Placement of Children With Relatives - Minnesota

Date: September 2022

Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 260C.212, Subd. 2; 260C.221, Subd. 1

When placing a child in foster care, the child-placing agency must consider placement with relatives and important friends in the following order:

  • With a person who is related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption, including the legal parent, guardian, or custodian of the child's sibling
  • With a person who is an important friend of the child or of the child's parent with whom the child has resided or had significant contact or who has a significant relationship to the child or the child's parent or custodian

For an Indian child, the agency shall follow the order of placement preferences in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. § 1915.

The social services agency shall exercise due diligence to identify and notify adult relatives and current caregivers of a child's sibling, prior to placement or within 30 days after the child's removal from the parent, regardless of whether a child is placed in a relative€™s home. The relative search shall be comprehensive in scope.

The relative search shall include both maternal and paternal adult relatives of the child; all adult grandparents; all legal parents, guardians, or custodians of the child's siblings; and any other adult relatives suggested by the child's parents, subject to the exceptions due to family violence. The search also shall include getting information from the child in an age-appropriate manner about who the child considers to be family members and important friends with whom the child has resided or had significant contact. The relative search must fulfill the agency's duties under the Indian Child Welfare Act regarding active efforts to prevent the breakup of the Indian family and to meet placement preferences required under the act.

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 245A.035; 260C.209

A county agency may make an emergency placement of a child with a relative who is not licensed to provide foster care, provided the following requirements are met:

  • If possible, the agency must conduct an initial inspection prior to placing the child but no later than 3 working days after placing the child in the home.
  • If the agency determines prior to placement that anyone requiring a background study is disqualified, and the disqualification is one which the commissioner cannot set aside, an emergency placement must not be made.
  • The relatives with whom the emergency placement has been made shall complete the child foster care license application and necessary paperwork within 10 days of the placement.

The granting of a child foster care license to a relative shall be according to the standards in Minnesota Rules, chapter 2960. In licensing a relative, the commissioner shall consider the importance of maintaining the child's relationship with relatives as an additional significant factor in determining whether a background study disqualification should be set aside under § 245C.22, or a variance should be granted under § 245C.30.

The agency may have access to the criminal history and history of child and adult maltreatment of an individual whose suitability for relative placement is being determined and any member of the relative's household who is over age 13 when the following apply:

  • The relative must be licensed for foster care.
  • A background study is required.
  • The agency has reasonable cause to believe the relative or household member over age 13 has a criminal history that would make transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to the relative not in the child's best interests.

In cases involving the emergency relative placement of children, the agency may request a name-based criminal records check, to be followed by a fingerprint-based check within 15 calendar days.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260C.212, Subd. 2

Siblings should be placed together for foster care and adoption at the earliest possible time, unless it is documented that a joint placement would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings or unless it is not possible after reasonable efforts by the responsible social services agency. In cases where siblings cannot be placed together, the agency is required to provide frequent visits or other ongoing interaction between siblings, unless the agency documents that the interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 259.77; 260C.007; 245A.02, Subd. 13

Each authorized child-placing agency shall make special efforts to recruit an adoptive family from among the child's relatives. The term 'relative' means a person related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption or an individual who is an important friend with whom the child has resided or had significant contact. For an Indian child, relative includes members of the extended family as defined by the law or custom of the Indian child's Tribe or, in the absence of law or custom, nieces, nephews, or first or second cousins, as provided in the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

The term 'individual who is related' means a spouse, parent, natural or adopted child or stepchild, stepparent, stepsibling, adoptive parent, grandparent, sibling, parent's sibling and that sibling's child, or legal guardian.

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 259.22; 259.41

The residency requirement of 1 year may be waived if the petitioner is a person who is related to the child. The requirement for placements to be made by the department or licensed agency does not apply to a relative adoption.

A placement for adoption with an individual who is related to the child is subject to a background study. The adoption study must include at least one in-home visit with the prospective adoptive parent. At a minimum, the study must document the following information about the prospective adoptive parent:

  • Whether the prospective adoptive parent and any other person over age 13 living in the home has a felony conviction
  • An assessment of the effect of any conviction or finding of substantiated maltreatment on the capacity of the prospective adoptive parent to safely care for and parent a child

A home study used to consider placement of any child on whose behalf title IV-E adoption assistance payments are to be made must not be approved if a background study reveals a felony conviction at any time for any of the following:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Spousal abuse
  • A crime against children, including child pornography
  • A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery

A home study used to consider placement of any child on whose behalf title IV-E adoption assistance payments are to be made must not be approved if a background study reveals a felony conviction within the past 5 years for physical assault or battery or a drug-related offense.