Learn about Minnesota's "waiting children"
In Hennepin County, the children who are waiting for adoption are under state guardianship because their birth parents' rights have been legally terminated. These children have experienced abuse and/or neglect, trauma, and have some special needs because of these experiences. Their needs may include physical, emotional, developmental, and mental health needs that often require extra support.
The majority are children of color. Native American children may be covered under the Indian Child Welfare Act (PDF).
You can make a family through adoption in Hennepin County if you:
- Are at least 21 years old
- Are single or married or partnered
- Rent or own a home with at least 2 bedrooms
- Meet foster care licensing standards, and pass criminal and social service background checks
- Are at least two years free from chemical abuse
Hennepin County does not discriminate based on an individual's race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or public assistance status.
Financial support is available
Adoption is a legal process, and there are some fees associated with the process. Most of these fees are reimbursable through adoption assistance. If you choose to adopt a Minnesota Waiting Child there is no fee for the home study or for the state-mandated training. Adoption assistance is available as a reimbursement program, based on the child’s current documented special needs. This program is run by the State of Minnesota to assist families who have adopted children who were under state guardianship. It includes medical assistance and may include reimbursement for some expenses to address children’s special needs and some non-medical costs. In some cases child care assistance and monthly financial assistance may be available.
Adoption assistance agreement (PDF)
Troubleshooting adoption assistance agreements
If the child’s documented needs change, the adoptive family can request to have the adoption assistance agreement amended. You must have specific documentation of your child’s special needs to justify amending the supplemental levels (for example: an assessment for a diagnosis from a doctor, or an occupational therapist, or a therapist, or the special education program, etc.)
Call 651-431-4656, extension 2, to reach the Minnesota Department of Human Services Adoption Assistance Line. Ask for a letter of instruction and a “Needs Assessment Form.”
Minnesota adoption assistance benefits overview (PDF)
Send us an email if you have additional updated information on your child’s special needs and would like to request a review.
Learn about adopting foster children
Hennepin County requires specialized adoption training for licensed foster or relative/kin families planning to adopt the child or children into their home. Attend a foster care information meeting for more information.
Hennepin County has compiled the information below for use by adoptive or foster families as well as professionals but we cannot endorse or guarantee any particular resource.
Hot picks: recommended adoption books (PDF)