Foster Care Licensing
You can make a difference. Foster care is about helping children and adults in need. As a foster care provider, you will help children and adults learn there are caring, stable, and reliable adults there for them. In time, children or adults in your care will learn that times may be tough but you care and are willing to help.
Children are placed in foster care when families are having problems and children cannot safely stay in the home. The Scott County Minnesota Foster Care Program works with biological parents to help improve the situation with the hope of reuniting them with their children. During this process, the Scott County Foster Care Program provides services to foster children to help them overcome the emotional, social, physical, or behavioral difficulties and provides training and support to foster care providers so they can offer a positive experience for children in their care. If reunification is not possible, permanent foster care or adoption is pursued. Relatives or family friends are encouraged to become licensed foster care providers for a specific child or children.
Scott County foster families provide protection, care, and nurturing for children ages 0-21, who need temporary placement outside their family home. Children are placed with relatives or family friends whenever it is possible but often times a licensed foster home is the only option.
Types of Care
When children are placed outside of their home, there are several different types of care they may need:
- Emergency placement
- Temporary placement, or placement for less than a year
- Scheduled short-term respite care, generally on weekends
- Permanent placement when reunification is not possible.
Foster Family Care
When children cannot safely remain in their own homes due to abuse or neglect, Family Foster Care is used as a temporary living arrangement while families receive the help they need. Family Foster Care provides a network of caring, stable people who are willing to help not only a child, but also the child's family, so the parent and children can be reunited.
Respite Care Providers
Respite care is a temporary foster care service offered to families (including foster families) of Scott County who need short-term and/or regularly scheduled out-of-the-home placement for the child in their care. Respite care is usually 1 or 2 weekends a month, depending on the child's needs and the respite care provider's availability. Respite care providers must have an awareness of various conditions and/or be willing to receive appropriate training. Respite care providers are licensed by the same rules as other child foster care providers and receive referrals through Scott County Health and Human Services for placements.
The Resource Family Program provides foster care for children who will likely remain in out-of-home placement for a longer time and may not have relatives available to provide care. The resource family must be willing to support reunification by working with the child's parents until a permanent decision is made and be willing to adopt or accept a transfer of custody of the child, as determined by the court.
Reasons for Care
Children are placed in foster care for a variety of reasons. They are usually due to abuse or Scott County neglect, parents’ incarceration, substance abuse, the temporary absence of the parent, or abandonment. Some children are placed in care due to family difficulties or financial hardship, or due to their own behavior or conditions, such as disabilities. Some children require care only for scheduled short term respite care, which generally occurs on the weekends.
As a child’s foster care provider you will make a difference just by being there, on a daily basis, providing guidance, support, encouragement, and stability.
Youth in Need
Traditionally foster care is thought of as caring for an individual young child. The needs are more diverse. Foster care is needed for essentially every age group and family situation. When choosing to become a foster care provider, analyze your lifestyle and daily schedule to determine which type of care is a best fit for you.
There is an on-going need for foster parents to open their homes to the teenagers from Scott County who are unable to live in their parental home for a variety of reasons or there is a need for respite from the parental home. Parenting a teenager can be challenging, but very rewarding to know you made a difference in someone’s life at a crucial time. Supervision before and after school is essential for teenagers. You may express a preference to work with boys or girls.
Single Teen Mothers & Infants
Foster homes for teen mothers and their infants are needed as well. Providing a secure, stable environment and sharing your nurturing, mature parenting skills is a tremendous gift you can provide.
Full Family Foster Care
Full family foster care can be a supportive living and learning option, allowing for parents and children to be in a safe environment while the parent is working on learning better parenting skills under the mentoring of a foster care provider. One possible example of full family foster care could be a young mom with a new baby. Or it could be a parent who needs to develop parenting skills to be able to take care of two or three children.
Separating brothers and sisters is often traumatic. Please consider opening your heart and home to a sibling group of 2, 3 or more children. These children need an adult at home full time, or with a very flexible work schedule.
A child’s health and well-being is foremost in the minds of Scott County Foster Care Program licensors and case workers. The county strives to make the placement of a child in foster care as least disruptive as possible. Children are placed with relatives or family friends whenever possible. If a relative or family friend is not an option, then children are placed with licensed providers that live close to their home communities, biological parents, and relatives.
