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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

260C.141 Petition.

Subdivision 1. Who may file; required form. (a) Any reputable person, including but not limited to any agent of the commissioner of human services, having knowledge of a child in this state or of a child who is a resident of this state, who appears to be in need of protection or services or neglected and in foster care, may petition the juvenile court in the manner provided in this section.

(b) A petition for a child in need of protection filed by an individual who is not a county attorney or an agent of the commissioner of human services shall be filed on a form developed by the state court administrator and provided to court administrators. Copies of the form may be obtained from the court administrator in each county. The court administrator shall review the petition before it is filed to determine that it is completed. The court administrator may reject the petition if it does not indicate that the petitioner has contacted the responsible social services agency.

An individual may file a petition under this subdivision without seeking internal review of the responsible social services agency's decision. The court shall determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a need for protection or services exists before the matter is set for hearing. If the matter is set for hearing, the court administrator shall notify the responsible social services agency by sending notice to the county attorney.

The petition must contain:

(1) a statement of facts that would establish, if proven, that there is a need for protection or services for the child named in the petition;

(2) a statement that petitioner has reported the circumstances underlying the petition to the responsible social services agency, and protection or services were not provided to the child;

(3) a statement whether there are existing juvenile or family court custody orders or pending proceedings in juvenile or family court concerning the child; and

(4) a statement of the relationship of the petitioner to the child and any other parties.

The court may not allow a petition to proceed under this paragraph if it appears that the sole purpose of the petition is to modify custody between the parents.

Subd. 2. Review of foster care status. Except for a child in foster care due solely to the child's developmental disability or emotional disturbance, when a child continues in voluntary placement according to section 260C.212, subdivision 8, a petition shall be filed alleging the child to be in need of protection or services or seeking termination of parental rights or other permanent placement of the child away from the parent within 90 days of the date of the voluntary placement agreement. The petition shall state the reasons why the child is in placement, the progress on the out-of-home placement plan required under section 260C.212, subdivision 1, and the statutory basis for the petition under section 260C.007, subdivision 6, 260C.201, subdivision 11, or 260C.301.

(1) In the case of a petition alleging the child to be in need of protection or services filed under this paragraph, if all parties agree and the court finds it is in the best interests of the child, the court may find the petition states a prima facie case that:

(i) the child's needs are being met;

(ii) the placement of the child in foster care is in the best interests of the child;

(iii) reasonable efforts to reunify the child and the parent or guardian are being made; and

(iv) the child will be returned home in the next three months.

(2) If the court makes findings under paragraph (1), the court shall approve the voluntary arrangement and continue the matter for up to three more months to ensure the child returns to the parents' home. The responsible social services agency shall:

(i) report to the court when the child returns home and the progress made by the parent on the out-of-home placement plan required under section 260C.212, in which case the court shall dismiss jurisdiction;

(ii) report to the court that the child has not returned home, in which case the matter shall be returned to the court for further proceedings under section 260C.163; or

(iii) if any party does not agree to continue the matter under this paragraph and paragraph (1), the matter shall proceed under section 260C.163.

Subd. 2a. Voluntary foster care placement. In the case of a child in voluntary placement due solely to the child's developmental disability or emotional disturbance according to section 260C.212, subdivision 9, a petition under subdivision 1 shall not be filed unless a child continues in foster care for 13 consecutive months from the date of the voluntary placement, in which case, the responsible social services agency shall proceed under clause (2). In lieu of filing a petition to obtain judicial review of a child's voluntary placement due solely to disability and within 165 days of the placement, the responsible social services agency must report to the court as follows:

(1) Report to court. (i) A written report shall be forwarded to the court within 165 days of the date of the voluntary placement agreement. The written report shall contain necessary identifying information for the court to proceed, a copy of the out-of-home placement plan required under section 260C.212, subdivision 1, a written summary of the proceedings of any administrative review required under section 260C.212, subdivision 7, and any other information the responsible social services agency, parent or guardian, the child or the foster parent or other residential facility wants the court to consider. In the case of a child in placement due solely to an emotional disturbance, the written report shall include as an attachment the child's individual treatment plan developed by the child's treatment professional, as provided in section 245.4871, subdivision 21, or the child's individual interagency intervention plan, as provided in section 125A.023, subdivision 3, paragraph (c). In the case of a child in placement due solely to a developmental disability, the written report shall include as an attachment the child's individual service plan, as provided in section 256B.092, subdivision 1b; the child's individual program plan, as provided in Minnesota Rules, part 9525.0004, subpart 11; the child's waiver care plan; or the child's individual interagency intervention plan, as provided in section 125A.023, subdivision 3, paragraph (c).

