Maltreatment Investigation Process

A maltreatment investigation is neutral fact-finding process that involves obtaining information from all relevant sources about an alleged incident. An investigation may include:

  • A site visit to the program that may either be announced or unannounced.
  • Interviews with individuals who have information about the allegations or people involved including:
    • Alleged victim(s)
    • Witnesses/staff people
    • Facility management staff people
    • Community people
    • Guardians, parents or family members
    • Case managers
    • Anyone else with information related to the incident/allegation.
  • Documents collected from the facility including facility policies and procedures, the vulnerable adult’s or child’s file and personnel/training files.
  • Documentation from outside sources such as medical or law enforcement records.

Investigations often include working with and coordinating with other investigative agencies such as law enforcement or adult or child protection agencies.

A written public summary of the information obtained during an investigation is documented in an investigative memorandum that can be found at the Licensing Information Lookup. Investigation memorandums address the initial allegations, what was found during the investigation and determinations, responsibility and any required action by DHS. 

During the course of an investigation, information obtained is confidential. After a determination is made, information about individuals becomes private information. The name of reporter remains confidential. The privacy of information obtained during an investigation is explained in the Licensing Division's privacy notice DHS-4127 (PDF).

The results and determinations of investigations are subject to appeal.

Serious or recurring maltreatment

A staff person who is responsible for maltreatment that is serious or recurring is disqualified from positions that allow direct contact with or access to people who receive services from programs, organizations, and/or agencies that are required to have individuals complete a background study by the Department of Human Services as listed in Minnesota Statutes, section 245C.03.

If a facility is responsible for maltreatment, the license holder is fined $1,000 for each determination of maltreatment or $5,000 if the determination of maltreatment meets the definition of serious maltreatment. Other licensing actions may also be taken such as a conditional license or license revocation.

Licensing violations

During the course of the investigation, the investigator may observe and determine licensing violations related to the services provided and the rules and/or statutes, which govern the facility. Those violations will be documented in the investigation memorandum, correction order or other licensing actions taken.