permanent legal or physical custody under this subdivision must be filed with the family court. A transfer of legal and physical custody includes responsibility for the protection, education, care, and control of the child and decision making on behalf of the child. The social services agency may petition on behalf of the proposed custodian;

(2) termination of parental rights; unless the social services agency has already filed a petition for termination of parental rights under section 260C.307, the court may order such a petition filed and all the requirements of sections 260C.301 to 260C.328 remain applicable. An adoption completed subsequent to a determination under this subdivision may include an agreement for communication or contact under section 259.58; or

(3) long-term foster care; transfer of legal custody and adoption are preferred permanency options for a child who cannot return home. The court may order a child into long-term foster care only if it finds that neither an award of legal and physical custody to a relative, nor termination of parental rights nor adoption is in the child's best interests. Further, the court may only order long-term foster care for the child under this section if it finds the following:

(i) the child has reached age 12 and reasonable efforts by the responsible social services agency have failed to locate an adoptive family for the child; or

(ii) the child is a sibling of a child described in clause (i) and the siblings have a significant positive relationship and are ordered into the same long-term foster care home; or

(4) foster care for a specified period of time may be ordered only if:

(i) the sole basis for an adjudication that the child is in need of protection or services is the child's behavior; and

(ii) the court finds that foster care for a specified period of time is in the best interests of the child.

(f) In ordering a permanent placement of a child, the court must be governed by the best interests of the child, including a review of the relationship between the child and relatives and the child and other important persons with whom the child has resided or had significant contact.

(g) Once a permanent placement determination has been made and permanent placement has been established, further court reviews and dispositional hearings are only necessary if the placement is made under paragraph (e), clause (4), review is otherwise required by federal law, an adoption has not yet been finalized, or there is a disruption of the permanent or long-term placement.

(h) An order under this subdivision must include the following detailed findings:

(1) how the child's best interests are served by the order;

(2) the nature and extent of the responsible social service agency's reasonable efforts, or, in the case of an Indian child, active efforts to reunify the child with the parent or parents;

(3) the parent's or parents' efforts and ability to use services to correct the conditions which led to the out-of-home placement; and

(4) whether the conditions which led to the out-of-home placement have been corrected so that the child can return home.

(i) An order for permanent legal and physical custody of a child may be modified under sections 518.18 and 518.185. The social services agency is a party to the proceeding and must receive notice. An order for long-term foster care is reviewable upon motion and a showing by the parent of a substantial change in the parent's circumstances such that the parent could provide appropriate care for the child and that removal of the child from the child's permanent placement and the return to the parent's care would be in the best interest of the child.

(j) The court shall issue an order required under this section within 15 days of the close of the proceedings. The court may extend issuing the order an additional 15 days when necessary in the interests of justice and the best interests of the child.

Subd. 12. Continuance of case. If it is in the best interests of the child to do so and if the allegations contained in the petition have been admitted, or when a hearing has been held as provided in section 260C.163 and the allegations contained in the petition have been duly proven, before the entry of a finding of need for protection or services or a finding that a child is neglected and in foster care, the court may continue the case for a period not to exceed 90 days on any one order. Following the 90-day continuance:

(1) if both the parent and child have complied with the terms of the continuance, the case must be dismissed without an adjudication that the child is in need of protection or services or that the child is neglected and in foster care; or

(2) if either the parent or child has not complied with the terms of the continuance, the court shall adjudicate the child in need of protection or services or neglected and in foster care.

HIST: 1999 c 139 art 3 s 23; art 4 s 2; 1999 c 245 art 8 s 54-57; 2000 c 260 s 40