Effective June 1, 2023, Minnesota law requires mandatory reporting by youth recreation program employees 18 years old or older who suspect abuse of a child.
A1. No. Employees covered under the new law must report if:
- The employee or supervisor knows or has reason to believe that another employee or supervisor is abusing or has abused a child within the preceding three years.
- A child discloses to the employee or supervisor that the child is being abused or has been abused within the preceding three years.
For example, if a child comes to day camp with bruises or fractures, does not talk about the injuries, and the injuries appear to occur at home, an employee is not obligated to report under the statute. That said, employees may choose to err on the side of caution and report the situation to a local child welfare agency.
A2. The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides a list of the various local welfare agencies based upon your county or tribal entity
A3. While you are not required to inform your supervisor under the statute, you may choose to do so. However, these situations may be sensitive and involve non-public data, so care should be taken when disclosing information. Cities may also want to consider updating their personnel policies to determine whether supervisors or other employees should be notified of reports as a matter of city practice.
A4. Lesson 2 of the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy’s course includes a tool to help make a decision on reporting and uses the Department of Human Services acronym “P.A.S.S.” that can help:
- Pause — Take a moment to slow down.
- Analyze — Ask yourself questions such as “What have I observed,” or “What information suggests there is a reason to believe a child has been maltreated?”
- Self Reflect — Reflect to determine if bias is creeping into your thought process. Ask yourself “Am I observing abuse, or could this be a cultural difference in parenting style?”
- Support or Report — Make a decision on the appropriate course of action.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind local welfare agencies ultimately decide whether abuse or maltreatment has occurred once a report is made.
If a report is made in good faith, an employer cannot retaliate against employees making a report. Local welfare agencies will investigate reports, but there are no ramifications if a report is later found to be unsubstantiated.
A5. Minn. R. 9560.0214, subp. 12 defines “imminent danger” as a child “threatened with immediate and present maltreatment that is life threatening or likely to result in abandonment, sexual abuse, or serious physical injury.”
Best practice is to immediately report anything life-threatening to the police.
Q6. Do I only report it if the child specifically tells me they have been abused or do I report it when I suspect abuse, but the child denies it?
A6. According to the statute, employees should report if they have “reason to believe,” that another employee or supervisor is abusing or has abused a child within the preceding three years. Thus, suspicion of abuse is sufficient.
A7. Employees are required to report in “good faith.” If an employee submits a false or unsubstantiated report in good faith, there are no consequences under the law. However, any person who knowingly or recklessly makes a false report or fails to report may be liable in a civil suit.
A8. No. The statute states an employer of any person required to make a report cannot retaliate against the person for reporting in good faith. This includes:
- Discharge, suspension, termination, or transfer from the private or public youth recreation program.
- Discharge from or termination of employment.
- Demotion or reduction in remuneration for services.
- Restriction or prohibition of access to the private or public youth recreation program or persons affiliated with it.
A9. The local child welfare agency may call you with follow-up questions. You should also be notified of any decision the agency makes.
A10. This is left to city policy and employee preference. The statute does not provide any documentation requirements.