Reportable Child Abuse and Neglect

Whose abuse or neglect is reportable under the act?

Person Responsible for the Child’s Care. A “person responsible for the child’s care” includes the following:

  • parent
  • guardian
  • teacher
  • school administrator
  • school employee or agent
  • day care provider
  • paid or unpaid babysitter
  • counselor
  • coach
  • other custodian with care responsibilities

Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 2, para. (e).

Person in a Position of Authority

A “person in a position of authority” is a parent or someone acting in a parent’s place who has responsibility for the health, welfare, or supervision of a child for any period of time, however brief. Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 10.

“Persons in a position of authority” are covered by the act only when they commit sexual abuse. Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 2, para. (d).

Person with a Significant Relationship to the Child

A person who has a significant relationship to the child is someone who has that relationship because of being a relative or stepparent, or because of intermittently or regularly residing in the child’s home. Minn. Stat. § 609.341, subd. 15.

This group of individuals is covered by the act if they commit sexual abuse. Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 2, para. (d).

What is “abuse” under the act?

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse or threatened physical abuse includes the following:

  • physical injury, mental injury,1 or threatened injury2 inflicted other than by accident
  • physical or mental injury not reasonably explained by the child’s history of injuries
  • aversive or deprivation procedures (e.g., electric shock) not authorized by Department of Human Services rules
  • regulated interventions (e.g., time out) not authorized by Department of Education rules

Excluded from this definition is reasonable and moderate discipline by a parent or guardian or use of reasonable force by a teacher, principal, or school employee.3 Minn. Stat. §626.556, subd. 2, para. (g).

Sexual Abuse

  • Sexual abuse or threatened sexual abuse includes the following:
  • soliciting a child to practice prostitution
  • criminal sexual conduct
  • receiving profit derived from prostitution by a child
  • hiring or agreeing to hire a child as a prostitute
  • using a minor in a sexual performance or pornographic work

Minn. Stat. §626.556, subd. 2, para. (d).

What is “neglect” under the act?

Neglect includes the following:

  • failure to supply necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical care when reasonably able to do so
  • failure to protect a child from serious danger to physical or mental health when reasonably able to do so, including a growth delay, referred to as failure to thrive
  • failure to provide necessary supervision or appropriate child care
  • chronic and severe use of alcohol or a controlled substance by a parent or person responsible for the child’s care that adversely affects the child’s basic needs and safety
  • emotional harm demonstrated by a substantial and observable effect on the child
  • withholding medically indicated treatment from a disabled infant with a life-threatening condition
  • prenatal exposure to specified controlled substances4

This and any related posts have been adopted from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s Information Brief, Overview of the Maltreatment of Minors Act, written by legislative analyst Lynn Aves.

This is also part of a series of posts on Minnesota’s Maltreatment of Minors Act.

1 “Mental injury” means injury to a child’s psychological capacity or emotional stability, evidenced by observable or substantial impairment in the child’s ability to function within normal performance and behavior ranges for the child’s culture. Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 2, para. (m).

2 “Threatened injury” means a statement, overt act, condition, or status that represents a substantial risk of abuse or injury of a child. This statute lists four examples of threatened injury. Minn. Stat. § 626.556, subd. 2, para. (n).

3 The statute lists ten kinds of conduct that are not reasonable discipline.

4 Assessment, chemical testing, and services to women using prohibited drugs is governed by Minnesota Statutes, sections 626.5561, 626.5562, and 626.5563.

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