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Clarifying child protection, services

Published (4/29/2010)
By Mike Cook
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Provisions related to judicial proceedings for children in need of protection or services will be modified.

Representing the work of the Juvenile Law Committee of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, the new law adds a basis for finding a child in need of protection or services. It adds cases where a child has a parent whose parental rights to another child have been involuntarily terminated or whose custodial rights have been involuntarily transferred to a relative, but there are compelling reasons why it is in the child’s best interest not to have parental rights terminated.

The law also clarifies that if a petition is filed for transferring custody of a child to a named relative, the relative has a right to be a party to the permanency proceeding “on the issues of the relative’s suitability to be a legal and physical custodian for the child, whether the transfer is in the child’s best interests, and the needs of the child.”

Further, local law enforcement is permitted to take a runaway to a shelter, if possible, instead of back to their parent’s residence. The problem was that runaways would sometimes be returned home by the authorities and leave again right away.

Rep. Dave Olin (DFL-Thief River Falls) and Sen. Mary Olson (DFL-Bemidji) sponsor the law that takes effect Aug. 1, 2010. It was signed April 26 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

HF3391*/ SF2999/CH281

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