Subdivision 1.Public policy.

The legislature hereby declares that the public policy of this state is to protect children whose health or welfare may be jeopardized through physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse. While it is recognized that most parents want to keep their children safe, sometimes circumstances or conditions interfere with their ability to do so. When this occurs, families are best served by interventions that engage their protective capacities and address immediate safety concerns and ongoing risks of child maltreatment. In furtherance of this public policy, it is the intent of the legislature under this section to strengthen the family and make the home, school, and community safe for children by promoting responsible child care in all settings; and to provide, when necessary, a safe temporary or permanent home environment for physically or sexually abused or neglected children.

In addition, it is the policy of this state to require the reporting of neglect, physical or sexual abuse of children in the home, school, and community settings; to provide for the voluntary reporting of abuse or neglect of children; to require a family assessment, when appropriate, as the preferred response to reports not alleging substantial child endangerment; to require an investigation when the report alleges substantial child endangerment; and to provide protective, family support, and family preservation services when needed in appropriate cases.

Subd. 2.Definitions.

As used in this section, the following terms have the meanings given them unless the specific content indicates otherwise:

(a) “Family assessment” means a comprehensive assessment of child safety, risk of subsequent child maltreatment, and family strengths and needs that is applied to a child maltreatment report that does not allege substantial child endangerment. Family assessment does not include a determination as to whether child maltreatment occurred but does determine the need for services to address the safety of family members and the risk of subsequent maltreatment.

(b) “Investigation” means fact gathering related to the current safety of a child and the risk of subsequent maltreatment that determines whether child maltreatment occurred and whether child protective services are needed. An investigation must be used when reports involve substantial child endangerment, and for reports of maltreatment in facilities required to be licensed under chapter 245A or 245B; under sections 144.50 to 144.58 and 241.021; in a school as defined in sections 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, and 13, and 124D.10; or in a nonlicensed personal care provider association as defined in sections 256B.04, subdivision 16, and 256B.0625, subdivision 19a.

(c) “Substantial child endangerment” means a person responsible for a child’s care, and in the case of sexual abuse includes a person who has a significant relationship to the child as defined in section 609.341, or a person in a position of authority as defined in section 609.341, who by act or omission commits or attempts to commit an act against a child under their care that constitutes any of the following:

(1) egregious harm as defined in section 260C.007, subdivision 14;

(2) sexual abuse as defined in paragraph (d);

(3) abandonment under section 260C.301, subdivision 2;

(4) neglect as defined in paragraph (f), clause (2), that substantially endangers the child’s physical or mental health, including a growth delay, which may be referred to as failure to thrive, that has been diagnosed by a physician and is due to parental neglect;

(5) murder in the first, second, or third degree under section 609.185, 609.19, or 609.195;

(6) manslaughter in the first or second degree under section 609.20 or 609.205;

(7) assault in the first, second, or third degree under section 609.221, 609.222, or 609.223;

(8) solicitation, inducement, and promotion of prostitution under section 609.322;

(9) criminal sexual conduct under sections 609.342 to 609.3451;

(10) solicitation of children to engage in sexual conduct under section 609.352;

(11) malicious punishment or neglect or endangerment of a child under section 609.377 or 609.378;

(12) use of a minor in sexual performance under section 617.246; or

(13) parental behavior, status, or condition which mandates that the county attorney file a termination of parental rights petition under section 260C.503, subdivision 2.

(d) “Sexual abuse” means the subjection of a child by a person responsible for the child’s care, by a person who has a significant relationship to the child, as defined in section 609.341, or by a person in a position of authority, as defined in section 609.341, subdivision 10, to any act which constitutes a violation of section 609.342 (criminal sexual conduct in the first degree), 609.343 (criminal sexual conduct in the second degree), 609.344 (criminal sexual conduct in the third degree), 609.345 (criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree), or 609.3451 (criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree). Sexual abuse also includes any act which involves a minor which constitutes a violation of prostitution offenses under sections 609.321 to 609.324 or 617.246. Sexual abuse includes threatened sexual abuse which includes the status of a parent or household member who has committed a violation which requires registration as an offender under section 243.166, subdivision 1b, paragraph (a) or (b), or required registration under section 243.166, subdivision 1b, paragraph (a) or (b).

(e) “Person responsible for the child’s care” means (1) an individual functioning within the family unit and having responsibilities for the care of the child such as a parent, guardian, or other person having similar care responsibilities, or (2) an individual functioning outside the family unit and having responsibilities for the care of the child such as a teacher, school administrator, other school employees or agents, or other lawful custodian of a child having either full-time or short-term care responsibilities including, but not limited to, day care, babysitting whether paid or unpaid, counseling, teaching, and coaching.

(f) “Neglect” means the commission or omission of any of the acts specified under clauses (1) to (9), other than by accidental means:

(1) failure by a person responsible for a child’s care to supply a child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, health, medical, or other care required for the child’s physical or mental health when reasonably able to do so;

(2) failure to protect a child from conditions or actions that seriously endanger the child’s physical or mental health when reasonably able to do so, including a growth delay, which may be referred to as a failure to thrive, that has been diagnosed by a physician and is due to parental neglect;

(3) failure to provide for necessary supervision or child care arrangements appropriate for a child after considering factors as the child’s age, mental ability, physical condition, length of absence, or environment, when the child is unable to care for the child’s own basic needs or safety, or the basic needs or safety of another child in their care;

(4) failure to ensure that the child is educated as defined in sections 120A.22 and 260C.163, subdivision 11, which does not include a parent’s refusal to provide the parent’s child with sympathomimetic medications, consistent with section 125A.091, subdivision 5;

(5) nothing in this section shall be construed to mean that a child is neglected solely because the child’s parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s care in good faith selects and depends upon spiritual means or prayer for treatment or care of disease or remedial care of the child in lieu of medical care; except that a parent, guardian, or caretaker, or a person mandated to report pursuant to subdivision 3, has a duty to report if a lack of medical care may cause serious danger to the child’s health. This section does not impose upon persons, not otherwise legally responsible for providing a child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care, a duty to provide that care;

(6) prenatal exposure to a controlled substance, as defined in section 253B.02, subdivision 2, used by the mother for a nonmedical purpose, as evidenced by withdrawal symptoms in the child at birth, results of a toxicology test performed on the mother at delivery or the child at birth, medical effects or developmental delays during the child’s first year of life that medically indicate prenatal exposure to a controlled substance, or the presence of a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder;

(7) “medical neglect” as defined in section 260C.007, subdivision 6, clause (5);

(8) chronic and severe use of alcohol or a controlled substance by a parent or person responsible for the care of the child that adversely affects the child’s basic needs and safety; or

(9) emotional harm from a pattern of behavior which contributes to impaired emotional functioning of the child which may be demonstrated by a substantial and observable effect in the child’s behavior, emotional response, or cognition that is not within the normal range for the child’s age and stage of development, with due regard to the child’s culture.

(g) “Physical abuse” means any physical injury, mental injury, or threatened injury, inflicted by a person responsible for the child’s care on a child other than by accidental means, or any physical or mental injury that cannot reasonably be explained by the child’s history of injuries, or any aversive or deprivation procedures, or regulated interventions, that have not been authorized under section 121A.67 or 245.825.

Abuse does not include reasonable and moderate physical discipline of a child administered by a parent or legal guardian which does not result in an injury. Abuse does not include the use of reasonable force by a teacher, principal, or school employee as allowed by section 121A.582. Actions which are not reasonable and moderate include, but are not limited to, any of the following that are done in anger or without regard to the safety of the child:

(1) throwing, kicking, burning, biting, or cutting a child;

(2) striking a child with a closed fist;

(3) shaking a child under age three;

(4) striking or other actions which result in any nonaccidental injury to a child under 18 months of age;

(5) unreasonable interference with a child’s breathing;

(6) threatening a child with a weapon, as defined in section 609.02, subdivision 6;

(7) striking a child under age one on the face or head;

(8) purposely giving a child poison, alcohol, or dangerous, harmful, or controlled substances which were not prescribed for the child by a practitioner, in order to control or punish the child; or other substances that substantially affect the child’s behavior, motor coordination, or judgment or that results in sickness or internal injury, or subjects the child to medical procedures that would be unnecessary if the child were not exposed to the substances;

(9) unreasonable physical confinement or restraint not permitted under section 609.379, including but not limited to tying, caging, or chaining; or

(10) in a school facility or school zone, an act by a person responsible for the child’s care that is a violation under section 121A.58.

