Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 260C

Section 260C.201

Topics

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 responsible 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:

(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; or

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

(i) a child-placing agency; or

(ii) the responsible social services agency. In placing a child whose custody has been transferred under this paragraph, the agencies shall make an individualized determination of how the placement is in the child's best interests using the consideration for relatives and the best interest factors in section 260C.212, subdivision 2, paragraph (b); or

(3) if the child has been adjudicated as a child in need of protection or services because the child is in need of special services or care to treat or ameliorate a physical or mental disability, the court may order the child's parent, guardian, or custodian to provide it. The court may order the child's health plan company to provide mental health services to the child. Section 62Q.535 applies to an order for mental health services directed to the child's health plan company. If the health plan, parent, guardian, or custodian fails or is unable to provide this treatment or care, the court may order it provided. Absent specific written findings by the court that the child's disability is the result of abuse or neglect by the child's parent or guardian, 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.

(e) When a parent has complied with a case plan ordered under subdivision 6 and the child is in the care of the parent, the court may order the responsible social services agency to monitor the parent's continued ability to maintain the child safely in the home under such terms and conditions as the court determines appropriate under the circumstances.

Subd. 2. Written findings. (a) 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:

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

(2) 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;

(3) When legal custody of the child is transferred, the appropriateness of the particular placement made or to be made by the placing agency using the factors in section 260C.212, subdivision 2, paragraph (b); and

(4) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) If the child has been identified by the responsible social services agency as the subject of concurrent permanency planning, the court shall review the reasonable efforts of the agency to recruit, identify, and make a placement in a home where the foster parent or relative that has committed to being the legally permanent home for the child in the event reunification efforts are not successful.

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 28, 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.007, subdivision 27, and with siblings of the child, if visitation is consistent with the best interests of the child.

Subd. 6. Case plan. (a) For each disposition ordered where the child is placed away from a parent or guardian, the court shall order the responsible social services agency to prepare a written out-of-home placement plan according to the requirements of section 260C.212, subdivision 1.

(b) In cases where the child is not placed out of the home or is ordered into the home of a noncustodial parent, the responsible social services agency shall prepare a plan for delivery of social services to the child and custodial parent under section 626.556, subdivision 10, or any other case plan required to meet the needs of the child. The plan shall be designed to safely maintain the child in the home or to reunite the child with the custodial parent.

(c) The court may approve the case plan as presented or modify it after hearing from the parties. Once the plan is approved, the court shall order all parties to comply with it. A copy of the approved case plan shall be attached to the court's order and incorporated into it by reference.

(d) 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 responsible social services agency receiving legal custody of a child shall report to the court at such periods as the court may direct and as required under juvenile court rules.

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 responsible 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 as required in juvenile court rules to determine whether continued out-of-home placement is necessary and appropriate or whether the child should be returned home.

(b) No later than six months after the child's out-of-home placement, the court shall review agency efforts pursuant to section 260C.212, subdivision 2, and order that the efforts continue if the agency has failed to perform the duties under that section.

(c) The court shall review the out-of-home placement plan and may modify the plan as provided under subdivisions 6 and 7.

(d) When the court orders out-of-home placement, the court shall notify the parents of the provisions of subdivisions 11 and 11a as required under juvenile court rules.

Subd. 11. Review of court-ordered placements; permanent placement determination. (a) This subdivision and subdivision 11a do not apply in cases where the child is in placement due solely to the child's developmental disability or emotional disturbance, where legal custody has not been transferred to the responsible social services agency, and where the court finds compelling reasons under section 260C.007, subdivision 8, to continue the child in foster care past the time periods specified in this subdivision. Foster care placements of children due solely to their disability are governed by section 260C.141, subdivision 2b. In all other cases where the child is in foster care or in the care of a noncustodial parent under subdivision 1, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine the permanent status of a child not later than 12 months after the child is placed in foster care or in the care of a noncustodial parent.

For purposes of this subdivision, the date of the child's placement in foster care is the earlier of the first court-ordered placement or 60 days after the date on which the child has been voluntarily placed in foster care by the child's parent or guardian. For purposes of this subdivision, time spent by a child under the protective supervision of the responsible social services agency in the home of a noncustodial parent pursuant to an order under subdivision 1 counts towards the requirement of a permanency hearing under this subdivision or subdivision 11a.

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 in foster care or in the home of a noncustodial parent are cumulated;

(2) if a child has been placed in foster care within the previous five years under one or more previous petitions, the lengths of all prior time periods when the child was placed in foster care within the previous five years are cumulated. If a child under this clause has been in foster care 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 to the care of the parent or guardian from whom the child was removed 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. Transfer of permanent legal and physical custody, termination of parental rights, or guardianship and legal custody to the commissioner through a consent to adopt are preferred permanency options for a child who cannot return home.

(d) 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 according to the following conditions:

(i) an order for transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative shall only be made after the court has reviewed the suitability of the prospective legal and physical custodian;

(ii) in transferring permanent legal and physical custody to a relative, the juvenile court shall follow the standards applicable under this chapter and chapter 260, and the procedures set out in the juvenile court rules;

(iii) an order establishing permanent legal and physical custody under this subdivision must be filed with the family court;

(iv) 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;

(v) the social services agency may bring a petition or motion naming a fit and willing relative as a proposed permanent legal and physical custodian. The commissioner of human services shall annually prepare for counties information that must be given to proposed custodians about their legal rights and obligations as custodians together with information on financial and medical benefits for which the child is eligible; and

(vi) the juvenile court may maintain jurisdiction over the responsible social services agency, the parents or guardian of the child, the child, and the permanent legal and physical custodian for purposes of ensuring appropriate services are delivered to the child and permanent legal custodian or for the purpose of ensuring conditions ordered by the court related to the care and custody of the child are met;

