Helping Children Experiencing Out-of-Home Placement in Minnesota’s Foster Care System
Whenever possible children who are removed from parental care should remain in the care of relatives. If that is not possible, the remaining options are emergency shelter care, family foster home, or a group residential setting. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), 15,300 children in Minnesota experienced foster care in 2019. There is a greater need for licensed foster homes, which has lead us to expand our services.
We are able to educate, license, and prepare families to be a resource for Minnesota’s children under state guardianship. The majority of expenses to becoming a foster care resource are covered by state and/or county contracts.
The Children in Need of Foster Care
Children needing care have been removed from their biological families’ homes and have been placed under the care and supervision of the state. As a result of these experiences, children will likely have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect. The children may have emotional, behavioral and/or academic needs. Children may be part of a sibling group that needs to be placed together, or have siblings and other loved ones with whom they need to maintain connections.
Children of all ages and ethnic backgrounds are served in this program. According to DHS, the three most common reasons why children are removed from parental care in Minnesota are: parental drug use (31%), allegations of neglect (22%), and allegations of physical abuse (10%). Read the complete DHS Fact Sheet, Foster Care: Temporary Out-of-Home Care for Children.
There are two steps you must complete to start your process of becoming a foster parent: a two-hour orientation and a two-day class. Many families find it helpful to attend the orientation first because it provides an overview of the process and addresses details such as children served, timelines, fees (spoiler: it is virtually free!), licensing requirements, etc.
Orientations are held twice monthly and will be held virtually until further notice.Find and Register for a Foster Care Adoption Orientation
Another early step to becoming a foster care resource is attending our two-day Foster Care & Adoption Education Classes. These classes will familiarize you with the children waiting to be adopted, the needs they commonly have, and the adoption process. You will also have the opportunity to listen to panels of adoptive parents and waiting or adopted teens.
Topics covered include:
- An overview of the child welfare system
- Impact of prenatal drug/alcohol exposure
- Grief, loss, and separation
- Trauma, abuse, and neglect
- Mental health needs
- Attachment, cross-cultural, and transracial parenting
- Permanency needs of older youth
- Concurrent planning
- Experiences of foster parents
- Experiences of birth parents
- Visitation and maintaining connections
You will continue your education as you go through the foster care process. We’ve compiled a number of education resources, both mandatory and optional, on our site for your reference.Find Educational Resources to Prepare Yourself for Foster Care
Once you’ve attended orientation and classes, you may complete your application (broken into two parts: Application Part 1 and Application Part 2). Our staff will assist you with the application process, letting you know what documents are required of which household members.
As you work on your application, anyone pursuing foster care or adoption will need to complete the appropriate background checks. Possessing a criminal record does not automatically disqualify someone from becoming a foster parent. Please contact us if you have questions about your particular circumstances.
This part of the process includes several meetings with your social worker and a visit to your home. A comprehensive document is created by your social worker, which includes information about your motivation to foster or adopt, your health, home, personal history, familial lifestyle, interests, parenting style, income, and the type of child you are open to parenting. Once you are assigned to a social worker, the home study process takes about 3-4 months to complete.
You will need to become a licensed foster home as part of your process. This allows the placement of a child into your home. You may be licensed to provide more than one service depending on your openness. For example, a family pursuing adoption from foster care may also be licensed to provide respite care while they wait for an adoptive placement.
Placement occurs when the child moves into your home. Your social worker will remain in regular contact to assist in supporting your caregiver role. Foster care placements may last a short time or be more long-term depending on which track you are pursuing and each child’s situation. While the child is placed in your home, it is likely that there will be ongoing birth family reunification efforts.
Permanency may look different depending on each child’s situation. For some, this will mean reunification with the birth family. For others, it may mean placement with kinship or relatives. Others may find permanency through adoption after a termination of parental rights. Permanency for the child occurs after you have provided foster care services.
Support Groups for Foster Care & Adoptive Families
We welcome you to join other families to learn from and support one another!
Groups are currently being held virtually due to COVID-19. When in-person, childcare is available on a first-come-first-served basis.
Staff-Led Groups: For families who have children from the foster care system placed in their home for foster care or adoption AND families who have a home study approved. This group meets on the second Tuesday of every month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parent-Led Groups: For families who have children from the foster care system placed in their home for foster care or adoption. This group meets on the fourth Thursday of every month from 6:00-8:00 p.m. RSVP to email@example.com.
Working With All Families
We are dedicated to serving ALL families. Our foster care program is open to individuals and families regardless of marital status, sexuality, gender identity, gender expression, religion, or race.Single Parent Adoption and FosteringAdoption by LGBTQ Parents