(h) “Report” means any report received by the local welfare agency, police department, county sheriff, or agency responsible for assessing or investigating maltreatment pursuant to this section.

(i) “Facility” means:

(1) a licensed or unlicensed day care facility, residential facility, agency, hospital, sanitarium, or other facility or institution required to be licensed under sections 144.50 to 144.58, 241.021, or 245A.01 to 245A.16, or chapter 245D;

(2) a school as defined in sections 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, and 13; and 124D.10; or

(3) a nonlicensed personal care provider organization as defined in sections 256B.04, subdivision 16, and 256B.0625, subdivision 19a.

(j) “Operator” means an operator or agency as defined in section 245A.02.

(k) “Commissioner” means the commissioner of human services.

(l) “Practice of social services,” for the purposes of subdivision 3, includes but is not limited to employee assistance counseling and the provision of guardian ad litem and parenting time expeditor services.

(m) “Mental injury” means an injury to the psychological capacity or emotional stability of a child as evidenced by an observable or substantial impairment in the child’s ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior with due regard to the child’s culture.

(n) “Threatened injury” means a statement, overt act, condition, or status that represents a substantial risk of physical or sexual abuse or mental injury. Threatened injury includes, but is not limited to, exposing a child to a person responsible for the child’s care, as defined in paragraph (e), clause (1), who has:

(1) subjected a child to, or failed to protect a child from, an overt act or condition that constitutes egregious harm, as defined in section 260C.007, subdivision 14, or a similar law of another jurisdiction;

(2) been found to be palpably unfit under section 260C.301, subdivision 1, paragraph (b), clause (4), or a similar law of another jurisdiction;

(3) committed an act that has resulted in an involuntary termination of parental rights under section 260C.301, or a similar law of another jurisdiction; or

(4) committed an act that has resulted in the involuntary transfer of permanent legal and physical custody of a child to a relative under Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 260C.201, subdivision 11, paragraph (d), clause (1), section 260C.515, subdivision 4, or a similar law of another jurisdiction.

A child is the subject of a report of threatened injury when the responsible social services agency receives birth match data under paragraph (o) from the Department of Human Services.

(o) Upon receiving data under section 144.225, subdivision 2b, contained in a birth record or recognition of parentage identifying a child who is subject to threatened injury under paragraph (n), the Department of Human Services shall send the data to the responsible social services agency. The data is known as “birth match” data. Unless the responsible social services agency has already begun an investigation or assessment of the report due to the birth of the child or execution of the recognition of parentage and the parent’s previous history with child protection, the agency shall accept the birth match data as a report under this section. The agency may use either a family assessment or investigation to determine whether the child is safe. All of the provisions of this section apply. If the child is determined to be safe, the agency shall consult with the county attorney to determine the appropriateness of filing a petition alleging the child is in need of protection or services under section 260C.007, subdivision 6, clause (16), in order to deliver needed services. If the child is determined not to be safe, the agency and the county attorney shall take appropriate action as required under section 260C.503, subdivision 2.

(p) Persons who conduct assessments or investigations under this section shall take into account accepted child-rearing practices of the culture in which a child participates and accepted teacher discipline practices, which are not injurious to the child’s health, welfare, and safety.

(q) “Accidental” means a sudden, not reasonably foreseeable, and unexpected occurrence or event which:

(1) is not likely to occur and could not have been prevented by exercise of due care; and

(2) if occurring while a child is receiving services from a facility, happens when the facility and the employee or person providing services in the facility are in compliance with the laws and rules relevant to the occurrence or event.

(r) “Nonmaltreatment mistake” means:

(1) at the time of the incident, the individual was performing duties identified in the center’s child care program plan required under Minnesota Rules, part 9503.0045;

(2) the individual has not been determined responsible for a similar incident that resulted in a finding of maltreatment for at least seven years;

(3) the individual has not been determined to have committed a similar nonmaltreatment mistake under this paragraph for at least four years;

(4) any injury to a child resulting from the incident, if treated, is treated only with remedies that are available over the counter, whether ordered by a medical professional or not; and

(5) except for the period when the incident occurred, the facility and the individual providing services were both in compliance with all licensing requirements relevant to the incident.

This definition only applies to child care centers licensed under Minnesota Rules, chapter 9503. If clauses (1) to (5) apply, rather than making a determination of substantiated maltreatment by the individual, the commissioner of human services shall determine that a nonmaltreatment mistake was made by the individual.

Subd. 3.Persons mandated to report.

(a) A person who knows or has reason to believe a child is being neglected or physically or sexually abused, as defined in subdivision 2, or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused within the preceding three years, shall immediately report the information to the local welfare agency, agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report, police department, or the county sheriff if the person is:

(1) a professional or professional’s delegate who is engaged in the practice of the healing arts, social services, hospital administration, psychological or psychiatric treatment, child care, education, correctional supervision, probation and correctional services, or law enforcement; or

(2) employed as a member of the clergy and received the information while engaged in ministerial duties, provided that a member of the clergy is not required by this subdivision to report information that is otherwise privileged under section 595.02, subdivision 1, paragraph (c).

The police department or the county sheriff, upon receiving a report, shall immediately notify the local welfare agency or agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report, orally and in writing. The local welfare agency, or agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report, upon receiving a report, shall immediately notify the local police department or the county sheriff orally and in writing. The county sheriff and the head of every local welfare agency, agency responsible for assessing or investigating reports, and police department shall each designate a person within their agency, department, or office who is responsible for ensuring that the notification duties of this paragraph and paragraph (b) are carried out. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to require more than one report from any institution, facility, school, or agency.

(b) Any person may voluntarily report to the local welfare agency, agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report, police department, or the county sheriff if the person knows, has reason to believe, or suspects a child is being or has been neglected or subjected to physical or sexual abuse. The police department or the county sheriff, upon receiving a report, shall immediately notify the local welfare agency or agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report, orally and in writing. The local welfare agency or agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report, upon receiving a report, shall immediately notify the local police department or the county sheriff orally and in writing.

(c) A person mandated to report physical or sexual child abuse or neglect occurring within a licensed facility shall report the information to the agency responsible for licensing the facility under sections 144.50 to 144.58; 241.021; 245A.01 to 245A.16; or chapter 245D; or a nonlicensed personal care provider organization as defined in sections 256B.04, subdivision 16; and 256B.0625, subdivision 19. A health or corrections agency receiving a report may request the local welfare agency to provide assistance pursuant to subdivisions 10, 10a, and 10b. A board or other entity whose licensees perform work within a school facility, upon receiving a complaint of alleged maltreatment, shall provide information about the circumstances of the alleged maltreatment to the commissioner of education. Section 13.03, subdivision 4, applies to data received by the commissioner of education from a licensing entity.

(d) Any person mandated to report shall receive a summary of the disposition of any report made by that reporter, including whether the case has been opened for child protection or other services, or if a referral has been made to a community organization, unless release would be detrimental to the best interests of the child. Any person who is not mandated to report shall, upon request to the local welfare agency, receive a concise summary of the disposition of any report made by that reporter, unless release would be detrimental to the best interests of the child.

(e) For purposes of this section, “immediately” means as soon as possible but in no event longer than 24 hours.

Subd. 3a.Report of deprivation of parental rights or kidnapping.

A person mandated to report under subdivision 3, who knows or has reason to know of a violation of section 609.25 or 609.26, shall report the information to the local police department or the county sheriff. Receipt by a local welfare agency of a report or notification of a report of a violation of section 609.25 or 609.26 shall not be construed to invoke the duties of subdivision 10, 10a, or 10b.

Subd. 3b.Agency responsible for assessing or investigating reports of maltreatment.

The Department of Education is the agency responsible for assessing or investigating allegations of child maltreatment in schools as defined in sections 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, and 13; and 124D.10.

Subd. 3c.Local welfare agency, Department of Human Services or Department of Health responsible for assessing or investigating reports of maltreatment.

(a) The county local welfare agency is the agency responsible for assessing or investigating allegations of maltreatment in child foster care, family child care, legally unlicensed child care, juvenile correctional facilities licensed under section 241.021 located in the local welfare agency’s county, and reports involving children served by an unlicensed personal care provider organization under section 256B.0659. Copies of findings related to personal care provider organizations under section 256B.0659 must be forwarded to the Department of Human Services provider enrollment.

