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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

260.755 DEFINITIONS.

Subdivision 1.Scope.

As used in sections 260.751 to 260.835, the following terms have the meanings given them.

Subd. 1a.Active efforts.

"Active efforts" means a rigorous and concerted level of effort that is ongoing throughout the involvement of the local social services agency to continuously involve the Indian child's tribe and that uses the prevailing social and cultural values, conditions, and way of life of the Indian child's tribe to preserve the Indian child's family and prevent placement of an Indian child and, if placement occurs, to return the Indian child to the child's family at the earliest possible time. Active efforts sets a higher standard than reasonable efforts to preserve the family, prevent breakup of the family, and reunify the family, according to section 260.762. Active efforts includes reasonable efforts as required by Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, United States Code, title 42, sections 670 to 679c.

Subd. 2.Administrative review.

"Administrative review" means review under section 260C.203.

Subd. 2a.Best interests of an Indian child.

"Best interests of an Indian child" means compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act to preserve and maintain an Indian child's family. The best interests of an Indian child support the child's sense of belonging to family, extended family, and tribe. The best interests of an Indian child are interwoven with the best interests of the Indian child's tribe.

Subd. 3.Child placement proceeding.

"Child placement proceeding" includes a judicial proceeding which could result in the following:

(a) "Adoptive placement" means the permanent placement of an Indian child for adoption, including an action resulting in a final decree of adoption.

(b) "Involuntary foster care placement" means an action removing an Indian child from its parents or Indian custodian for temporary placement in a foster home, institution, or the home of a guardian. The parent or Indian custodian cannot have the child returned upon demand, but parental rights have not been terminated.

(c) "Preadoptive placement" means the temporary placement of an Indian child in a foster home or institution after the termination of parental rights, before or instead of adoptive placement.

(d) "Termination of parental rights" means an action resulting in the termination of the parent-child relationship under section 260C.301.

The terms include placements based upon juvenile status offenses, but do not include a placement based upon an act which if committed by an adult would be deemed a crime, or upon an award of custody in a divorce proceeding to one of the parents.

Subd. 4.Commissioner.

"Commissioner" means the commissioner of human services.

Subd. 5.Demand.

"Demand" means a written and notarized statement signed by a parent or Indian custodian of a child which requests the return of the child who has been voluntarily placed in foster care.

Subd. 6.Family-based services.

"Family-based services" means intensive family-centered services to families primarily in their own home and for a limited time.

Subd. 7.Indian.

"Indian" means a person who is a member of an Indian tribe or an Alaskan native and a member of a regional corporation as defined in section 7 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, United States Code, title 43, section 1606.

Subd. 8.Indian child.

"Indian child" means an unmarried person who is under age 18 and is:

(1) a member of an Indian tribe; or

(2) eligible for membership in an Indian tribe.

A determination by a tribe that a child is a member of the Indian tribe or is eligible for membership in the Indian tribe is conclusive. For purposes of this chapter and chapters 256N, 260C, and 260D, Indian child also includes an unmarried person who satisfies either clause (1) or (2), is under age 21, and is in foster care pursuant to section 260C.451.

Subd. 9.Indian child's tribe.

"Indian child's tribe" means the Indian tribe in which an Indian child is a member or eligible for membership. In the case of an Indian child who is a member of or eligible for membership in more than one tribe, the Indian child's tribe is the tribe with which the Indian child has the most significant contacts. If that tribe does not express an interest in the outcome of the actions taken under sections 260.751 to 260.835 with respect to the child, any other tribe in which the child is eligible for membership that expresses an interest in the outcome may act as the Indian child's tribe.

Subd. 10.Indian custodian.

"Indian custodian" means an Indian person who has legal custody of an Indian child under tribal law or custom or under state law, or to whom temporary physical care, custody, and control has been transferred by the parent of the child.

Subd. 11.Indian organization.

"Indian organization" means an organization providing child welfare services that is legally incorporated as a nonprofit organization, is registered with the secretary of state, and is governed by a board of directors having at least a majority of Indian directors.

Subd. 12.Indian tribe.

"Indian tribe" means an Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians recognized as eligible for the services provided to Indians by the secretary because of their status as Indians, including any Native group under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, United States Code, title 43, section 1602.

Subd. 13.Local social services agency.

"Local social services agency" means the local agency under the authority of the county welfare or human services board or county board of commissioners which is responsible for human services.

Subd. 14.Parent.

"Parent" means the biological parent of an Indian child, or any Indian person who has lawfully adopted an Indian child, including a person who has adopted a child by tribal law or custom. Parent includes a father as defined by tribal law or custom. Parent does not include an unmarried father whose paternity has not been acknowledged or established. Paternity has been acknowledged when an unmarried father takes any action to hold himself out as the biological father of an Indian child.

Subd. 15.Permanency planning.

"Permanency planning" means the systematic process of carrying out, within a short time, a set of goal-oriented activities designed to help children live in families that offer continuity of relationships with nurturing parents or caretakers, and the opportunity to establish lifetime relationships.

Subd. 16.Placement prevention and family reunification services.

"Placement prevention and family reunification services" means services designed to help children remain with their families or to reunite children with their parents.

Subd. 17.Private child-placing agency.

"Private child-placing agency" means a private organization, association, or corporation providing assistance to children and parents in their own homes and placing children in foster care or for adoption.

Subd. 17a.Qualified expert witness.

"Qualified expert witness" means an individual who (1) has specific knowledge of the Indian child's tribe's culture and customs, or meets the criteria in section 260.771, subdivision 6, paragraph (d), and (2) provides testimony as required by the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, United States Code, title 25, section 1912, regarding out-of-home placement or termination of parental rights relating to an Indian child.

Subd. 18.Reservation.

"Reservation" means Indian country as defined in United States Code, title 18, section 1151, and any lands which are either held by the United States in trust for the benefit of an Indian tribe or individual, or held by an Indian tribe or individual subject to a restriction by the United States against alienation.

Subd. 19.Secretary.

"Secretary" means the secretary of the United States Department of the Interior.

Subd. 20.Tribal court.

"Tribal court" means a court with jurisdiction over child custody proceedings and which is either a court of Indian offenses, or a court established and operated under the code or custom of an Indian tribe, or any other administrative body of a tribe which is vested with authority over child custody proceedings. Except as provided in section 260.771, subdivision 5, nothing in this chapter shall be construed as conferring jurisdiction on an Indian tribe.

Subd. 21.Tribal social services agency.

"Tribal social services agency" means the unit under authority of the governing body of the Indian tribe which is responsible for human services.

Subd. 22.Voluntary foster care placement.

"Voluntary foster care placement" means a decision in which there has been participation by a local social services agency or private child-placing agency resulting in the temporary placement of an Indian child away from the home of the child's parents or Indian custodian in a foster home, institution, or the home of a guardian, and the parent or Indian custodian may have the child returned upon demand.