Helping Children Find Safe, Stable, Temporary Care with Minnesota Families
Do you have a desire to help children in foster care? Become a foster parent through CH/LSS! We provide education and ongoing support to families throughout their foster care experience. The majority of expenses to becoming a foster care provider are covered by state and/or county contracts. By working with CH/LSS, you could provide care for children located throughout the state of Minnesota.
According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), 12,400 children in Minnesota experienced foster care in 2021. Because of this alarming number, there is an urgent need for additional foster families in the state of Minnesota.
The goal of foster care is reunification with birth parent(s) or relative and kin. Families open to providing foster care must be open to supporting reunification efforts.
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 the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the three most common reasons why children are removed from parental care in Minnesota are: caretaker drug abuse (34%), allegations of neglect (14%), and child mental health needs (9%). Read the complete MN DHS Fact Sheet, Foster Care: Temporary Out-of-Home Care for Children.
Foster Care: The More You Know
As a foster care provider with CH/LSS, there are a couple different types of placements your family could be open to. These will be discussed in more detail with your worker.
- Emergency Shelter Care: Short-term, immediate placements that can happen any time of the day, in which your family would be contacted directly by the county worker
- Foster Care: Placements vary in length, need, urgency and outcomes
- Respite: Generally pre-arranged, short-term care of youth for other foster families (such as a weekend or overnight)
Do I have to have parenting experience?
No, you can be a foster parent with minimal to no parenting experience. You can also be a foster parent if you are currently parenting children or have children living independently.
Why would I become licensed through a private agency instead my county of residence?
We can provide personalized support to your family throughout the process and offer a variety of services when you have placement. We have a Family Support Coach service offers attachment-focused, parenting coaching and support groups for you to consider. Additionally, by becoming licensed through CH/LSS you could take placement of children that live throughout the state whereas when you are licensed with your county, you typically only take placement of children that also reside in that county as well.
Do I need to be a homeowner?
No. Whatever living space you have, there are foster care licensing requirements that will need to be met . In some circumstances, your family may need a fire marshal inspection completed. To learn more, visit https://www.revisor.mn.gov/rules/2960/
What type of information will I learn about a child before taking placement?
The amount and type of information received before placement varies depending on the type of placement and how long the youth or sibling group have been in care. Information that may be received includes:
- The child’s name
- Date of birth
- Previous placement summary
- Race or cultural heritage of the child, including tribal affiliation, if any
- Description of the circumstances leading to placement, medical problems, mental health concerns, and/or safety concerns
- Description of strengths of the child
- Spiritual or religious affiliation of the child and the child’s family
- Information about the child’s medication and diet needs
Do I need to be a stay-at-home parent?
No. Being a foster parent does require a level of flexibility, but it is not a requirement to have a provider stay at home with children.
What are the eligibility requirements?
The minimum age requirement is 21. Our foster care program is open to individuals and families regardless of marital status, sexuality, gender identity, gender expression, religion, or race. We are dedicated to serving ALL families.
Have additional questions about the foster care program? We are happy to have a personal consult with you. Contact us at 651.646.7771 or email us at [email protected]
Alright, I’m ready. What should I do to get started?
Register for an upcoming two-hour Foster Care & Adoption Orientation (introductory level) followed by our more in-depth Foster Care & Adoption Education Class series.
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, and more.
Orientations are held twice monthly.Find and Register for a Foster Care Adoption Orientation
Another early step to becoming a foster care resource is attending our 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 the Foster Care & Adoption Orientation and Foster Care & Adoption Two-Day Class, you may complete your application (broken into three parts: Application Part 1, Application Part 2, and DHS Application Documents). 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.
- We license your home and support your family throughout the whole process, advocating for you and your needs.
- Monthly in-home post-placement supervision, offer referrals if needed, and provide support.
- Family Support Coach that offers attachment-focused, parenting coaching and support groups.
- You will have access to our community closet for items that a youth who is placed in your home may need.
- Virtual support groups for foster care & adoptive families to learn and support one another throughout the different steps of the process, once home study approved.
- We have numerous activities for youth and families to gather and connect throughout the year.
Virtual Support Groups for Foster Care & Adoptive Families
We welcome you to join other families to learn from and support one another!
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 the month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. R.S.V.P. to [email protected].