(b) The Department of Human Services is the agency responsible for assessing or investigating allegations of maltreatment in facilities licensed under chapters 245A and 245B, except for child foster care and family child care.

(c) The Department of Health is the agency responsible for assessing or investigating allegations of child maltreatment in facilities licensed under sections 144.50 to 144.58 and 144A.46.

(d) The commissioners of human services, public safety, and education must jointly submit a written report by January 15, 2007, to the education policy and finance committees of the legislature recommending the most efficient and effective allocation of agency responsibility for assessing or investigating reports of maltreatment and must specifically address allegations of maltreatment that currently are not the responsibility of a designated agency.

Subd. 3d.Authority to interview.

The agency responsible for assessing or investigating reports of child maltreatment has the authority to interview the child, the person or persons responsible for the child’s care, the alleged perpetrator, and any other person with knowledge of the abuse or neglect for the purpose of gathering the facts, assessing safety and risk to the child, and formulating a plan.

Subd. 3e.Agency responsible for assessing or investigating reports of sexual abuse.

The local welfare agency is the agency responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse if the alleged offender is the parent, guardian, sibling, or an individual functioning within the family unit as a person responsible for the child’s care, or a person with a significant relationship to the child if that person resides in the child’s household.

Subd. 3f.Law enforcement agency responsible for investigating maltreatment.

The local law enforcement agency has responsibility for investigating any report of child maltreatment if a violation of a criminal statute is alleged. Law enforcement and the responsible agency must coordinate their investigations or assessments as required under subdivision 10.

Subd. 4.Immunity from liability.

(a) The following persons are immune from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise might result from their actions, if they are acting in good faith:

(1) any person making a voluntary or mandated report under subdivision 3 or under section 626.5561 or assisting in an assessment under this section or under section 626.5561;

(2) any person with responsibility for performing duties under this section or supervisor employed by a local welfare agency, the commissioner of an agency responsible for operating or supervising a licensed or unlicensed day care facility, residential facility, agency, hospital, sanitarium, or other facility or institution required to be licensed under sections 144.50 to 144.58; 241.021; 245A.01 to 245A.16; or 245B, or a school as defined in sections 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, and 13; and 124D.10; or a nonlicensed personal care provider organization as defined in sections 256B.04, subdivision 16; and 256B.0625, subdivision 19a, complying with subdivision 10d; and

(3) any public or private school, facility as defined in subdivision 2, or the employee of any public or private school or facility who permits access by a local welfare agency, the Department of Education, or a local law enforcement agency and assists in an investigation or assessment pursuant to subdivision 10 or under section 626.5561.

(b) A person who is a supervisor or person with responsibility for performing duties under this section employed by a local welfare agency, the commissioner of human services, or the commissioner of education complying with subdivisions 10 and 11 or section 626.5561 or any related rule or provision of law is immune from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise result from the person’s actions, if the person is (1) acting in good faith and exercising due care, or (2) acting in good faith and following the information collection procedures established under subdivision 10, paragraphs (h), (i), and (j).

(c) This subdivision does not provide immunity to any person for failure to make a required report or for committing neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse of a child.

(d) If a person who makes a voluntary or mandatory report under subdivision 3 prevails in a civil action from which the person has been granted immunity under this subdivision, the court may award the person attorney fees and costs.

Subd. 4a.Retaliation prohibited.

(a) An employer of any person required to make reports under subdivision 3 shall not retaliate against the person for reporting in good faith abuse or neglect pursuant to this section, or against a child with respect to whom a report is made, because of the report.

(b) The employer of any person required to report under subdivision 3 who retaliates against the person because of a report of abuse or neglect is liable to that person for actual damages and, in addition, a penalty up to $10,000.

(c) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that any adverse action within 90 days of a report is retaliatory. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “adverse action” refers to action taken by an employer of a person required to report under subdivision 3 which is involved in a report against the person making the report or the child with respect to whom the report was made because of the report, and includes, but is not limited to:

(1) discharge, suspension, termination, or transfer from the facility, institution, school, or agency;

(2) discharge from or termination of employment;

(3) demotion or reduction in remuneration for services; or

(4) restriction or prohibition of access to the facility, institution, school, agency, or persons affiliated with it.

Subd. 5.Malicious and reckless reports.

Any person who knowingly or recklessly makes a false report under the provisions of this section shall be liable in a civil suit for any actual damages suffered by the person or persons so reported and for any punitive damages set by the court or jury, plus costs and reasonable attorney fees.

Subd. 6.Failure to report.

(a) A person mandated by this section to report who knows or has reason to believe that a child is neglected or physically or sexually abused, as defined in subdivision 2, or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused within the preceding three years, and fails to report is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) A person mandated by this section to report who knows or has reason to believe that two or more children not related to the perpetrator have been physically or sexually abused, as defined in subdivision 2, by the same perpetrator within the preceding ten years, and fails to report is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

(c) A parent, guardian, or caretaker who knows or reasonably should know that the child’s health is in serious danger and who fails to report as required by subdivision 2, paragraph (c), is guilty of a gross misdemeanor if the child suffers substantial or great bodily harm because of the lack of medical care. If the child dies because of the lack of medical care, the person is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than two years or to payment of a fine of not more than $4,000, or both. The provision in section 609.378, subdivision 1, paragraph (a), clause (1), providing that a parent, guardian, or caretaker may, in good faith, select and depend on spiritual means or prayer for treatment or care of a child, does not exempt a parent, guardian, or caretaker from the duty to report under this subdivision.

Subd. 6a.Failure to notify.

If a local welfare agency receives a report under subdivision 3, paragraph (a) or (b) and fails to notify the local police department or county sheriff as required by subdivision 3, paragraph (a) or (b), the person within the agency who is responsible for ensuring that notification is made shall be subject to disciplinary action in keeping with the agency’s existing policy or collective bargaining agreement on discipline of employees. If a local police department or a county sheriff receives a report under subdivision 3, paragraph (a) or (b) and fails to notify the local welfare agency as required by subdivision 3, paragraph (a) or (b), the person within the police department or county sheriff’s office who is responsible for ensuring that notification is made shall be subject to disciplinary action in keeping with the agency’s existing policy or collective bargaining agreement on discipline of employees.

Subd. 7.Report; information provided to parent.

(a) An oral report shall be made immediately by telephone or otherwise. An oral report made by a person required under subdivision 3 to report shall be followed within 72 hours, exclusive of weekends and holidays, by a report in writing to the appropriate police department, the county sheriff, the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report, or the local welfare agency, unless the appropriate agency has informed the reporter that the oral information does not constitute a report under subdivision 10. The local welfare agency shall determine if the report is accepted for an assessment or investigation as soon as possible but in no event longer than 24 hours after the report is received. Any report shall be of sufficient content to identify the child, any person believed to be responsible for the abuse or neglect of the child if the person is known, the nature and extent of the abuse or neglect and the name and address of the reporter. If requested, the local welfare agency or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report shall inform the reporter within ten days after the report is made, either orally or in writing, whether the report was accepted for assessment or investigation. Written reports received by a police department or the county sheriff shall be forwarded immediately to the local welfare agency or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report. The police department or the county sheriff may keep copies of reports received by them. Copies of written reports received by a local welfare department or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report shall be forwarded immediately to the local police department or the county sheriff.

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the commissioner of education must inform the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child who is the subject of a report of alleged maltreatment in a school facility within ten days of receiving the report, either orally or in writing, whether the commissioner is assessing or investigating the report of alleged maltreatment.

(c) Regardless of whether a report is made under this subdivision, as soon as practicable after a school receives information regarding an incident that may constitute maltreatment of a child in a school facility, the school shall inform the parent, legal guardian, or custodian of the child that an incident has occurred that may constitute maltreatment of the child, when the incident occurred, and the nature of the conduct that may constitute maltreatment.

(d) A written copy of a report maintained by personnel of agencies, other than welfare or law enforcement agencies, which are subject to chapter 13 shall be confidential. An individual subject of the report may obtain access to the original report as provided by subdivision 11.

Subd. 8.Evidence not privileged.

No evidence relating to the neglect or abuse of a child or to any prior incidents of neglect or abuse involving any of the same persons accused of neglect or abuse shall be excluded in any proceeding arising out of the alleged neglect or physical or sexual abuse on the grounds of privilege set forth in section 595.02, subdivision 1, paragraph (a), (d), or (g).

Subd. 9.Mandatory reporting to medical examiner or coroner.

