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Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Summary of 2012 Foster Care Legislation in MN, part 1

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Significant changes were made to the foster care statutes in the last legislative session. This post will summarize part of the new legislation changes, and more will come in a future post.

Several definitions were amended:

  • "Child" was amended to include references to other statutes allowing youth to remain in foster care to age 21.
  • "Sibling" was amended to "one of two or more individuals who have one or both parents in common through blood, marriage or adoption, including siblings as defined by the child's tribal code or custom."
Juvenile Court
Amendments were made regarding juvenile court to include its jurisdiction for youth up to age 21 in child welfare and permanency, and to include adoption proceedings in juvenile court.

Emergency protective custody hearing amendments include:

  • Reasonable efforts to prevent placement are NOT required if a parent has committed sexual abuse against their child or another child, or is a registered sexual predator.
  • The court may order chemical dependency, mental health, medical or parenting assessments/evaluations as the court deems necessary as a means of supporting the development of a reunification plan.
  • Out of Home Placement plans must be based on the results of the emergency protective custody hearing, and the agency must make reasonable efforts to engage both parents (including paternal) in case planning.
Out of Home Placement Plan
The term "residential facility" was replaced with "foster care" and includes
  • family foster homes (both relative and non-relative),
  • group homes,
  • emergency shelters,
  • residential facilities (not otherwise excluded),
  • child care institutions, and
  • pre-adoptive homes.
Agencies are now required to document their efforts to keep the child in the same school if a placement change occurs.

Duties of the commissioner and the child-placing agency
Changes to the legislation include:

  • Training for prospective foster and adoptive parents now must specifically include preparing parents to care for the needs of foster and adoptive children.
  • Home studies must follow the commissioner's designated format.
  • The home study must provide the information needed for agencies to determine the family's capacity to meet the needs of a child based on the best interest factors.
  • Licensing agencies may provide the updated adoption home study for their foster families who want to adopt.
  • Prospective adoptive parents with approved home studies may have their foster care license applied through the same agency.
One of the aspects of the new legislation that struck me in particular was the following section. Chapter 260C was amended to broaden child protection to include juvenile protection. This includes adding juvenile protection proceedings including CHIPS, permanency, TPR, post-permanency reviews and adoption. Juvenile protection proceedings are intended to ensure permanency planning.

Additions to section 260C also include permanency planning for children in foster care that includes both a primary plan for reunification with parents and a secondary plan for an alternative permanent legal home in the case that reunification "cannot be achieved in a timely manner." Reasonable efforts include:

  • Locating and assessing both parents,
  • Identifying and notifying relatives, and
  • Placement with a caregiver that supports concurrent permanency efforts.
The new legislation also includes the expressed prioritization that adoption is the preferred permanency option, whether by a relative or non-relative. The next best option if adoption is not possible or in the child's best interest is a transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative.

**What are your thoughts about adoption being prioritized in statute as the preferred permanency option? What are the political and/or social biases that led to this expressed change in the law? What are the potential outcomes for families?****

2 Comments

I am just getting introduced to all of the changes implemented in the foster care legislation in MN, as do find the for slightly radical, even though, do not see nothing bad in securing the life of the foster children. But have to express my approvement of prioritizing the adoption in statute as the preferred permanency option, because that again, creates more security for the child, not a fear of being left at one or other point in life. I am going to get familiar with the rest of tha changes in detailes.

this is horrible.
it ties the judges hands and
upsets future placements.
st.louis county was just informed of the ramifications.

instead of being able to choose bettween the parents and grandma ( mom took 2 kids(2 and 3) from dad and about 2 months later had them removed from her care with a CHIPS/abuse case)

mom had priority and the county worked with her about 8 months, dad entered the case with grandma as a backup. grandma has relative gardianship if dads 10 yr old during times he is at college.the 10 yr old is from a prior relationship.

mom is sure to get terminated, however they choose to try and terminate dad as well for
the length of time out of home ( about 400 days at that point.)

under the old system the judgcould leave mom and dad with some visitation rights and place with there grandma

under the new system BOTH parents must be terminated AND termination proceedings must start wirthin 30 days AGAINST ALL OTHER CHILDREN OR FUTURE CHILDREN. this would mean my eldest could be taken for grandma.

then GRANDMA must try to prove not why she is a good option, BUT WHY THE FOSTER PARENTS/ADOPTIVE PARENTS ARE "BAD". SHE MUST ALSO GET ALL THE CERTIFICATIONS OF A LICENCED FOSTER/ADOPTIVE HOME.

THIS MECHANIZES THE THEFTY OF CHILDREN FROM FAMILY AND CREATES A BIASED SYSTEM.

PLEASE CONTYACT YOUR REPRESENATIVE TO REPEAL THIS.

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