(2) termination of parental rights according to the following conditions:

(i) 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; and

(ii) an adoption completed subsequent to a determination under this subdivision may include an agreement for communication or contact under section 259.58;

(3) long-term foster care according to the following conditions:

(i) the court may order a child into long-term foster care only if it finds compelling reasons that neither an award of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative, nor termination of parental rights is in the child's best interests; and

(ii) further, the court may only order long-term foster care for the child under this section if it finds the following:

(A) 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

(B) the child is a sibling of a child described in subitem (A) and the siblings have a significant positive relationship and are ordered into the same long-term foster care home;

(4) foster care for a specified period of time according to the following conditions:

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

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

(B) the court finds that foster care for a specified period of time is in the best interests of the child; and

(C) the court finds compelling reasons that neither an award of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative, nor termination of parental rights is in the child's best interests;

(ii) the order does not specify that the child continue in foster care for any period exceeding one year; or

(5) guardianship and legal custody to the commissioner of human services under the following procedures and conditions:

(i) there is an identified prospective adoptive home that has agreed to adopt the child and the court accepts the parent's voluntary consent to adopt under section 259.24;

(ii) if the court accepts a consent to adopt in lieu of ordering one of the other enumerated permanency dispositions, the court must review the matter at least every 90 days. The review will address the reasonable efforts of the agency to achieve a finalized adoption;

(iii) a consent to adopt under this clause vests all legal authority regarding the child, including guardianship and legal custody of the child, with the commissioner of human services as if the child were a state ward after termination of parental rights;

(iv) the court must forward a copy of the consent to adopt, together with a certified copy of the order transferring guardianship and legal custody to the commissioner, to the commissioner; and

(v) if an adoption is not finalized by the identified prospective adoptive parent within 12 months of the execution of the consent to adopt under this clause, the commissioner of human services or the commissioner's delegate shall pursue adoptive placement in another home unless the commissioner certifies that the failure to finalize is not due to either an action or a failure to act by the prospective adoptive parent.

(e) 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.

(f) Once a permanent placement determination has been made and permanent placement has been established, further court reviews are necessary if:

(1) the placement is long-term foster care or foster care for a specified period of time;

(2) the court orders further hearings because it has retained jurisdiction of a transfer of permanent legal and physical custody matter;

(3) an adoption has not yet been finalized; or

(4) there is a disruption of the permanent or long-term placement.

(g) Court reviews of an order for long-term foster care, whether under this section or section 260C.317, subdivision 3, paragraph (d), or foster care for a specified period of time must be conducted at least yearly and must review the child's out-of-home placement plan and the reasonable efforts of the agency to:

(1) identify a specific long-term foster home for the child or a specific foster home for the time the child is specified to be out of the care of the parent, if one has not already been identified;

(2) support continued placement of the child in the identified home, if one has been identified;

(3) ensure appropriate services are provided to the child during the period of long-term foster care or foster care for a specified period of time;

(4) plan for the child's independence upon the child's leaving long-term foster care living as required under section 260C.212, subdivision 1; and

(5) where placement is for a specified period of time, a plan for the safe return of the child to the care of the parent.

(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. A parent may only seek modification of an order for long-term foster care 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. 11a. Permanency review for children under eight. (a) Hearing to review progress of the case. If the child was under eight years of age at the time the petition was filed alleging the child was in need of protection or services, and the child continues in placement out of the home of the parent or guardian from whom the child was removed, no later than six months after the child's placement the court shall conduct a permanency hearing to review the progress of the case, the parent's progress on the out-of-home placement plan, and the provision of services.

(b) County attorney and responsible agency's duties. Based on its assessment of the parent's or guardian's progress on the out-of-home placement plan, the responsible social services agency must ask the county attorney to file a petition for termination of parental rights, a petition for transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative, or the report required under juvenile court rules.

(c) Court's findings. (1) If the parent or guardian has maintained contact with the child and is complying with the court-ordered out-of-home placement plan, and if the child would benefit from reunification with the parent, the court may either:

(i) return the child home, if the conditions which led to the out-of-home placement have been sufficiently mitigated that it is safe and in the child's best interests to return home; or

(ii) continue the matter up to a total of six additional months. If the child has not returned home by the end of the additional six months, the court must conduct a hearing according to subdivision 11.

(2) If the court determines that the parent or guardian is not complying with the out-of-home placement plan or is not maintaining regular contact with the child as outlined in the visitation plan required as part of the out-of-home placement plan under section 260C.212, the court may order the responsible social services agency to develop a plan for permanent placement of the child away from the parent and to file a petition to support an order for the permanent placement plan.

(d) Responsible agency's or county attorney's duties. Following the review under paragraphs (b) and (c):

(1) if the court has either returned the child home or continued the matter up to a total of six additional months, the agency shall continue to provide services to support the child's return home or to make reasonable efforts to achieve reunification of the child and the parent as ordered by the court under an approved case plan;

(2) if the court orders the agency to develop a plan for the transfer of permanent legal and physical custody of the child 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 trial on the petition held within 30 days of the filing of the pleadings; or

(3) if the court orders the agency to file a termination of parental rights, unless the county attorney can show cause why a termination of parental rights petition should not be filed, a petition for termination of parental rights shall be filed in juvenile court within 30 days of the hearing required under this subdivision and a trial on the petition held within 90 days of the filing of the petition.

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; 2001 c 178 art 1 s 16-23,44; 1Sp2001 c 9 art 9 s 47; 2002 c 304 s 7; 2002 c 379 art 1 s 113; 2004 c 288 art 3 s 29