When a person required to report under the provisions of subdivision 3 knows or has reason to believe a child has died as a result of neglect or physical or sexual abuse, the person shall report that information to the appropriate medical examiner or coroner instead of the local welfare agency, police department, or county sheriff. Medical examiners or coroners shall notify the local welfare agency or police department or county sheriff in instances in which they believe that the child has died as a result of neglect or physical or sexual abuse. The medical examiner or coroner shall complete an investigation as soon as feasible and report the findings to the police department or county sheriff and the local welfare agency. If the child was receiving services or treatment for mental illness, developmentally disabled, chemical dependency, or emotional disturbance from an agency, facility, or program as defined in section 245.91, the medical examiner or coroner shall also notify and report findings to the ombudsman established under sections 245.91 to 245.97.

Subd. 10.Duties of local welfare agency and local law enforcement agency upon receipt of report.

(a) Upon receipt of a report, the local welfare agency shall determine whether to conduct a family assessment or an investigation as appropriate to prevent or provide a remedy for child maltreatment. The local welfare agency:

(1) shall conduct an investigation on reports involving substantial child endangerment;

(2) shall begin an immediate investigation if, at any time when it is using a family assessment response, it determines that there is reason to believe that substantial child endangerment or a serious threat to the child’s safety exists;

(3) may conduct a family assessment for reports that do not allege substantial child endangerment. In determining that a family assessment is appropriate, the local welfare agency may consider issues of child safety, parental cooperation, and the need for an immediate response; and

(4) may conduct a family assessment on a report that was initially screened and assigned for an investigation. In determining that a complete investigation is not required, the local welfare agency must document the reason for terminating the investigation and notify the local law enforcement agency if the local law enforcement agency is conducting a joint investigation.

If the report alleges neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, or individual functioning within the family unit as a person responsible for the child’s care, or sexual abuse by a person with a significant relationship to the child when that person resides in the child’s household or by a sibling, the local welfare agency shall immediately conduct a family assessment or investigation as identified in clauses (1) to (4). In conducting a family assessment or investigation, the local welfare agency shall gather information on the existence of substance abuse and domestic violence and offer services for purposes of preventing future child maltreatment, safeguarding and enhancing the welfare of the abused or neglected minor, and supporting and preserving family life whenever possible. If the report alleges a violation of a criminal statute involving sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect or endangerment, under section 609.378, the local law enforcement agency and local welfare agency shall coordinate the planning and execution of their respective investigation and assessment efforts to avoid a duplication of fact-finding efforts and multiple interviews. Each agency shall prepare a separate report of the results of its investigation. In cases of alleged child maltreatment resulting in death, the local agency may rely on the fact-finding efforts of a law enforcement investigation to make a determination of whether or not maltreatment occurred. When necessary the local welfare agency shall seek authority to remove the child from the custody of a parent, guardian, or adult with whom the child is living. In performing any of these duties, the local welfare agency shall maintain appropriate records.

If the family assessment or investigation indicates there is a potential for abuse of alcohol or other drugs by the parent, guardian, or person responsible for the child’s care, the local welfare agency shall conduct a chemical use assessment pursuant to Minnesota Rules, part 9530.6615.

(b) When a local agency receives a report or otherwise has information indicating that a child who is a client, as defined in section 245.91, has been the subject of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect at an agency, facility, or program as defined in section 245.91, it shall, in addition to its other duties under this section, immediately inform the ombudsman established under sections 245.91 to 245.97. The commissioner of education shall inform the ombudsman established under sections 245.91 to 245.97 of reports regarding a child defined as a client in section 245.91 that maltreatment occurred at a school as defined in sections 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, and 13, and 124D.10.

(c) Authority of the local welfare agency responsible for assessing or investigating the child abuse or neglect report, the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report, and of the local law enforcement agency for investigating the alleged abuse or neglect includes, but is not limited to, authority to interview, without parental consent, the alleged victim and any other minors who currently reside with or who have resided with the alleged offender. The interview may take place at school or at any facility or other place where the alleged victim or other minors might be found or the child may be transported to, and the interview conducted at, a place appropriate for the interview of a child designated by the local welfare agency or law enforcement agency. The interview may take place outside the presence of the alleged offender or parent, legal custodian, guardian, or school official. For family assessments, it is the preferred practice to request a parent or guardian’s permission to interview the child prior to conducting the child interview, unless doing so would compromise the safety assessment. Except as provided in this paragraph, the parent, legal custodian, or guardian shall be notified by the responsible local welfare or law enforcement agency no later than the conclusion of the investigation or assessment that this interview has occurred. Notwithstanding rule 32 of the Minnesota Rules of Procedure for Juvenile Courts, the juvenile court may, after hearing on an ex parte motion by the local welfare agency, order that, where reasonable cause exists, the agency withhold notification of this interview from the parent, legal custodian, or guardian. If the interview took place or is to take place on school property, the order shall specify that school officials may not disclose to the parent, legal custodian, or guardian the contents of the notification of intent to interview the child on school property, as provided under this paragraph, and any other related information regarding the interview that may be a part of the child’s school record. A copy of the order shall be sent by the local welfare or law enforcement agency to the appropriate school official.

(d) When the local welfare, local law enforcement agency, or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating a report of maltreatment determines that an interview should take place on school property, written notification of intent to interview the child on school property must be received by school officials prior to the interview. The notification shall include the name of the child to be interviewed, the purpose of the interview, and a reference to the statutory authority to conduct an interview on school property. For interviews conducted by the local welfare agency, the notification shall be signed by the chair of the local social services agency or the chair’s designee. The notification shall be private data on individuals subject to the provisions of this paragraph. School officials may not disclose to the parent, legal custodian, or guardian the contents of the notification or any other related information regarding the interview until notified in writing by the local welfare or law enforcement agency that the investigation or assessment has been concluded, unless a school employee or agent is alleged to have maltreated the child. Until that time, the local welfare or law enforcement agency or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating a report of maltreatment shall be solely responsible for any disclosures regarding the nature of the assessment or investigation.

Except where the alleged offender is believed to be a school official or employee, the time and place, and manner of the interview on school premises shall be within the discretion of school officials, but the local welfare or law enforcement agency shall have the exclusive authority to determine who may attend the interview. The conditions as to time, place, and manner of the interview set by the school officials shall be reasonable and the interview shall be conducted not more than 24 hours after the receipt of the notification unless another time is considered necessary by agreement between the school officials and the local welfare or law enforcement agency. Where the school fails to comply with the provisions of this paragraph, the juvenile court may order the school to comply. Every effort must be made to reduce the disruption of the educational program of the child, other students, or school staff when an interview is conducted on school premises.

(e) Where the alleged offender or a person responsible for the care of the alleged victim or other minor prevents access to the victim or other minor by the local welfare agency, the juvenile court may order the parents, legal custodian, or guardian to produce the alleged victim or other minor for questioning by the local welfare agency or the local law enforcement agency outside the presence of the alleged offender or any person responsible for the child’s care at reasonable places and times as specified by court order.

(f) Before making an order under paragraph (e), the court shall issue an order to show cause, either upon its own motion or upon a verified petition, specifying the basis for the requested interviews and fixing the time and place of the hearing. The order to show cause shall be served personally and shall be heard in the same manner as provided in other cases in the juvenile court. The court shall consider the need for appointment of a guardian ad litem to protect the best interests of the child. If appointed, the guardian ad litem shall be present at the hearing on the order to show cause.

(g) The commissioner of human services, the ombudsman for mental health and developmental disabilities, the local welfare agencies responsible for investigating reports, the commissioner of education, and the local law enforcement agencies have the right to enter facilities as defined in subdivision 2 and to inspect and copy the facility’s records, including medical records, as part of the investigation. Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 13, they also have the right to inform the facility under investigation that they are conducting an investigation, to disclose to the facility the names of the individuals under investigation for abusing or neglecting a child, and to provide the facility with a copy of the report and the investigative findings.

(h) The local welfare agency responsible for conducting a family assessment or investigation shall collect available and relevant information to determine child safety, risk of subsequent child maltreatment, and family strengths and needs and share not public information with an Indian’s tribal social services agency without violating any law of the state that may otherwise impose duties of confidentiality on the local welfare agency in order to implement the tribal state agreement. The local welfare agency or the agency responsible for investigating the report shall collect available and relevant information to ascertain whether maltreatment occurred and whether protective services are needed. Information collected includes, when relevant, information with regard to the person reporting the alleged maltreatment, including the nature of the reporter’s relationship to the child and to the alleged offender, and the basis of the reporter’s knowledge for the report; the child allegedly being maltreated; the alleged offender; the child’s caretaker; and other collateral sources having relevant information related to the alleged maltreatment. The local welfare agency or the agency responsible for investigating the report may make a determination of no maltreatment early in an investigation, and close the case and retain immunity, if the collected information shows no basis for a full investigation.

