Foster care

You have love to share. As a Hennepin County foster parent, you can touch a child's life and help a family get back on their feet. Learn how you can be the one to make a difference.

Foster parenting is a journey that can be overnight or many months, providing a safe and loving home to a child, teen or sibling group. The first goal of foster care is to keep children safe while supporting families' efforts to come back together. Most Hennepin County families who come into child protection do reunify.  When families are not able to come back together, foster parents provide a safe, stable and nurturing home until a relative is found to care for the children. In some cases, foster families or other caring adults may be asked to provide a permanent home. 

Foster parents tell us the reward for them is knowing they are making a difference every day. Their daily joys are in holding and rocking the babies and toddlers, being present to nurture and care for the children, listening to and guiding the teens. The biggest reward is seeing children heal and grow.



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Attend a foster care information session

The first step to becoming a foster parent in Hennepin County is attending an information meeting. Please join us and bring your questions. You will learn more about current foster care needs, and about what to expect from the licensing process. After this two-hour information meeting, you can decide whether to take the next step and complete an application.

If you are part of a two-parent household, both adults must attend a meeting.

Child care is not provided. Please make other arrangements for your children's care, so you can focus on this important information.

Spring 2014 foster care information meetings

  • Thursday, April 24, 6-8 p.m., North Regional Library, South Half Meeting Room, second floor, 1315 Lowry Avenue North, Minneapolis
  • Tuesday, May 20, 6–8 p.m., Hosmer Library, lower-level meeting room, 347 East 36th Street, Minneapolis

More information 

Call 612-348-KIDS, i.e. 612-348-5437, or email hs.foster.care@hennepin.us. Please tell us your name, home address, and a phone number where you can be reached between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.

Foster care licensing

Requirements

  • You must be at least 21 years old.
  • You can be single or a couple.
  • You should be one year from a major life change such as a marriage, divorce, birth of a first child, or a significant loss, and two years from chemical dependency treatment.
  • You must give us permission to check social service and court records, and also submit to a fingerprint check.
  • You live in a house or apartment which has at least two bedrooms.
  • It is important to have experience with children.
  • You need to have enough income to meet your own family’s needs.

Other things you should know

  • Foster parenting is not a job. The foster care reimbursement you receive is to meet the child’s needs.
  • We don't reimburse extra for child care or after-school care. Both grade school-aged children and teens need an adult to get them off to school and will need a supervised plan for after school.
  • Your work schedule needs to be flexible enough to transport children during the day.
  • Foster children may share a room with other children. Your child should be two years older than a foster child with whom they would be sharing a room.
  • You need to have reliable transportation because foster parents must transport children to appointments several times a week.

Process

  • Attend a foster care informational meeting and fill out an application.
  • Hennepin County will do background checks. These checks include social services, juvenile, and adult court records.
  • A licensing social worker will schedule a series of interviews with you and your family members.
  • You will be asked to attend several additional training sessions.

The foster care licensing process currently takes about four to six months, depending on your schedule.

For more information

Email HS.Foster.Care@co.hennepin.mn.us or call 612-348-KIDS, i.e. 612-348-5437. Please state your name, home address, and a phone number where you can be reached between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.

Training for licensed foster parents

All Hennepin County providers need 12 hours of annual training, and 5 of the 12 hours must be sponsored by Hennepin County. Adopting parents also are welcome. See the foster care licensing process for information about becoming a foster care provider.

Register for a class

Registration is required, at least two weeks in advance. Classes will be canceled if not enough people sign up.

Please provide us with the class title, your name, your licensing worker's name, and a daytime phone number. You can also register with licensing worker.

Email registration is preferred, at HS.Foster.Care@hennepin.us. You also may call 612-348-5840, and leave a message. 

Other details: 

  • You are welcome to bring your own meal. Light snacks will be provided for training classes that are three or more hours.
  • Please remember that children are not allowed at any training sessions. Child care is not provided.
  • For weather cancellations, call 612-348-5840 after 5 p.m. In case of other cancellations, participants will be notified by email or telephone. 

2014 Training topic schedule 

Unless otherwise noted, all training will be held in the Health Services Building (HSB), 525 Portland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55415.

Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome and car seat safety

Classes on preventing sudden infant death syndrome and shaken baby syndrome are paired with car seat safety seminars to give busy foster parents the opportunity to take one or both classes on the same night. Classes are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. 

Saturday, April 5 

  • 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Car seat safety
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome

Tuesday, April 15

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

Saturday, May 3 

  • 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Car seat safety
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome

Tuesday, May 13

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety
Thursday, May 29
  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

Thursday, July 10

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

Saturday, July 19 

  • 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Car seat safety
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome

Thursday, July 24

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

Tuesday, August 12

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

Saturday, August 23 

  • 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Car seat safety
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome

Thursday, September 4

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

Saturday, September 13 

  • 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Car seat safety
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome

Tuesday, September 23

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

Saturday, October 11 

  • 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Car seat safety
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome

Tuesday, October 21

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

Saturday, November 1 

  • 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Car seat safety
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome

Thursday, November 13

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

Tuesday, November 25

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

Saturday, December 6

  • 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Car seat safety
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrom

Thursday, December 18

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Sudden infant death syndrome/shaken baby syndrome
  • 6-9:15 p.m. Car seat safety

*SIDS/Shaken Baby Syndrome and car seat classes are free only to Hennepin County foster parents. Class fees for private agencies and certain other individuals are $25 for sessions fewer than four hours and $50 for sessions that last more than four hours. Prepayment for classes is preferred but payments will be accepted at the door. No cash payment; checks or money orders only, made out to the Hennepin County Treasurer.

General trainings

Creating Permanency for Foster and Kinship Families

Lutheran Social Services with Hennepin County and Children's Home Society, 2400 Park Avenue South, Minneapolis 

Tuesday, April 29, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

Trainer: Tina Feigal 

Contact HS.Foster.Care@hennepin.us or call (612) 348-5437

Respite care providers needed

Respite care is short-term care that gives foster parents a needed break from a challenging child, including children with developmental disabilities or with behavioral and or emotional problems.

Respite care is not a separate foster care program. 

Respite care parents go through the same licensing process as other foster parents. If you want to become a respite care provider, you must attend the foster care information meeting and receive an application to begin the licensing process (see attend a foster care information session).

If you want to arrange respite care, you must contact your licensing social worker at least 30 days prior to your proposed respite date(s) when possible.

Children with developmental disabilities

Some of our greatest respite needs are for providers who can care for children with autism, cerebral palsy, Aspberger's Syndrome, medically involved children, or children in wheelchairs.

Respite requests for children with developmental disabilities are almost always for one child at a time. The care may be provided for one or two weekends a month for several months in a row, or for a week at a time.

Children with behavioral and emotional problems

Respite care is also given to families who need a break from children who have challenging behaviors and or emotional problems. Most of these children are either adolescents or younger children in larger sibling groups. In order to provide respite care for children with behavioral and emotional problems, you need be able to provide care for a week or more at a time.

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