(ii) The responsible social services agency, where appropriate, must advise the child, parent or guardian, the foster parent, or representative of the residential facility of the requirements of this section and of their right to submit information to the court. If the child, parent or guardian, foster parent, or representative of the residential facility wants to send information to the court, the responsible social services agency shall advise those persons of the reporting date and the identifying information necessary for the court administrator to accept the information and submit it to a judge with the agency's report. The responsible social services agency must also notify those persons that they have the right to be heard in person by the court and how to exercise that right. The responsible social services agency must also provide notice that an in-court hearing will not be held unless requested by a parent or guardian, foster parent, or the child.

(iii) After receiving the required report, the court has jurisdiction to make the following determinations and must do so within ten days of receiving the forwarded report: (A) whether or not the placement of the child is in the child's best interests; and (B) whether the parent and agency are appropriately planning for the child. Unless requested by a parent or guardian, foster parent, or child, no in-court hearing shall be held in order for the court to make findings and issue an order under this paragraph.

(iv) If the court finds the placement is in the child's best interests and that the agency and parent are appropriately planning for the child, the court shall issue an order containing explicit, individualized findings to support its determination. The court shall send a copy of the order to the county attorney, the responsible social services agency, the parent or guardian, the child, and the foster parents. The court shall also send the parent or guardian, the child, and the foster parent notice of the required review under clause (2).

(v) If the court finds continuing the placement not to be in the child's best interests or that the agency or the parent or guardian is not appropriately planning for the child, the court shall notify the county attorney, the responsible social services agency, the parent or guardian, the foster parent, the child, and the county attorney of the court's determinations and the basis for the court's determinations.

(2) Permanency review by petition. If a child with a developmental disability or an emotional disturbance continues in out-of-home placement for 13 months from the date of a voluntary placement, a petition alleging the child to be in need of protection or services, for termination of parental rights, or for permanent placement of the child away from the parent under section 260C.201 shall be filed. The court shall conduct a permanency hearing on the petition no later than 14 months after the date of the voluntary placement. At the permanency hearing, the court shall determine the need for an order permanently placing the child away from the parent or determine whether there are compelling reasons that continued voluntary placement is in the child's best interests. A petition alleging the child to be in need of protection or services shall state the date of the voluntary placement agreement, the nature of the child's developmental disability or emotional disturbance, the plan for the ongoing care of the child, the parents' participation in the plan, the responsible social services agency's efforts to finalize a plan for the permanent placement of the child, and the statutory basis for the petition.

(i) If a petition alleging the child to be in need of protection or services is filed under this paragraph, the court may find, based on the contents of the sworn petition, and the agreement of all parties, including the child, where appropriate, that there are compelling reasons that the voluntary arrangement is in the best interests of the child and that the responsible social services agency has made reasonable efforts to finalize a plan for the permanent placement of the child, approve the continued voluntary placement, and continue the matter under the court's jurisdiction for the purpose of reviewing the child's placement as a continued voluntary arrangement every 12 months as long as the child continues in out-of-home placement.

(ii) When the court finds compelling reasons and approves the continued voluntary placement under this subdivision, the court shall not adjudicate the child in need of protection or services and shall not order the child placed in foster care or transfer legal custody of the child to the responsible social services agency. A finding that the court approves the continued voluntary placement means the responsible social services agency has continued legal responsibility for the child's placement due to the voluntary placement agreement and that the parent may terminate the voluntary agreement as provided in section 260C.212, subdivision 4, paragraph (c), clause (2), or, in the case of an Indian child, as provided in section 260.765, subdivision 4.