Information relevant to the assessment or investigation must be asked for, and may include:

(1) the child’s sex and age, prior reports of maltreatment, information relating to developmental functioning, credibility of the child’s statement, and whether the information provided under this clause is consistent with other information collected during the course of the assessment or investigation;

(2) the alleged offender’s age, a record check for prior reports of maltreatment, and criminal charges and convictions. The local welfare agency or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report must provide the alleged offender with an opportunity to make a statement. The alleged offender may submit supporting documentation relevant to the assessment or investigation;

(3) collateral source information regarding the alleged maltreatment and care of the child. Collateral information includes, when relevant: (i) a medical examination of the child; (ii) prior medical records relating to the alleged maltreatment or the care of the child maintained by any facility, clinic, or health care professional and an interview with the treating professionals; and (iii) interviews with the child’s caretakers, including the child’s parent, guardian, foster parent, child care provider, teachers, counselors, family members, relatives, and other persons who may have knowledge regarding the alleged maltreatment and the care of the child; and

(4) information on the existence of domestic abuse and violence in the home of the child, and substance abuse.

Nothing in this paragraph precludes the local welfare agency, the local law enforcement agency, or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report from collecting other relevant information necessary to conduct the assessment or investigation. Notwithstanding sections 13.384 or 144.291 to 144.298, the local welfare agency has access to medical data and records for purposes of clause (3). Notwithstanding the data’s classification in the possession of any other agency, data acquired by the local welfare agency or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report during the course of the assessment or investigation are private data on individuals and must be maintained in accordance with subdivision 11. Data of the commissioner of education collected or maintained during and for the purpose of an investigation of alleged maltreatment in a school are governed by this section, notwithstanding the data’s classification as educational, licensing, or personnel data under chapter 13.

In conducting an assessment or investigation involving a school facility as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (i), the commissioner of education shall collect investigative reports and data that are relevant to a report of maltreatment and are from local law enforcement and the school facility.

(i) Upon receipt of a report, the local welfare agency shall conduct a face-to-face contact with the child reported to be maltreated and with the child’s primary caregiver sufficient to complete a safety assessment and ensure the immediate safety of the child. The face-to-face contact with the child and primary caregiver shall occur immediately if substantial child endangerment is alleged and within five calendar days for all other reports. If the alleged offender was not already interviewed as the primary caregiver, the local welfare agency shall also conduct a face-to-face interview with the alleged offender in the early stages of the assessment or investigation. At the initial contact, the local child welfare agency or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report must inform the alleged offender of the complaints or allegations made against the individual in a manner consistent with laws protecting the rights of the person who made the report. The interview with the alleged offender may be postponed if it would jeopardize an active law enforcement investigation.

(j) When conducting an investigation, the local welfare agency shall use a question and answer interviewing format with questioning as nondirective as possible to elicit spontaneous responses. For investigations only, the following interviewing methods and procedures must be used whenever possible when collecting information:

(1) audio recordings of all interviews with witnesses and collateral sources; and

(2) in cases of alleged sexual abuse, audio-video recordings of each interview with the alleged victim and child witnesses.

(k) In conducting an assessment or investigation involving a school facility as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (i), the commissioner of education shall collect available and relevant information and use the procedures in paragraphs (i), (k), and subdivision 3d, except that the requirement for face-to-face observation of the child and face-to-face interview of the alleged offender is to occur in the initial stages of the assessment or investigation provided that the commissioner may also base the assessment or investigation on investigative reports and data received from the school facility and local law enforcement, to the extent those investigations satisfy the requirements of paragraphs (i) and (k), and subdivision 3d.

Subd. 10a.Law enforcement agency responsibility for investigation; welfare agency reliance on law enforcement fact-finding; welfare agency offer of services.

(a) If the report alleges neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse by a person who is not a parent, guardian, sibling, person responsible for the child’s care functioning within the family unit, or a person who lives in the child’s household and who has a significant relationship to the child, in a setting other than a facility as defined in subdivision 2, the local welfare agency shall immediately notify the appropriate law enforcement agency, which shall conduct an investigation of the alleged abuse or neglect if a violation of a criminal statute is alleged.

(b) The local agency may rely on the fact-finding efforts of the law enforcement investigation conducted under this subdivision to make a determination whether or not threatened injury or other maltreatment has occurred under subdivision 2 if an alleged offender has minor children or lives with minors.

(c) If a child is the victim of an alleged crime under paragraph (a), the law enforcement agency shall immediately notify the local welfare agency, which shall offer appropriate social services for the purpose of safeguarding and enhancing the welfare of the abused or neglected minor.

Subd. 10b.Duties of commissioner; neglect or abuse in facility.

(a) This section applies to the commissioners of human services, health, and education. The commissioner of the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report shall immediately assess or investigate if the report alleges that:

(1) a child who is in the care of a facility as defined in subdivision 2 is neglected, physically abused, sexually abused, or is the victim of maltreatment in a facility by an individual in that facility, or has been so neglected or abused, or been the victim of maltreatment in a facility by an individual in that facility within the three years preceding the report; or

(2) a child was neglected, physically abused, sexually abused, or is the victim of maltreatment in a facility by an individual in a facility defined in subdivision 2, while in the care of that facility within the three years preceding the report.

The commissioner of the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report shall arrange for the transmittal to the commissioner of reports received by local agencies and may delegate to a local welfare agency the duty to investigate reports. In conducting an investigation under this section, the commissioner has the powers and duties specified for local welfare agencies under this section. The commissioner of the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report or local welfare agency may interview any children who are or have been in the care of a facility under investigation and their parents, guardians, or legal custodians.

(b) Prior to any interview, the commissioner of the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report or local welfare agency shall notify the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child who will be interviewed in the manner provided for in subdivision 10d, paragraph (a). If reasonable efforts to reach the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child in an out-of-home placement have failed, the child may be interviewed if there is reason to believe the interview is necessary to protect the child or other children in the facility. The commissioner of the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report or local agency must provide the information required in this subdivision to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child interviewed without parental notification as soon as possible after the interview. When the investigation is completed, any parent, guardian, or legal custodian notified under this subdivision shall receive the written memorandum provided for in subdivision 10d, paragraph (c).

(c) In conducting investigations under this subdivision the commissioner or local welfare agency shall obtain access to information consistent with subdivision 10, paragraphs (h), (i), and (j). In conducting assessments or investigations under this subdivision, the commissioner of education shall obtain access to reports and investigative data that are relevant to a report of maltreatment and are in the possession of a school facility as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (i), notwithstanding the classification of the data as educational or personnel data under chapter 13. This includes, but is not limited to, school investigative reports, information concerning the conduct of school personnel alleged to have committed maltreatment of students, information about witnesses, and any protective or corrective action taken by the school facility regarding the school personnel alleged to have committed maltreatment.

(d) The commissioner may request assistance from the local social services agency.

Subd. 10c.Duties of local social service agency upon receipt of report of medical neglect.

If the report alleges medical neglect as defined in section 260C.007, subdivision 6, clause (5), the local welfare agency shall, in addition to its other duties under this section, immediately consult with designated hospital staff and with the parents of the infant to verify that appropriate nutrition, hydration, and medication are being provided; and shall immediately secure an independent medical review of the infant’s medical charts and records and, if necessary, seek a court order for an independent medical examination of the infant. If the review or examination leads to a conclusion of medical neglect, the agency shall intervene on behalf of the infant by initiating legal proceedings under section 260C.141 and by filing an expedited motion to prevent the withholding of medically indicated treatment.

Subd. 10d.Notification of neglect or abuse in facility.

(a) When a report is received that alleges neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or maltreatment of a child while in the care of a licensed or unlicensed day care facility, residential facility, agency, hospital, sanitarium, or other facility or institution required to be licensed according to sections 144.50 to 144.58; 241.021; or 245A.01 to 245A.16; or chapter 245D, or a school as defined in sections 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, and 13; and 124D.10; or a nonlicensed personal care provider organization as defined in section 256B.04, subdivision 16, and 256B.0625, subdivision 19a, the commissioner of the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report or local welfare agency investigating the report shall provide the following information to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child alleged to have been neglected, physically abused, sexually abused, or the victim of maltreatment of a child in the facility: the name of the facility; the fact that a report alleging neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or maltreatment of a child in the facility has been received; the nature of the alleged neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or maltreatment of a child in the facility; that the agency is conducting an assessment or investigation; any protective or corrective measures being taken pending the outcome of the investigation; and that a written memorandum will be provided when the investigation is completed.

