Making and Screening Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect - Minnesota

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Individual Responsibility to Report

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 260E.03, Subd. 9; 260E.06; 260E.09

A person who knows or has reason to believe a child is being maltreated, as defined in § 260E.03, or has been maltreated within the preceding 3 years immediately shall make a report.

For purposes of this section, 'immediately' means as soon as possible but in no event longer than 24 hours.

An oral report shall be made immediately by telephone or otherwise. An oral report made by a mandated reporter 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.

Content of Reports

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260E.055, Subd. 2

Any report shall be of sufficient content to identify the following:

  • The child
  • Any person believed to be responsible for the abuse or neglect
  • The nature and extent of the abuse or neglect
  • The name and address of the reporter

The agency receiving the report shall accept the report, notwithstanding refusal by a reporter to provide the reporter's name or address, as long as the information in the report is otherwise sufficient.

Reporting Suspicious Deaths

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260E.11

When a mandated reporter knows or has reason to believe that a child has died as a result of maltreatment, the reporter shall immediately 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, police department, or county sheriff in instances in which they believe that the child has died as a result of maltreatment. 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, developmental disability, chemical dependency, or emotional disturbance from an agency, facility, or program as defined in § 245.91, the medical examiner or coroner also shall notify and report findings to the ombudsman established under §§ 245.91 to 245.97.

Reporting Substance-Exposed Infants

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 260E.31; 260E.32

A mandated reporter shall immediately report to the local welfare agency when there is reason to believe that a pregnant woman has used a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose, including, but not limited to, tetrahydrocannabinol, or has consumed alcoholic beverages during the pregnancy in any way that is habitual or excessive. An oral report shall be made immediately by telephone or otherwise. An oral report made by a mandated reporter shall be followed within 72 hours by a written report. Any report shall be of sufficient content to identify the pregnant woman, the nature and extent of the use, if known, and the name and address of the reporter. The local welfare agency shall accept a report, notwithstanding refusal by a voluntary reporter to provide the reporter's name or address, as long as the report is otherwise sufficient.

A physician shall administer a toxicology test to a mother within 8 hours after delivery to determine whether there is evidence that she has ingested a controlled substance if the woman has obstetrical complications that are an indication of possible use of a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose. A physician shall administer to each newborn infant born under the physician's care a toxicology test to determine whether there is evidence of prenatal exposure to a controlled substance if the physician has reason to believe based on a medical assessment of the mother or the infant that the mother used a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose during the pregnancy. If the results of either test are positive, the physician shall report the results as neglect under § 260E.03.

Agency Receiving the Reports

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 260E.06; 260E.12; Admin. Code § 9560.0232

A report shall be made to the local welfare agency, agency responsible for assessing or investigating the report, police department, county sheriff, Tribal social services agency, or Tribal police department.

The police department or the county sheriff shall immediately notify the local welfare agency orally and in writing when a report is received. Written reports received by a police department or the county sheriff shall be forwarded immediately to the local welfare agency. The police department or the county sheriff may keep copies of reports received by them.

If the alleged maltreatment occurs on Tribal land, the local welfare agency and the local police department or county sheriff immediately shall notify the Tribe's social services agency and Tribal law enforcement orally and in writing when a report is received. When a police department or county determines that a child has been the subject of maltreatment by a person licensed by the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board or the Board of School Administrators, the department or sheriff shall, in addition to other duties under this section, immediately inform the licensing board.

The local welfare agency or shall immediately notify the local police department or the county sheriff orally and in writing when a report is received. Copies of written reports received by a local welfare agency shall be forwarded immediately to the local police department or the county sheriff.

In regulation: The local agency shall ensure that child protective services are available on a 24-hour basis to respond to reports alleging imminent danger.

Initial Screening Decisions

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 260E.16; 260E.17; 260E.18

The local welfare agency shall determine if the report is to be screened in or out as soon as possible, but in no event longer than 24 hours after the report is received. When determining whether a report will be screened in or out, the agency receiving the report must consider, when relevant, all previous history, including reports that were screened out.