When children must suddenly leave their home, they may be placed with an appropriate relative or family friend. If no relative or family friend can be identified at the time of placement, then the children are placed in a Scott County Foster Home. The length of placement is determined by court action. Foster homes are selected for placement based on the child’s needs. Children are placed in their home school district if possible. The Scott County Foster Care Program feels it is important to keep the children close to their Minnesota home community if at all possible.
Adults may be placed in foster care if they cannot live alone safely because of disabilities or poor health. The foster care program provides and alternative for adults who need daily help but want to live in a family setting rather than a nursing home or other facility. The adult foster care provider provides meals, companionship, personal care assistance, and 24-hour supervision. The provider may be individuals, couples, or larger families.
Adult foster care providers offer a family-centered living situation in their home that provides adults protection and assistance with personal care. Adult foster care provides people with a community living alternative which includes the normal support of everyday life - family, friends, job or training activities, recreational opportunities, and the privacy and comfort of a home setting.
As an adult foster care provider, you will help people help themselves. The Scott County Minnesota Foster Care Program believes that people are happiest when living active and purposeful lives in their own community.
People living in adult foster care homes are men and women, 18 years of age and older, who, because of mental or physical disability, cannot live independently. This living arrangement is intended for single persons or husband and wife, with no more than four such persons in a single-family home. The care may be provided by single or married people over the age of 21 who meet the qualifications and criteria established for providers of adult foster care. For additional information, please visit the Requirements page below.
Reasons for Care
Individuals placed in adult foster homes have varying diagnoses, and, in fact, often have a combination of diagnoses. Foster homes can serve individuals who are developmentally disabled, mentally ill, physically disabled, elderly and sometimes persons who are chemically dependent. These individuals must have a social worker/case manager involved in their lives who assess the need for placement, structure the terms of placement, and follow-up to determine if the placement is suitable.
People living in adult foster care homes often come from unsafe living situations and need support to transition from an institutional setting to a more mainstream lifestyle within their community. Adult foster care homes provide room, board, and laundry services as well as assistance with taking medication and personal hygiene.
Additional certification and licensure may be required to be able to accept waiver funding for adult foster care placements. Please contact the Minnesota Department of Human Services for more information by calling 651-431-6624.
Adult Foster Care Program Placement
If foster care is appropriate, the county foster care licensor is notified. The licensor will then check into the availability and willingness of foster care homes to accept a new resident.
At this time, a pre-placement visit to the prospective foster care home is arranged. The purpose of the visit is 2-fold: 1) for the prospective resident to see the house and surrounding community; and 2) for the resident and provider to meet and get to know each other, as well as any roommates to see if this living arrangement would work out.
If everyone agrees the arrangement is acceptable and the provider can meet the adult's needs, plans for placement are initiated. If either party declines, other plans are made. No arrangement is necessarily permanent and either party may terminate the agreement should the need develop.
Types of Placement
Placements in Adult Foster Care tend to be longer term, based on the needs of the adult in care. For some individuals, this may mean a placement of six months to a year to stabilize their mental health and transition to an independent living arrangement. For other individuals, they could need to be in an environment like an adult foster home for their entire life. There are also needs for respite care for adults, which would be planned short-term care to give the primary caregiver a break.
You can help a person of any age. A person needs a nourishing stable environment in which to live regardless of his or her age - siblings, teens, young mothers and infants, and adults. There is a need of foster care providers for every age group. In fact, most children in need of foster care are older or a member of a sibling group.
Perhaps you aren’t able to provide foster care on a full-time basis for a long period of time. That doesn’t mean you can’t help. There are opportunities for emergency, short-term, weekend, and long-term care.
After talking to a Scott County Foster Care professional and assessing your family situation and life style, you’ll be able to determine how you can help. There are several types of ways to provide foster care:
- Foster families - provide emergency or short-term care until a child can be safely reunified with a parent or until a permanency plan is put into action.
- Permanent resource families - provide care for a child while reunification with their family is actively pursued and commit to the possibility of adoption if reunification cannot take place.
- Adoptive families - provide care and nurturing to a child on a permanent basis. Adoptive families commit legally to raise children as they would a child born to them.