(b) The commissioner of the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report or local welfare agency may also provide the information in paragraph (a) to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of any other child in the facility if the investigative agency knows or has reason to believe the alleged neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or maltreatment of a child in the facility has occurred. In determining whether to exercise this authority, the commissioner of the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report or local welfare agency shall consider the seriousness of the alleged neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or maltreatment of a child in the facility; the number of children allegedly neglected, physically abused, sexually abused, or victims of maltreatment of a child in the facility; the number of alleged perpetrators; and the length of the investigation. The facility shall be notified whenever this discretion is exercised.

(c) When the commissioner of the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report or local welfare agency has completed its investigation, every parent, guardian, or legal custodian previously notified of the investigation by the commissioner or local welfare agency shall be provided with the following information in a written memorandum: the name of the facility investigated; the nature of the alleged neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or maltreatment of a child in the facility; the investigator’s name; a summary of the investigation findings; a statement whether maltreatment was found; and the protective or corrective measures that are being or will be taken. The memorandum shall be written in a manner that protects the identity of the reporter and the child and shall not contain the name, or to the extent possible, reveal the identity of the alleged perpetrator or of those interviewed during the investigation. If maltreatment is determined to exist, the commissioner or local welfare agency shall also provide the written memorandum to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of each child in the facility who had contact with the individual responsible for the maltreatment. When the facility is the responsible party for maltreatment, the commissioner or local welfare agency shall also provide the written memorandum to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of each child who received services in the population of the facility where the maltreatment occurred. This notification must be provided to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of each child receiving services from the time the maltreatment occurred until either the individual responsible for maltreatment is no longer in contact with a child or children in the facility or the conclusion of the investigation. In the case of maltreatment within a school facility, as defined in sections 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, and 13, and 124D.10, the commissioner of education need not provide notification to parents, guardians, or legal custodians of each child in the facility, but shall, within ten days after the investigation is completed, provide written notification to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of any student alleged to have been maltreated. The commissioner of education may notify the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of any student involved as a witness to alleged maltreatment.

Subd. 10e.Determinations.

(a) The local welfare agency shall conclude the family assessment or the investigation within 45 days of the receipt of a report. The conclusion of the assessment or investigation may be extended to permit the completion of a criminal investigation or the receipt of expert information requested within 45 days of the receipt of the report.

(b) After conducting a family assessment, the local welfare agency shall determine whether services are needed to address the safety of the child and other family members and the risk of subsequent maltreatment.

(c) After conducting an investigation, the local welfare agency shall make two determinations: first, whether maltreatment has occurred; and second, whether child protective services are needed. No determination of maltreatment shall be made when the alleged perpetrator is a child under the age of ten.

(d) If the commissioner of education conducts an assessment or investigation, the commissioner shall determine whether maltreatment occurred and what corrective or protective action was taken by the school facility. If a determination is made that maltreatment has occurred, the commissioner shall report to the employer, the school board, and any appropriate licensing entity the determination that maltreatment occurred and what corrective or protective action was taken by the school facility. In all other cases, the commissioner shall inform the school board or employer that a report was received, the subject of the report, the date of the initial report, the category of maltreatment alleged as defined in paragraph (f), the fact that maltreatment was not determined, and a summary of the specific reasons for the determination.

(e) When maltreatment is determined in an investigation involving a facility, the investigating agency shall also determine whether the facility or individual was responsible, or whether both the facility and the individual were responsible for the maltreatment using the mitigating factors in paragraph (i). Determinations under this subdivision must be made based on a preponderance of the evidence and are private data on individuals or nonpublic data as maintained by the commissioner of education.

(f) For the purposes of this subdivision, “maltreatment” means any of the following acts or omissions:

(1) physical abuse as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (g);

(2) neglect as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (f);

(3) sexual abuse as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (d);

(4) mental injury as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (m); or

(5) maltreatment of a child in a facility as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (i).

(g) For the purposes of this subdivision, a determination that child protective services are needed means that the local welfare agency has documented conditions during the assessment or investigation sufficient to cause a child protection worker, as defined in section 626.559, subdivision 1, to conclude that a child is at significant risk of maltreatment if protective intervention is not provided and that the individuals responsible for the child’s care have not taken or are not likely to take actions to protect the child from maltreatment or risk of maltreatment.

(h) This subdivision does not mean that maltreatment has occurred solely because the child’s parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s care in good faith selects and depends upon spiritual means or prayer for treatment or care of disease or remedial care of the child, in lieu of medical care. However, if lack of medical care may result in serious danger to the child’s health, the local welfare agency may ensure that necessary medical services are provided to the child.

(i) When determining whether the facility or individual is the responsible party, or whether both the facility and the individual are responsible for determined maltreatment in a facility, the investigating agency shall consider at least the following mitigating factors:

(1) whether the actions of the facility or the individual caregivers were according to, and followed the terms of, an erroneous physician order, prescription, individual care plan, or directive; however, this is not a mitigating factor when the facility or caregiver was responsible for the issuance of the erroneous order, prescription, individual care plan, or directive or knew or should have known of the errors and took no reasonable measures to correct the defect before administering care;

(2) comparative responsibility between the facility, other caregivers, and requirements placed upon an employee, including the facility’s compliance with related regulatory standards and the adequacy of facility policies and procedures, facility training, an individual’s participation in the training, the caregiver’s supervision, and facility staffing levels and the scope of the individual employee’s authority and discretion; and

(3) whether the facility or individual followed professional standards in exercising professional judgment.

The evaluation of the facility’s responsibility under clause (2) must not be based on the completeness of the risk assessment or risk reduction plan required under section 245A.66, but must be based on the facility’s compliance with the regulatory standards for policies and procedures, training, and supervision as cited in Minnesota Statutes and Minnesota Rules.

(j) Notwithstanding paragraph (i), when maltreatment is determined to have been committed by an individual who is also the facility license holder, both the individual and the facility must be determined responsible for the maltreatment, and both the background study disqualification standards under section 245C.15, subdivision 4, and the licensing actions under sections 245A.06 or 245A.07 apply.

(k) Individual counties may implement more detailed definitions or criteria that indicate which allegations to investigate, as long as a county’s policies are consistent with the definitions in the statutes and rules and are approved by the county board. Each local welfare agency shall periodically inform mandated reporters under subdivision 3 who work in the county of the definitions of maltreatment in the statutes and rules and any additional definitions or criteria that have been approved by the county board.

Subd. 10f.Notice of determinations.

Within ten working days of the conclusion of a family assessment, the local welfare agency shall notify the parent or guardian of the child of the need for services to address child safety concerns or significant risk of subsequent child maltreatment. The local welfare agency and the family may also jointly agree that family support and family preservation services are needed. Within ten working days of the conclusion of an investigation, the local welfare agency or agency responsible for investigating the report shall notify the parent or guardian of the child, the person determined to be maltreating the child, and, if applicable, the director of the facility, of the determination and a summary of the specific reasons for the determination. When the investigation involves a child foster care setting that is monitored by a private licensing agency under section 245A.16, the local welfare agency responsible for investigating the report shall notify the private licensing agency of the determination and shall provide a summary of the specific reasons for the determination. The notice to the private licensing agency must include identifying private data, but not the identity of the reporter of maltreatment. The notice must also include a certification that the information collection procedures under subdivision 10, paragraphs (h), (i), and (j), were followed and a notice of the right of a data subject to obtain access to other private data on the subject collected, created, or maintained under this section. In addition, the notice shall include the length of time that the records will be kept under subdivision 11c. The investigating agency shall notify the parent or guardian of the child who is the subject of the report, and any person or facility determined to have maltreated a child, of their appeal or review rights under this section. The notice must also state that a finding of maltreatment may result in denial of a license application or background study disqualification under chapter 245C related to employment or services that are licensed by the Department of Human Services under chapter 245A, the Department of Health under chapter 144 or 144A, the Department of Corrections under section 241.021, and from providing services related to an unlicensed personal care provider organization under chapter 256B.

Subd. 10g.Interstate data exchange.

All reports and records created, collected, or maintained under this section by a local social service agency or law enforcement agency may be disclosed to a local social service or other child welfare agency of another state when the agency certifies that:

(1) the reports and records are necessary in order to conduct an investigation of actions that would qualify as sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect under this section; and

(2) the reports and records will be used only for purposes of a child protection assessment or investigation and will not be further disclosed to any other person or agency.

The local social service agency or law enforcement agency in this state shall keep a record of all records or reports disclosed pursuant to this subdivision and of any agency to which the records or reports are disclosed. If in any case records or reports are disclosed before a determination is made under subdivision 10e, or a disposition of any criminal proceedings is reached, the local social service agency or law enforcement agency in this state shall forward the determination or disposition to any agency that has received any report or record under this subdivision.

Subd. 10h.Child abuse data; release to family court services.

The responsible authority or its designee of a local welfare agency may release private or confidential data on an active case involving assessment or investigation of actions that are defined as sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect under this section to a court services agency if:

(1) the court services agency has an active case involving a common client or clients who are the subject of the data; and

(2) the data are necessary for the court services agency to effectively process the court services’ case, including investigating or performing other duties relating to the case required by law.

The data disclosed under this subdivision may be used only for purposes of the active court services case described in clause (1) and may not be further disclosed to any other person or agency, except as authorized by law.

Subd. 10i.Administrative reconsideration; review panel.

(a) Administrative reconsideration is not applicable in family assessments since no determination concerning maltreatment is made. For investigations, except as provided under paragraph (e), an individual or facility that the commissioner of human services, a local social service agency, or the commissioner of education determines has maltreated a child, an interested person acting on behalf of the child, regardless of the determination, who contests the investigating agency’s final determination regarding maltreatment, may request the investigating agency to reconsider its final determination regarding maltreatment. The request for reconsideration must be submitted in writing to the investigating agency within 15 calendar days after receipt of notice of the final determination regarding maltreatment or, if the request is made by an interested person who is not entitled to notice, within 15 days after receipt of the notice by the parent or guardian of the child. If mailed, the request for reconsideration must be postmarked and sent to the investigating agency within 15 calendar days of the individual’s or facility’s receipt of the final determination. If the request for reconsideration is made by personal service, it must be received by the investigating agency within 15 calendar days after the individual’s or facility’s receipt of the final determination. Effective January 1, 2002, an individual who was determined to have maltreated a child under this section and who was disqualified on the basis of serious or recurring maltreatment under sections 245C.14 and 245C.15, may request reconsideration of the maltreatment determination and the disqualification. The request for reconsideration of the maltreatment determination and the disqualification must be submitted within 30 calendar days of the individual’s receipt of the notice of disqualification under sections 245C.16 and 245C.17. If mailed, the request for reconsideration of the maltreatment determination and the disqualification must be postmarked and sent to the investigating agency within 30 calendar days of the individual’s receipt of the maltreatment determination and notice of disqualification. If the request for reconsideration is made by personal service, it must be received by the investigating agency within 30 calendar days after the individual’s receipt of the notice of disqualification.

(b) Except as provided under paragraphs (e) and (f), if the investigating agency denies the request or fails to act upon the request within 15 working days after receiving the request for reconsideration, the person or facility entitled to a fair hearing under section 256.045 may submit to the commissioner of human services or the commissioner of education a written request for a hearing under that section. Section 256.045 also governs hearings requested to contest a final determination of the commissioner of education. The investigating agency shall notify persons who request reconsideration of their rights under this paragraph. The hearings specified under this section are the only administrative appeal of a decision issued under paragraph (a). Determinations under this section are not subject to accuracy and completeness challenges under section 13.04.

(c) If, as a result of a reconsideration or review, the investigating agency changes the final determination of maltreatment, that agency shall notify the parties specified in subdivisions 10b, 10d, and 10f.

(d) Except as provided under paragraph (f), if an individual or facility contests the investigating agency’s final determination regarding maltreatment by requesting a fair hearing under section 256.045, the commissioner of human services shall assure that the hearing is conducted and a decision is reached within 90 days of receipt of the request for a hearing. The time for action on the decision may be extended for as many days as the hearing is postponed or the record is held open for the benefit of either party.

(e) If an individual was disqualified under sections 245C.14 and 245C.15, on the basis of a determination of maltreatment, which was serious or recurring, and the individual has requested reconsideration of the maltreatment determination under paragraph (a) and requested reconsideration of the disqualification under sections 245C.21 to 245C.27, reconsideration of the maltreatment determination and reconsideration of the disqualification shall be consolidated into a single reconsideration. If reconsideration of the maltreatment determination is denied and the individual remains disqualified following a reconsideration decision, the individual may request a fair hearing under section 256.045. If an individual requests a fair hearing on the maltreatment determination and the disqualification, the scope of the fair hearing shall include both the maltreatment determination and the disqualification.

(f) If a maltreatment determination or a disqualification based on serious or recurring maltreatment is the basis for a denial of a license under section 245A.05 or a licensing sanction under section 245A.07, the license holder has the right to a contested case hearing under chapter 14 and Minnesota Rules, parts 1400.8505 to 1400.8612. As provided for under section 245A.08, subdivision 2a, the scope of the contested case hearing shall include the maltreatment determination, disqualification, and licensing sanction or denial of a license. In such cases, a fair hearing regarding the maltreatment determination and disqualification shall not be conducted under section 256.045. Except for family child care and child foster care, reconsideration of a maltreatment determination as provided under this subdivision, and reconsideration of a disqualification as provided under section 245C.22, shall also not be conducted when:

(1) a denial of a license under section 245A.05 or a licensing sanction under section 245A.07, is based on a determination that the license holder is responsible for maltreatment or the disqualification of a license holder based on serious or recurring maltreatment;

(2) the denial of a license or licensing sanction is issued at the same time as the maltreatment determination or disqualification; and

(3) the license holder appeals the maltreatment determination or disqualification, and denial of a license or licensing sanction.

Notwithstanding clauses (1) to (3), if the license holder appeals the maltreatment determination or disqualification, but does not appeal the denial of a license or a licensing sanction, reconsideration of the maltreatment determination shall be conducted under sections 626.556, subdivision 10i, and 626.557, subdivision 9d, and reconsideration of the disqualification shall be conducted under section 245C.22. In such cases, a fair hearing shall also be conducted as provided under sections 245C.27, 626.556, subdivision 10i, and 626.557, subdivision 9d.

If the disqualified subject is an individual other than the license holder and upon whom a background study must be conducted under chapter 245C, the hearings of all parties may be consolidated into a single contested case hearing upon consent of all parties and the administrative law judge.

(g) For purposes of this subdivision, “interested person acting on behalf of the child” means a parent or legal guardian; stepparent; grandparent; guardian ad litem; adult stepbrother, stepsister, or sibling; or adult aunt or uncle; unless the person has been determined to be the perpetrator of the maltreatment.

Subd. 10j.Release of data to mandated reporters.

A local social services or child protection agency, or the agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report of maltreatment, may provide relevant private data on individuals obtained under this section to mandated reporters who have an ongoing responsibility for the health, education, or welfare of a child affected by the data, in the best interests of the child. Mandated reporters with ongoing responsibility for the health, education, or welfare of a child affected by the data include the child’s teachers or other appropriate school personnel, foster parents, health care providers, respite care workers, therapists, social workers, child care providers, residential care staff, crisis nursery staff, probation officers, and court services personnel. Under this section, a mandated reporter need not have made the report to be considered a person with ongoing responsibility for the health, education, or welfare of a child affected by the data. Data provided under this section must be limited to data pertinent to the individual’s responsibility for caring for the child.

Subd. 10k.Release of certain assessment or investigative records to other counties.

Records maintained under subdivision 11c, paragraph (a), may be shared with another local welfare agency that requests the information because it is conducting an assessment or investigation under this section of the subject of the records.

Subd. 10l.Documentation.

When a case is closed that has been open for services, the local welfare agency shall document the outcome of the family assessment or investigation, including a description of services provided and the removal or reduction of risk to the child, if it existed.

Subd. 10m.Provision of child protective services.

The local welfare agency shall create a written plan, in collaboration with the family whenever possible, within 30 days of the determination that child protective services are needed or upon joint agreement of the local welfare agency and the family that family support and preservation services are needed. Child protective services for a family are voluntary unless ordered by the court.

Subd. 10n.Required referral to early intervention services.

A child under age three who is involved in a substantiated case of maltreatment shall be referred for screening under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, part C. Parents must be informed that the evaluation and acceptance of services are voluntary. The commissioner of human services shall monitor referral rates by county and annually report the information to the legislature beginning March 15, 2014. Refusal to have a child screened is not a basis for a child in need of protection or services petition under chapter 260C.

Subd. 11.Records.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) and subdivisions 10b, 10d, 10g, and 11b, all records concerning individuals maintained by a local welfare agency or agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report under this section, including any written reports filed under subdivision 7, shall be private data on individuals, except insofar as copies of reports are required by subdivision 7 to be sent to the local police department or the county sheriff. All records concerning determinations of maltreatment by a facility are nonpublic data as maintained by the Department of Education, except insofar as copies of reports are required by subdivision 7 to be sent to the local police department or the county sheriff. Reports maintained by any police department or the county sheriff shall be private data on individuals except the reports shall be made available to the investigating, petitioning, or prosecuting authority, including county medical examiners or county coroners. Section 13.82, subdivisions 8, 9, and 14, apply to law enforcement data other than the reports. The local social services agency or agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report shall make available to the investigating, petitioning, or prosecuting authority, including county medical examiners or county coroners or their professional delegates, any records which contain information relating to a specific incident of neglect or abuse which is under investigation, petition, or prosecution and information relating to any prior incidents of neglect or abuse involving any of the same persons. The records shall be collected and maintained in accordance with the provisions of chapter 13. In conducting investigations and assessments pursuant to this section, the notice required by section 13.04, subdivision 2, need not be provided to a minor under the age of ten who is the alleged victim of abuse or neglect. An individual subject of a record shall have access to the record in accordance with those sections, except that the name of the reporter shall be confidential while the report is under assessment or investigation except as otherwise permitted by this subdivision. Any person conducting an investigation or assessment under this section who intentionally discloses the identity of a reporter prior to the completion of the investigation or assessment is guilty of a misdemeanor. After the assessment or investigation is completed, the name of the reporter shall be confidential. The subject of the report may compel disclosure of the name of the reporter only with the consent of the reporter or upon a written finding by the court that the report was false and that there is evidence that the report was made in bad faith. This subdivision does not alter disclosure responsibilities or obligations under the Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(b) Upon request of the legislative auditor, data on individuals maintained under this section must be released to the legislative auditor in order for the auditor to fulfill the auditor’s duties under section 3.971. The auditor shall maintain the data in accordance with chapter 13.

(c) The commissioner of education must be provided with all requested data that are relevant to a report of maltreatment and are in possession of a school facility as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (i), when the data is requested pursuant to an assessment or investigation of a maltreatment report of a student in a school. If the commissioner of education makes a determination of maltreatment involving an individual performing work within a school facility who is licensed by a board or other agency, the commissioner shall provide necessary and relevant information to the licensing entity to enable the entity to fulfill its statutory duties. Notwithstanding section 13.03, subdivision 4, data received by a licensing entity under this paragraph are governed by section 13.41 or other applicable law governing data of the receiving entity, except that this section applies to the classification of and access to data on the reporter of the maltreatment.

Subd. 11a.Disclosure of information not required in certain cases.

When interviewing a minor under subdivision 10, an individual does not include the parent or guardian of the minor for purposes of section 13.04, subdivision 2, when the parent or guardian is the alleged perpetrator of the abuse or neglect.

Subd. 11b.Data received from law enforcement.

Active law enforcement investigative data received by a local welfare agency or agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report under this section are confidential data on individuals. When this data become inactive in the law enforcement agency, the data are private data on individuals.

Subd. 11c.Welfare, court services agency, and school records maintained.

Notwithstanding sections 138.163 and 138.17, records maintained or records derived from reports of abuse by local welfare agencies, agencies responsible for assessing or investigating the report, court services agencies, or schools under this section shall be destroyed as provided in paragraphs (a) to (d) by the responsible authority.

(a) For family assessment cases and cases where an investigation results in no determination of maltreatment or the need for child protective services, the assessment or investigation records must be maintained for a period of four years. Records under this paragraph may not be used for employment, background checks, or purposes other than to assist in future risk and safety assessments.

(b) All records relating to reports which, upon investigation, indicate either maltreatment or a need for child protective services shall be maintained for at least ten years after the date of the final entry in the case record.

(c) All records regarding a report of maltreatment, including any notification of intent to interview which was received by a school under subdivision 10, paragraph (d), shall be destroyed by the school when ordered to do so by the agency conducting the assessment or investigation. The agency shall order the destruction of the notification when other records relating to the report under investigation or assessment are destroyed under this subdivision.

(d) Private or confidential data released to a court services agency under subdivision 10h must be destroyed by the court services agency when ordered to do so by the local welfare agency that released the data. The local welfare agency or agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report shall order destruction of the data when other records relating to the assessment or investigation are destroyed under this subdivision.

Subd. 11d.Disclosure in child fatality or near-fatality cases.

(a) The definitions in this paragraph apply to this section.

(1) “Child fatality” means the death of a child from suspected abuse, neglect, or maltreatment.

(2) “Near fatality” means a case in which a physician determines that a child is in serious or critical condition as the result of sickness or injury caused by suspected abuse, neglect, or maltreatment.

(3) “Findings and information” means a written summary described in paragraph (c) of actions taken or services rendered by a local social services agency following receipt of a report.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and subject to this subdivision, a public agency shall disclose to the public, upon request, the findings and information related to a child fatality or near fatality if:

(1) a person is criminally charged with having caused the child fatality or near fatality; or

(2) a county attorney certifies that a person would have been charged with having caused the child fatality or near fatality but for that person’s death.

(c) Findings and information disclosed under this subdivision consist of a written summary that includes any of the following information the agency is able to provide:

(1) the dates, outcomes, and results of any actions taken or services rendered;

(2) the results of any review of the state child mortality review panel, a local child mortality review panel, a local community child protection team, or any public agency; and

(3) confirmation of the receipt of all reports, accepted or not accepted, by the local welfare agency for assessment of suspected child abuse, neglect, or maltreatment, including confirmation that investigations were conducted, the results of the investigations, a description of the conduct of the most recent investigation and the services rendered, and a statement of the basis for the agency’s determination.

(d) Nothing in this subdivision authorizes access to the private data in the custody of a local social services agency, or the disclosure to the public of the records or content of any psychiatric, psychological, or therapeutic evaluations, or the disclosure of information that would reveal the identities of persons who provided information related to suspected abuse, neglect, or maltreatment of the child.

(e) A person whose request is denied may apply to the appropriate court for an order compelling disclosure of all or part of the findings and information of the public agency. The application must set forth, with reasonable particularity, factors supporting the application. The court has jurisdiction to issue these orders. Actions under this section must be set down for immediate hearing, and subsequent proceedings in those actions must be given priority by the appellate courts.

(f) A public agency or its employees acting in good faith in disclosing or declining to disclose information under this section are immune from criminal or civil liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed for that action.

Subd. 12.Duties of facility operators.

Any operator, employee, or volunteer worker at any facility who intentionally neglects, physically abuses, or sexually abuses any child in the care of that facility may be charged with a violation of section 609.255, 609.377, or 609.378. Any operator of a facility who knowingly permits conditions to exist which result in neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or maltreatment of a child in a facility while in the care of that facility may be charged with a violation of section 609.378. The facility operator shall inform all mandated reporters employed by or otherwise associated with the facility of the duties required of mandated reporters and shall inform all mandatory reporters of the prohibition against retaliation for reports made in good faith under this section.

Subd. 13.

[Repealed, 1988 c 625 s 9]

Subd. 14.Conflict of interest.

(a) A potential conflict of interest related to assisting in an assessment under this section resulting in a direct or shared financial interest with a child abuse and neglect treatment provider or resulting from a personal or family relationship with a party in the investigation must be considered by the local welfare agency in an effort to prevent unethical relationships.

(b) A person who conducts an assessment under this section or section 626.5561 may not have:

(1) any direct or shared financial interest or referral relationship resulting in a direct shared financial gain with a child abuse and neglect treatment provider; or

(2) a personal or family relationship with a party in the investigation.

If an independent assessor is not available, the person responsible for making the determination under this section may use the services of an assessor with a financial interest, referral, or personal or family relationship.

Subd. 15.Auditing.

The commissioner of human services shall regularly audit for accuracy the data reported by counties on maltreatment of minors.