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 shall do the following:

  • Shall conduct an investigation on reports involving sexual abuse or substantial child endangerment
  • 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 sexual abuse, substantial child endangerment, or a serious threat to the child's safety exists
  • May conduct a family assessment for reports that do not allege sexual abuse or substantial child endangerment
  • May conduct a family assessment on a report that was initially screened and assigned for an investigation
  • Shall provide immediate notice to an Indian child's Tribe when the agency has reason to believe the family assessment or investigation may involve an Indian child

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. 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. The term 'immediate notice' means notice provided within 24 hours.

Agency Conducting the Assessment/Investigation

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260E.14

The Department of Education is the agency responsible for assessing or investigating allegations of child maltreatment in schools.

The local welfare agency responsible for assessing or investigating allegations of maltreatment in child foster care, family child care, and legally nonlicensed child care.

The Department of Human Services is responsible for assessing or investigating allegations of maltreatment in licensed juvenile correctional facilities, except for child foster care and family child care. The Department of Health is the agency responsible for assessing or investigating allegations of child maltreatment in facilities licensed under chapter 144.

The local welfare agency is responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse if the alleged offender is the parent, guardian, sibling, 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 residing in the child's household. The local welfare agency also is responsible for investigating when a child is identified as a victim of sex trafficking.

The local welfare agency is responsible for conducting a family assessment or investigation if the report alleges neglect or physical abuse by a parent, guardian, or individual functioning within the family unit as a person responsible for the child's care. The local law enforcement agency is responsible for investigating a report of maltreatment if a violation of a criminal statute is alleged.

Law enforcement and the responsible agency must coordinate their investigations when the report alleges maltreatment that is a violation of a criminal statute by a person who is a parent, guardian, sibling, person responsible for the child's care functioning within the family unit, or person living in the child's household who has a significant relationship to the child.

Assessment/Investigation Procedures

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260E.20

Upon receipt of a screened-in report, the local agency shall conduct a face-to-face contact with the child and the child's primary caregiver sufficient to complete a safety assessment and ensure the immediate safety of the child.

At the initial contact with the alleged offender, the local agency 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 local agency shall collect relevant information to determine child safety, risk of subsequent maltreatment, and family strengths and needs and share nonpublic information with an Indian child's Tribal social services agency in order to implement the Tribal-State agreement.

The local agency shall collect available and relevant information to ascertain whether maltreatment occurred and whether protective services are needed. The information collected may include the following:

  • The child's sex and age and prior reports of maltreatment, including any screened-out reports
  • The alleged offender's age and records check for prior reports of maltreatment and criminal charges and convictions
  • Collateral source information regarding the alleged maltreatment and care of the child, including the following, when relevant:
    • A medical examination of the child
    • Prior medical records relating to the alleged maltreatment or the care of the child
    • Interviews with the child's caregivers
    • Information on the existence of domestic violence of substance abuse in the child's home

If the report alleges maltreatment by a person who is not a parent, guardian, sibling, or other caregiver, the local agency may rely on the fact-finding efforts of the law enforcement investigation to determine whether threatened injury or other maltreatment has occurred.

Timeframes for Completing Investigations

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 260E.24, Subd. 2, 260E.30; Admin. Code § 560.0220

The face-to-face contact with the child and primary caregiver shall occur immediately if sexual abuse or substantial child endangerment is alleged and within 5 calendar days for all other reports. If the alleged offender was not already interviewed as the primary caregiver, the local welfare agency also shall conduct a face-to-face interview with the alleged offender in the early stages of the assessment or investigation.

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.

Classification of Reports

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 626.556, Subd. 10e

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. 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 younger than age 10.

If the Commissioner of Education conducts an assessment, the commissioner shall determine whether maltreatment occurred and what corrective or protective action was taken by the school facility.

When maltreatment is determined in an investigation involving a facility, the investigating agency also shall determine whether the facility or individual was responsible or whether both the facility and the individual were responsible for the maltreatment.

In regulation: When the local agency has completed its investigation, the local agency shall make determinations. The local agency shall determine that maltreatment has occurred if the following are true:

  • There is a preponderance of evidence that a child is a victim of maltreatment.
  • The maltreatment was caused by the act or failure to act of a person within the family unit who is responsible for the child's care.

If the collected information shows no basis for a full assessment or investigation, the local agency may make a determination of no maltreatment early in an assessment, close the case, and retain immunity.