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Subdivision 1.Duties.

(a) Each ombudsperson shall monitor agency compliance with all laws governing child protection and placement, as they impact on children of color. In particular, the ombudsperson shall monitor agency compliance with sections 260C.215; 260.751 to 260.835; and 260C.193, subdivision 3.

(b) The ombudsperson shall work with local state courts to ensure that:

(1) court officials, public policy makers, and service providers are trained in cultural diversity. The ombudsperson shall document and monitor court activities in order to heighten awareness of diverse belief systems and family relationships;

(2) experts from the appropriate community of color including tribal advocates are used as court advocates and are consulted in placement decisions that involve children of color;

(3) guardians ad litem and other individuals from communities of color are recruited, trained, and used in court proceedings to advocate on behalf of children of color; and

(4) training programs for bilingual workers are provided.

Subd. 2.Powers.

Each ombudsperson has the authority to investigate decisions, acts, and other matters of an agency, program, or facility providing protection or placement services to children of color. In carrying out this authority and the duties in subdivision 1, each ombudsperson has the power to:

(1) prescribe the methods by which complaints are to be made, reviewed, and acted upon;

(2) determine the scope and manner of investigations to be made;

(3) investigate, upon a complaint or upon personal initiative, any action of any agency;

(4) request and be given access to any information in the possession of any agency deemed necessary for the discharge of responsibilities. The ombudsperson is authorized to set reasonable deadlines within which an agency must respond to requests for information. Data obtained from any agency under this clause shall retain the classification which it had under section 13.02 and shall be maintained and disseminated by the ombudsperson according to chapter 13;

(5) examine the records and documents of an agency;

(6) enter and inspect, during normal business hours, premises within the control of an agency; and

(7) subpoena any agency personnel to appear, testify, or produce documentary or other evidence which the ombudsperson deems relevant to a matter under inquiry, and may petition the appropriate state court to seek enforcement with the subpoena; provided, however, that any witness at a hearing or before an investigation as herein provided, shall possess the same privileges reserved to such a witness in the courts or under the laws of this state. The ombudsperson may compel nonagency individuals to testify or produce evidence according to procedures developed by the advisory board.

Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes