Determining the Best Interests of the Child - Minnesota

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Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260C.193, Subd. 3(a)-(e) 

The policy of the State is to ensure that the best interests of children who are in foster care, who experience transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative, or who are adopted are met by requiring individualized determinations, as required under § 260C.212, subd.2(b), of the needs of the child and of how the selected home will serve the needs of the child.

No later than 3 months after a child is ordered removed from the care of a parent, the court shall review and enter findings regarding whether the responsible social services agency made either of the following:

  • Diligent efforts to identify and search for relatives, as required under § 260C.221
  • An individualized determination, as required under § 260C.212, to select a home that meets the needs of the child

If the court finds the agency has not made the required efforts, and there is a relative who qualifies to be licensed to provide family foster care, the court may order the child placed with the relative consistent with the child's best interests.

If the agency's efforts are found to be sufficient, the court shall order the agency to continue to appropriately engage relatives who responded to the notice under § 260C.221 in placement and case planning decisions and to appropriately engage relatives who subsequently come to the agency's attention.

If the child's birth parent or parents explicitly request that a relative or important friend not be considered, the court shall honor that request if it is consistent with the best interests of the child. If the child's birth parent or parents express a preference for placing the child in a foster or adoptive home of the same or a similar religious background to that of the birth parent or parents, the court shall order placement of the child with an individual who meets the birth parent's religious preference.

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260C.193, Subd. 3(f)-(h)

Placement of a child cannot be delayed or denied based on race, color, or national origin of the foster parent or the child. 

Whenever possible, siblings should be placed together unless it is determined not to be in the best interests of siblings. If siblings are not placed together, the responsible social services agency shall report to the court the efforts made to place the siblings together and why the efforts were not successful. If the court is not satisfied that the agency has made reasonable efforts to place siblings together, the court must order the agency to make further reasonable efforts. If siblings are not placed together, the court shall order the responsible social services agency to implement the plan for visitation among siblings required as part of the out-of-home placement plan. 

This subdivision does not affect the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. § 1901, et seq.) and the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, §§ 260.751 to 260.835.

 

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