(iii) The matter must be returned to the court for further review every 12 months as long as the child remains in placement. The court shall give notice to the parent or guardian of the continued review requirements under this section. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to mean the court must order permanent placement for the child under section 260C.201, subdivision 11, as long as the court finds compelling reasons at the first review required under this section.

(iv) If a child diagnosed with developmental disability or emotional disturbance has been ordered into foster care under section 260C.178 or 260C.201 and the conditions which led to the court's order have been corrected so that the child could safely return to the care of the parent or guardian except for the child's need for continued placement to access necessary treatment or services, the responsible social services agency may file a motion with the court in the child in need of protection or services matter to vacate the finding that the child is in need of protection or services and to vacate the award of custody to the responsible agency. The motion shall be supported by affidavit setting forth: (A) the agency's reasonable efforts to finalize a permanent plan for the child including returning the child home; (B) the agency's compelling reasons why a permanent placement need not be ordered under section 260C.201, subdivision 11; and (C) why the voluntary placement is in the child's best interests. This motion must be filed no later than the time a permanency placement determination hearing is required under section 260C.201, subdivision 11. At the time scheduled for the court to hear the agency's motion, the parent or guardian and agency may execute a voluntary placement agreement when the court approves the child's continued foster care placement as a voluntary arrangement. The court may approve the continued foster care placement as a voluntary arrangement if it finds there are compelling reasons why continued placement on a voluntary basis is in the child's best interests and that the responsible social services agency has made reasonable efforts to finalize a plan for the permanent placement of the child. The matter shall continue under the court's jurisdiction for the purpose of reviewing the child's placement as a continued voluntary arrangement every 12 months as long as the child continues in out-of-home placement due solely to the child's disability. A finding that the court approves the continued voluntary placement means the responsible social services agency has continued legal responsibility for the child's placement due to the voluntary placement agreement and that the parent may terminate the voluntary agreement as provided in section 260C.212, subdivision 4, paragraph (c), clause (2), or, in the case of an Indian child, as provided in section 260.765, subdivision 4.

(v) If a petition for termination of parental rights, for transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative, for long-term foster care, or for foster care for a specified period of time is filed, the court must proceed under section 260C.201, subdivision 11.

(3) If any party, including the child, disagrees with the voluntary arrangement, the court shall proceed under section 260C.163.

Subd. 3. Child in need of protection or services; habitual truant. If there is a school attendance review board or county attorney mediation program operating in the child's school district, a petition alleging that a child is in need of protection or services as a habitual truant under section 260C.007, subdivision 6, clause (14), may not be filed until the applicable procedures under section 260A.06 or 260A.07 have been followed.

Subd. 4. Verification of petition. The petition shall be verified by the person having knowledge of the facts and may be on information and belief. Unless otherwise provided by this section or by rule or order of the court, the county attorney shall draft the petition upon the showing of reasonable grounds to support the petition.

Subd. 5. Form of petition. The petition and all subsequent court documents shall be entitled substantially as follows:

"Juvenile Court, County of .................

In the matter of the welfare of ..........."

The petition shall set forth plainly:

(a) The facts which bring the child within the jurisdiction of the court;

(b) The name, date of birth, residence, and post office address of the child;

(c) The names, residences, and post office addresses of the child's parents;

(d) The name, residence, and post office address of the child's guardian if there is one, of the person having custody or control of the child, and of the nearest known relative if no parent or guardian can be found;

(e) The spouse of the child, if there is one. If any of the facts required by the petition are not known or cannot be ascertained by the petitioner, the petition shall so state.

Subd. 6. Concurrent jurisdiction. When a petition is filed alleging that a child has engaged in prostitution as defined in section 609.321, subdivision 9, the county attorney shall determine whether concurrent jurisdiction is necessary to provide appropriate intervention and, if so, proceed to file a petition alleging the child to be both delinquent and in need of protection or services.

HIST: 1999 c 139 art 3 s 6; art 4 s 2; 1999 c 245 art 8 s 46; 2001 c 178 art 1 s 11,44; 2002 c 220 art 6 s 11; 2002 c 314 s 3; 1Sp2003 c 14 art 4 s 19; 2005 c 165 art 2 s 1