- Respite Care Providers - provide consistent short term care, maybe 1 or 2 weekends a month, to a child or children either from another foster home or from the parental home.
Case Aide: A Case Aide provides support services to the Licensing Workers in the Licensing Unit. This may include communications by email, newsletter or phone with foster care providers about training opportunities, rule changes and other useful information. You can contact the Case Aide with questions about communications sent out or other general questions.
Case Worker/Manager: A Case Manager is assigned to each child/adult needing out of home placement. For children, the Case Manager works with the child’s family on ways to make it safe so the child can return home. For adults, the Case Manager works with the adult and their family or legal representative to find appropriate services and supports to enable them to live as independently as possible in the community. For both children and adults, the Case Manager is going to have contact with the foster care provider about the needs of the child/adult in their home and to get feedback from the foster care provider about how the placement is going.
Licenser: A Licensing Worker is assigned to each applicant for a foster care license to assist them in completing the steps of the licensing process, to provide resources and offer support in providing the care. The Licensing Worker stays assigned to the applicant once they are licensed and continues to be available for support and consultation. The Licensing Worker will conduct annual visits with the license holder for renewal of the license. You can contact your Licensing Worker anytime you have questions about your foster care license, for support or ideas to address challenges with a placement in your home or when you are looking for training and resources.
Social Worker I: A Social worker I often works with the Child Protection Unit and is involved in transporting and supervising children in placement for visits with their biological parents.
Scott County Foster Care Licensing functions as agents of the State of Minnesota Department of Human Services. It is the mission of Foster Care Licensing to ensure the safety, well-being, and overall healthy development of children receiving child care services by the knowledgeable application of all licensing rules and laws, as well as social work practice. Foster Care Licensing focuses on the development of new resources, training, support, and retention of existing foster families for adults and children who need out of home placement.
The Scott County Licensing Unit is dedicated to being a support and resource to the licensed foster care providers of Scott County. We want to partner with you as a care provider to meet the needs of the child or adult placed in your home.
Our staff is experienced. Each of the Licensing Workers has a Bachelor’s Degree and routinely attends training courses to keep current on changes and trends in the field. We follow and implement the licensing rules put in to place by the Legislature and the Minnesota Department of Human Services to ensure safety for the individuals needing care.
We offer a variety of training experiences throughout the year so care providers can get new information and develop their care giving skills. We are available as a support when there are challenges for you as a care giver and will work to connect you with resources to assist you to address the challenges.
Step 1: Foster Care Program Participation Questionnaire
After reviewing the information here, the next step is to click the link below and complete the Foster Care Program Participation Questionnaire. Upon submission of the Questionnaire, Scott County Licensing is notified. Please watch your email as you will be sent an email with a password to proceed.
Step 2: Complete the Application & Fact Sheet
By entering the password, you will be able to move on to the next document to complete. Upon the completion of the Minnesota Adoption and Child Foster Care Application a Licensing Worker will be assigned to work with you through the licensing process.
Step 3: Initiate a Background Study
Scott County will assist you to get fingerprints for the individuals in your home who are age 18 and over for the background study. Background studies are conducted by the Minnesota Department of Human Service. These background checks include social services, juvenile and adult court records.
Step 4: Open Home for Visit & Study
A licensing social worker will schedule a series of interviews with you and your family members to walk through and explain the licensing process.
Step 5: Participate in Training
A licensing social worker will inform you of the required training to obtain your license and any recommended training. For Child Foster Care, you may be asked to attend several additional training sessions, depending on your parenting experience and to develop an understanding of the Child Welfare System. For Adult Foster Care, there is required training on Vulnerable Adults and being a Mandated Reporter.
Step 6: Receive Foster Care License
The foster care licensing process currently takes about 4 to 6 months, depending on your schedule. Once all the licensing requirements are met, your Licensing Worker will recommend you for foster care licensure to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Providers should first and foremost follow the guidance provided by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) available at the resources listed below. If a DHS requirement seems to conflict with this guidance, follow the MDH and CDC guidance:
- Minnesota Department of Health - COVID-19 Information
- Centers for Disease Control - COVID-19 Information
- MN DHS Foster Care Information
- MN DHS Licensing Information
- Hotlines for Health questions: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)